Decisions you make as an editor have lasting effects. Here’s a process on ethical decisions via Poynter:

  1. What do I know? What do I need to know?
  2. What is my journalistic purpose?
  3. What are my ethical concerns?
  4. What organizational policies and professional guidelines should I consider?
  5. How can I include others, with different perspectives, in the decision-making process?
  6. Who will be affected by my decision? What are their motivations?
  7. What if the roles were reversed? How would I feel if I were in their shoes?
  8. What are possible consequences of my actions in both the short and long term? 
  9. What alternatives maximize my truth-telling responsibility and minimize harm? 
  10. Can I clearly and fully justify my thinking and decision to any and all, especially those impacted?

ETHICS CODES: Many news organizations adopt a code of ethics; here is SPJ’s, ACP’s and ours

  • Accuracy: We aim for every name, number, fact to be 100 percent correct. We never knowingly publish inaccurate or incorrect information, and when we make mistakes, we will correct our errors in a timely manner that is transparent with our audience.
  • Fairness: We aim to accurately represent all views and sides. We will never distort or misrepresent facts.
  • Bias: We continuously work to make sure our articles are free of any personal, political or any other type of bias. We also understand that there are issues such as racism, sexism, homophobia and other types of bigotry that are objectively wrong, and it is not biased to recognize that fact in our reporting.
  • Professionalism: We are students, but we maintain a dedication to professionalism. We consider ourselves just as valuable a news source as other professional news organizations and conduct ourselves as such. We are constantly working to become the best we can be so that we can better serve our readers.
  • Community engagement: We don’t just report on the university community; we live, work and go to school here, too. We want our community to continue to improve. This motivates us.
  • Independence: We have been the independent student voice of the University of Oklahoma since 1916. None of our content is influenced by the administration or anyone outside our staff.
  • Transparency: We’re human, and sometimes we make mistakes. We hold ourselves to a high standard, and we will always promptly and publicly correct any errors we publish. We attempt to make our decisions and processes clear to our readers — we do not operate in secrecy.
  • Accountability: We are held responsible for our mistakes by one another and by our audience. We are always open to comments, criticisms and suggestions.
  • Diversity: We work hard to make sure our newsroom is a place where people, no matter race, religion, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic class or ability feel safe and welcome to work. We also are intentional in our decisions to cover specific communities and issues, and to create a workplace where we are all free to be our fullest selves.
  • Inclusivity: We believe all spaces in our newsroom should be welcoming and safe for all people, and that all employees’ attitudes toward one another and their community should reflect that goal.