Consensus Editorial Policy

Introduction

Consensus Digital Media aims to deliver great content that inspires and informs on a variety of topics, including food, health, agriculture, business, and the economy. As part of a new era of digital properties, we pride ourselves on creativity and storytelling. As we hire and build the next generation of writers, bloggers, videographers, and makers, our team remains dedicated to these core values:

 

  • Uplift readers / viewers / listeners by focusing on the positive — stories of hope, happiness, opportunity, and inspiration
  • Find and tell local stories and extract the lessons and themes that provide broader universal American appeal
  • Highlight the potential for a sustainable future through innovation and pragmatic solutions
  • Spotlight the unexpected stories that upend conventional stereotypes
  • Challenge Americans to seek consensus rather than exploit divisiveness and division just for traffic

 

CONSENSUS DIGITAL MEDIA ETHICS AND STANDARDS

On all of our properties, content producers are expected to adhere to Consensus’ mission and values. In general, this includes refraining from stories that attack or criticize community, political or business leaders; instead, we expect content producers to focus on positive and uplifting stories. The Editors retain the authority to assign topics, revise and edit content producer’s work, draft headlines, and have say over any content producer’s work product. The Publisher retains the ultimate decision-maker for what is and is not published. The entire Consensus Digital team has pledged to uphold our content processes and guidelines, which you can read below.  

 

Integrity

Consensus Digital Media aims to deliver accurate and high-quality content. This section addresses conflicts of interest, disclosure requirements, social media policy, content standards, verification expectations, plagiarism policy, and advertising transparency.

 

Conflicts of Interest

Our staff is required to avoid any conflicts of interest and any acts that could demonstrate a lack of basic fairness, wherever and whenever possible. Staff members may not accept anything that could be considered payment for coverage. Our team does not accept payments from sources or subjects of stories in exchange for better coverage; nor do we pay for sources or access. We do not ask for preferential treatment based on our position as content producers and publishers; and, in general, we will not accept gifts outside the normal course of business (for example a business meal) or unless the product / service is being provided for the purposes of a review.  

 

Disclosure

Our content producers will not provide advice — legal, financial, medical, or otherwise. If ever a content producer or editor has a financial stake in any subject of content, that party will disclose any relationships to the Publisher, who may opt to either disclaim the content or remove the related party from that assignment. Business and professional ties of family or members of a household should always disclosed to the Publisher and if needed, to the reader/viewer.

 

Activism
Both as media professions and private citizens, our behavior could be used to discredit our work. As such, we avoid active involvement in political organizations, causes, and social actions or demonstrations that might seem to compromise our ability to produce quality and accurate content. 

 

Social Media

Social networks are critical to our personal and professional lives. However, we must act to protect our integrity and remember: Consensus Digital staff is always presumed to be acting as Consensus Digital content producers or representatives. Social media accounts maintained by Consensus Digital content producers reflect upon the reputation and credibility of the publisher.  Every tweet, comment or link we publish online or on a social channel should be considered public, regardless of privacy settings. Consensus Digital staff are expected to refrain from writing, tweeting, or posting anything – including photographs or video – that could objectively be perceived as reflecting political, racial, sexist, religious, or other bias. All staff are required to read, accept, and adhere to the Social Media Guidelines presented in the Consensus Digital company handbook. 

 

Taste

Consensus Digital Media expects our content to be tasteful and appropriate. In general, we will avoid profanities, obscenities, and violent material. The Editors and Publisher must approve any questionable material. And, whenever possible, this content will include a warning. 

 

We shall never commit illegal acts while reporting or encourage any subject to commit an illegal act. And, we do not link to sites that aid or abet illegal activity. The Publisher works with editors and writers to determine whether a site falls under this rule.  

 

Verification and fact-checking 

Consensus Digital content producers have primary responsibility for reporting, writing, and fact-checking their content. Stories are subject to review by one or more editors. The publication has a multi-level structure for the review and editing of stories that may include fact-checking. Editors may be involved in the presentation of stories, headlines, news alerts, and newsletter content. 

 

As part of the verification and fact-checking process, content producers and editors must review and verify that content has been cleared for any required licenses, including video, photography, and audio. Should either the content producer or editors have any doubt as to the ability of any form of content to be legally used, they must consult the Publisher.  

 

As a general principal, Consensus Digital Media does not accept unsolicited content. In rare cases where unsolicited work may be considered, editors will work with the submitting party to ensure content is verifiable, accurate, and legally cleared for use. In these cases, Editors and Publishers will work with counsel to minimize any risks to Consensus Digital Media. 

 

Plagiarism

We do not accept any plagiarized work. Editors may use various software to ensure original reporting is not plagiarized.  

 

Consensus Digital Media utilizes licensed content in partnership with major global publishers and wire services including but not limited to the Associated Press and Bloomberg. Editors and content producers are required to know and adhere to all terms of our content agreements with partners. 

 

When we do aggregate or republished licensed work or reporting of stories that have previously been covered, we will always include the original source as well as the byline and original author. 

 

Advertising and Revenue Partnerships

Over time, Consensus Digital Media may sell advertising and editorial sponsorships on our properties or future content channels, including producing branded content. However, sponsors will not have any influence over our editorial teams nor any of the editorial content our editorial teams create. To the extent that editorial content is made possible explicitly through a sponsor’s support, that content will be “Presented by” the sponsor. Any content that is paid for by a particular advertiser and is developed independent from editorial will be marked as “Advertiser Content.” If / when our content contains affiliate links, we will include a disclosure with the content. Advertisements do not reflect the views of Consensus or our editorial teams.

 

Corrections

Consensus strives for accuracy. However, at times a correction or edit to a published story maybe required. We hope to be responsive in updating any story when needed. In those cases, we will be transparent about new information added or revised. We will rarely take down a story, opting instead to clarify, note, and/or correct with updates as required. From time to time, the editor or publisher may decide it is appropriate to remove content from a property or social media channel; and in those cases, we will provide an editorial note. 

Sources and Attribution

Consensus is committed to disclosing sources of information in our stories. We want to make our content transparent. We aim for sources go on the record. If a source refuses, we will seek the information from alternative sources. Editors must know the identity of anonymous or unnamed sources so that the team can jointly assess the appropriateness of using that source. In general, editors and the Publisher must be involved in any decision to withhold a source’s name or the identity of a source. 

 

We strive to treat sources fairly, including putting statements we quote into context, and providing a reasonable opportunity for subjects of statements to respond. 

 

We will always be honest and transparent in the collection and sourcing of our information. Facts and quotations in a story that were not produced by our own reporting will be attributed.

 

When we are building on stories from other sources, we will do our best to attribute the reporting to the original property whenever possible and appropriate. Our policy is to give credit to original stories worthy of additional coverage by Consensus Digital Media. Any unique circumstances or specific issues with attribution may arise must be discussed with editors.

 

Reader Engagement and Feedback

We hope to engage our readers and viewers, and we welcome digital discourse. When engaging with readers, particularly on social media, content producers, editors, and all employees must use utmost discretion and judgement in anything they publish. If a content producer, editor, or staff member receives emails from readers, they should always share any negative, inflammatory, or threatening content with their editor immediately upon receipt. We want the community, including readers, our content producers and staff to feel safe and secure. As such, we must be aware of reader / social media attacking of staff or our properties themselves.