Global Editorial Code of Ethics
IBT Media Editorial Guidelines outlines the standards IBT Media expects of all content written by our News and Editorial Departments -- regardless of brand -- content partners and anyone who makes content for IBT Media.
It is imperative to the integrity and success of IBT Media that editorial and content contributors uphold the highest ethical and professional standards of journalism.
Business Journalism Principles
As a newspaper that strives to offer the best in financial and business journalism, IBT Media has reviewed and adopted the Code of Ethics of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers Inc. (SABEW).
It is not enough that we be incorruptible and act with honest motives. We must conduct all aspects of our lives in a manner that averts even the appearance of conflict of interest or misuse of the power of the press.
A business, financial and economics writer should:
- Recognize the trust, confidence and responsibility placed in him or her by the publication's readers and do nothing to abuse this obligation. To this end, a clear-cut delineation between advertising and editorial matters should be maintained at all times.
- Avoid any practice which might compromise or appear to compromise his objectivity or fairness. He or she should not let any personal investments influence what he or she writes. On some occasions, it may be desirable for him or her to disclose his or her investment positions to a superior.
- Avoid active trading and other short-term profit-seeking opportunities. Active participation in the markets which such activities require is not compatible with the role of the business and financial journalist as disinterested trustee of the public interest.
- Not take advantage in his or her personal investing of any inside information and be sure any relevant information he or she may have is widely disseminated before he buys or sells.
- Make every effort to insure the confidentiality of information held for publication to keep such information from finding its way to those who might use it for gain before it becomes available to the public.
- Accept no gift, special treatment or any other thing of more than token value given in the course of his professional activities. In addition, he or she will accept no out-of-town travel paid for by anyone other than his or her employer for the ostensible purpose of covering or back grounding news. Free-lance writing opportunities and honoraria for speeches should be examined carefully to assure that they are not in fact disguised gratuities. Food and refreshments of ordinary value may be accepted where necessary during the normal course of business.
- Encourage the observance of these minimum standards by all business writers.
Using articles or columns written by non-journalists is potentially deceptive and poses inherent conflicts of interest that editors should guard against. This does not apply to clearly labeled op-ed or viewpoint sections or "Letters to the Editor."
Providing Financial or Other Advice
Editorial members are asked to refrain from offering financial advice, except in articles they may write. They may not do anything that would require registration as an investment adviser. They may not manage money for others, accept investment advice, or operate or help operate an investment company of any sort, with or without pay. They may, however, help family members with regular financial planning plans.
Investments and Financial Ties
All business editorial staff members may not report, write, or be involved in the editing process of a story about a company in which you or members of your immediate family own securities. Editorial staff members may also not write about other companies in the same industry that you own stocks in.
Furthermore, you may not write about companies -- or the industries of companies -- in which you actively trade options. Nor may you write about commodities -- such as energy products -- if you trade futures in those markets.
Editorial staff may not conduct in-and-out and may not buy or sell options or futures or sell securities short. You may, however, trade the securities of companies you don't cover, in industries you don't cover.
In addition, you will be required to in a Confidential Financial Disclosure Memo to the editor-in-chief of your brand of your ownership of stocks, bonds, and other securities of individual corporations. All the information that must be disclosed includes; holdings in industry-specific mutual funds, industry-specific hedge funds, and industry-specific exchange traded funds. Holdings of your spouse, partner and other members of your immediate family must also be disclosed in the memo. The names of the brokerage firms that you or family members work with will also need to be disclosed.
If a staff member holds no relevant investments, this must also be recorded. Staff members are required to update their disclosure memo, no later than one week after the transaction date, should a change occur.
Disclosure of Potential Conflicts
Included in the Confidential Financial Disclosure Memo, editorial staff members are required to give a description of any other potential conflict of interest, including your other financial holdings as well as any personal conflict that might arise from family members and their place of employment. For example, if your spouse works at a competitor, this information must be disclosed.
If a staff member has no relevant possible conflicts, this must also be recorded in the Confidential Financial Disclosure Memo.
Outside Speaking Engagements
While outside speaking engagements may largely benefit the reputation of IBT Media, staff members are however required to first seek approval from the editor-in-chief or their respective supervisor.
IBT Media editorial staff members may appear before an outside group if the appearance is a conflict of interest in the brand’s impartiality. As a result, no staff member who takes part in the event (hosting, public forum, panel discussion etc.) may write or edit news articles that cover the event.
Personal Relations with Sources
When engaging in a relationship with sources, editorial staff members are required to practice self-discipline and sound judgment. Although the establishment of sources is mainly done in an informal environment outside regular office hours, IBT Media advises staff members to avoid creating a state of partiality or the appearance of it.
However, staff members are required to maintain relationships at a distance in order to avoid favoritism which may result in a biased news piece. Moreover, staff members should be aware that sources are also eager to form a good relationship with us for reasons of their own.
Additionally, IBT Media does not pay for information. This means editorial staff members may not enter into a financial relationship of any kind with a source, except with the prior consent of the editor-in-chief or a supervisor.
You may do business with companies you cover for the purpose of securing normal bank loans, mortgage loans, and credit cards. In all such cases, however, you may not receive extra favorable terms that are not offered to members of the public.
Journalistic work outside of IBT Media
IBT Media allows our staff members to accept occasional freelance work that does not directly compete with our own editorial offering. Prior to accepting outside work, you will need to get approval from an editor-in-chief or your respective supervisor.
However, if the work directly competes with an IBT Media offering, IBT Media reserves the right to not permit you from taking the outside work.
Since your outside work will also reflect on IBT Media, staff must still adhere to the these ethical standards. They may not accept compensation, expenses, discounts, gifts or other inducements from a news source. Similarly, any staff member who creates a blog online must insure that his or her online conduct conforms to these guidelines and affiliation with IBT Media should not be mentioned.
Moreover, no one may undertake an assignment of any kind for a company, industry group, political party, labor union, or any third party with whom your personal affiliation might undermine the reputation of IBT Media for impartial and independent journalism.
Accuracy rules to follow
- Use named sources whenever possible, and ask your sources to go on record.
- IBT Media will use unnamed sources where necessary when they provide information of market or public interest that is not available on public record. IBT Media alone is responsible for this information.
- Make sure the ground-rules are clear before speaking with a source.
- Take notes and record the interview.
- Cross-check information, weigh a source’s background, track record, position and motive.
- Talk to sources on all sides of a deal or dispute.
- A sources compact is with IBT Media, not the reporter. If asked, you are expected to disclose your source to your supervisor. Protecting the confidentiality of the source is tantamount to reporter, editor and supervisors.
- Try to disprove as well as prove your story.
Plagiarism and fabrication
Editorial staff is strictly prohibited from using someone else's work as his or her own. Plagiarism occurs when large chunks of text have been cut-and-pasted, and without citing where the text originally came from. All editorial staff members must gather and verify every piece of information that is included in their final product.
On the rare occasion when we can't confirm a critical fact that another publication has reported, we must credit the fact to that publication. If you are ever unsure about the use of such material, you can consult the editor-in-chief or your supervisor.
We also recommend you notify the editor-in-chief or your supervisor if you feel that another publication has plagiarized your work.
Similarly, photographers may only use IBT Media or licenses photos and may not make changes or adjustments to images or photos.
When using a source, complete attribution should be given to them by writing the full name of the source and as much information as needed to identify the source and explain why he or she may be trusted. If necessary and the information is available, include a source's age; title; name of company, organization or government department; and hometown.