The Edmonton Journal 

       A Southam Newspaper

       Box 2421                                              

       Edmonton, Alberta, TSJ 2S6

       Telephone (403) 429-5100


[I was given this document (reproduced here by OCR, with a photocopy of its first page at bottom) by The Journal at my request in the early 1990s--FC]






A good newspaper is fair, accurate, honest, thorough, responsible and independent. It is committed to freedom of speech and the pursuit of truth is its guiding principle.


The Journal and its staff must avoid practices that would conflict with the ability to report and present news in a fair and unbiased manner.


The following principles are designed to encourage the highest standards of ethical and professional behavior. No code of ethics can prejudge every situation, however, and common sense and good judgment are necessary in applying these ethical principles to the realities of the newspaper business.






The Journal will always guard against inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortion through emphasis or omission.


     Our news stories and commentary must always be fair and balanced and therefore reporters must always endeavor to get all sides of a story and to represent those sides in a fair manner in the newspaper.


In the editing process, editors must also maintain the principles of fairness and avoid slanting a story or writing unfair or misleading headlines.


          Any substantive errors in the newspaper will be corrected promptly.





                                                     Page 2.




        The Journal’s editorial board does not hold          "off-the-record" conferences with news sources.    It is sometimes necessary for reporters to go off-the-record to      get information but they should make every effort to get as   much information as possible on-the-record. If reporters      take off-the-record information, they must guard against   placing The Journal in a compromising situation.


If an  unnamed  source is used for a story,  every  effort

must be made to corroborate the facts through other sources.   Use of unnamed sources must be discussed with a senior      editor who has the right to require that the reporter      provide him or her with the name of the source.


The reasons for concealing a source’s identity should always be made clear in a story. We should always try to     avoid allowing unnamed sources to attack an individual or an organization in the newspaper.                       [Back]


Reporters must always identify themselves when they are interviewing a news source in person or on the telephone.


There may be rare occasions when a reporter must go  "under cover" in the pursuit of a story. Permission for this  kind of investigation must be given by the managing editor     and will only be done in cases of great public interest.       The general rule remains that a reporter must not     misrepresent himself/herself in the pursuit of a story and    must always identify himself/herself if asked.


Plagiarism is not acceptable.


No reference should be made to a person’s race, color    or religion in a news story unless it is pertinent to the  context of that story.




The Journal always strives for balance, fairness and objectivity in reporting. The Journal must act and be    perceived to act in a non-partisan manner. We must be free      to report and comment on the activities of any publicly    elected body or special-interest organization without    perceived or actual conflict of interest.                --->


                                                     Page 3.



Therefore, no member of the editorial staff should be compromised by open displays of political or partisan views. Editorial employees should not run for office or be involved    in political parties or political campaigns.


Any involvement in community organizations which might appear to constitute a conflict of interest must be      discussed with the employee’s department head.  As a general rule, reporters and editors should not work on stories in    which there may appear to be a conflict of interest because     of their personal involvement. [Back] Anyone who is uncertain       about whether their activities might constitute a conflict      of interest should discuss the matter with his or her   department head. 


Financial investments or other outside business     interests may conflict or appear to conflict with an  individual’s ability to report the news impartially. Again,    the onus is on staff members to notify their department      heads of any interests which could place them in a conflict     or the appearance of a conflict.



Freebies:   As journalists, we must not use our     positions at the newspaper to obtain preferential treatment     or access in our private activities.


The Journal does not accept free trips of a promotional nature from any airline, tourist agency, government or other organization. Occasionally, there is a legitimate reason for taking a charter flight with an organization, but in those   cases The Journal must always pay its share of the costs.


With the exception of those cases where The Journal is sponsoring an event and receives complimentary tickets in   return for corporate support, we do not accept free tickets     or passes to theatres, clubs or performances for which the    rest of the public is expected to pay.


Journal staff should not accept gifts from news      sources. However, there will be occasions when it would be    rude to snub an offer of hospitality. The old standby    "anything you can eat or drink in one sitting" is probably     the best guideline for what is acceptable.




                                                     Page 4.



Freelance:    Journal staffers are generally not    permitted to do freelance work for competing media in The Journal's distribution zone.  Appearances on radio and  television can enhance the profile of the Individual as well    as The Journal and are permitted providing the individual is always identified as a member of The Edmonton Journal. Those appearances and any writing for periodicals not considered competing media should always be cleared by the managing   editor. The Journal should not be in the position of being 'scooped' by its own staff in another publication or media outlet.


Journal staffers are not permitted to accept freelance income from government publications or agencies.  We cannot   have staff members receiving payments from organizations we    are responsible for covering as sources of news.  As a rule     of thumb, proposed freelance or outside work should be     cleared with the managing editor.


Reporters and editors should remember that they are      seen in the community as representatives of The Journal and should dress as well as act accordingly.  All staff members should dress neatly and be well—groomed on the job.  Whether  they are in the office, talking on the phone or out in the community, staff members should conduct themselves in a  courteous and fair manner.