This code of conduct guides interactions within the newsroom (both its physical and digital spaces), and outlines enforceable consequences related to discriminatory or inappropriate behavior within those spaces. Employees of The Daily will agree to the terms outlined in this code before being officially hired by this institution. This document may not cover every circumstance that will occur in the newsroom, and the editor-in-chief reserves the right to terminate or discipline based on the situation.
INTERACTING WITH ONE ANOTHER: This section defines what behaviors are appropriate and inappropriate within the newsroom when interacting with peers, editors and Student Media’s professional staff. While these guidelines specifically address the way Daily staffers should interact within the organization, these standards of respect and dignity apply to all professional interactions, including those with sources.
- Co-workers are expected to treat each other with respect, courtesy and empathy.
- Co-workers should support each other and function as a team whether or not they belong to the same desk or same branch of Student Media.
- Visitors and younger staff are listening to and observing conversations and actions in the newsroom. Act accordingly by being respectful and professional.
- As a general rule, treat one another as co-workers first, friends second. Do not act in any way that would be unacceptable in any other professional environment. For these purposes, this includes:
- No obscene or overtly sexual conversations in the public or digital workspace of the newsroom.
- No bullying or degradation of any specific staff members or groups in the public or digital workspace of the newsroom.
- No violent or threatening language or actions in the public or digital workspace of the newsroom.
- No conversations about breaking the law in the public space or digital workspace of the newsroom.
- Editors and assistants have worked hard to attain their leadership positions within Student Media. They have experience and expertise to be learned from. Interns and paid staff are expected to engage with their editors in a respectful, honest and timely manner as would be required between an employee and a boss in any other professional job.
- Staff are expected to meet deadlines and maintain other expectations of editors, such as coming to desk meetings, responding on Slack, etc.
- Open conversations and questions are encouraged between editors and staff, especially on difficult topics or issues an employee is having. But rude or disrespectful interactions are not acceptable.
- Friendships between editors and staff are encouraged, but should always come secondary to a professional relationship between editors and staff.
- Editors are expected to treat one another with respect, to quickly and clearly resolve professional conflict between themselves, refrain from gossip about one another and to encourage and create a collaborative and communicative environment among themselves and within the newsroom.
- Editors set the behavioral and attitude standards and tone for the rest of the room. They should act accordingly.
- All employees, editors included, should respect the professional staff’s experience and opinions, treating every interaction with them professionally.
- INTERACTING VIA TECHNOLOGY
- Remember that Slack is The Daily’s professional communication platform. All rules that apply in the newsroom about treatment of one another and how you speak apply digitally as well.
- Like the newsroom, Slack is not a place for gossip or the disparagement of others.
- Think before you Slack. A message may not need to go in public or larger channels, which could alert hundreds of people. If a question or comment is targeted toward one desk or person, it might be better sent in a private channel or direct message. Also consider that co-workers may be affiliated with other campus organizations, and do not send messages that demean those organizations or threaten The Daily’s relationship with them. Please keep everyone’s Slack experience professional, positive and enjoyable.
- Slack channels are not meant to be exclusionary. While personal conversations or groups focused around specific projects and desks are fine, abuse of channels or work groups to specifically exclude individuals is not tolerated.
- ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS WITHIN THE NEWSROOM OR WITH SOURCES: Relationships between co-workers or sources should be pursued with caution. Please refer to these guidelines, backed by university policy, before you begin a newsroom relationship:
- Relationships between an editor and their direct subordinate must immediately be disclosed to a direct supervisor, and under university policy, “are strongly discouraged.” The same applies to a relationship between a journalist and source. Be aware that there is an inherent power imbalance between editor and subordinate positions, as well as journalist and source, and one member of the relationship could feel coerced into continuing the relationship in order to maintain their position. After notifying a supervisor of the relationship, the involved parties and the direct supervisor will work out a management control plan to ensure that the reporter/subordinate’s daily activities and issues are not supervised or handled by their editor/romantic partner. If a journalist-source matter, that journalist will be immediately reassigned and any work done prior to disclosure re-evaluated. Failure to notify a supervisor about a relationship between an editor and subordinate will result in discipline, which will be determined by situation but can include termination.
- The newsroom is, first and always, a workplace. The newsroom is not a space in which to continuously seek out romantic partners, and employees should never make romantic or sexual advances that make others uncomfortable. Inter-newsroom relationships should not impede anyone’s ability to do their job well. Be respectful of everyone and do not create a hostile or unwelcoming work environment for anyone, regardless of any current or former romantic relationships between employees.
- ENFORCEMENT OF THESE GUIDELINES: If a Daily staffer is found in violation of any of the above guidelines, certain consequences of differing severity will be enforced. Certain actions, outlined in the next section, will result in immediate termination. Steps of consequences:
- Apology and/or in-person mediation with the offender/target and an editor in the case of disrespectful or offensive interaction within the newsroom or with sources
- A meeting with the offender, their editors and the EIC to discuss behavior and the next steps to be taken to address behavior, including but not limited to another apology, taking away the privileges to do certain work, etc.
- Demotion or suspension, at the editor’s discretion.
- Termination from The Daily.
ZERO-TOLERANCE ISSUES: The OU Daily is an inclusive environment for students of all races, ethnicities, sexualities, genders, abilities, religions and socioeconomic classes, and does not discriminate on the basis of any of these identities. Discriminatory behavior will be met with consequences. Certain behaviors will not be tolerated from any member of The Daily’s staff and will result in immediate termination. These include:
- Racist or discriminatory actions or language, including racial slurs, against any group
- Homophobic behavior or remarks, including anti-LGBTQ slurs, or discrimination based on sexuality or gender expression
- Verbal or physical sexual harassment or assault
- Remarks or behaviors targeting someone’s religious affiliation
- Presumed threat of violence, violent language or actions within Student Media premises or toward Student Media members in any capacity
TREATMENT OF THE NEWSROOM: The cleanliness and professional appearance of the physical space of the newsroom are important to remaining a healthy work environment for all. All employees should clean up their food waste and trash immediately after eating and regularly throw away/clean out other items (records, school papers) that accumulate throughout the room. Bugs should never appear in the newsroom due to the state employees have left it in, nor should employees or visitors be distracted by noticeable trash or waste left behind by other employees.
STATEMENT OF VALUES: The OU Daily and all its employees operate under a specific set of journalistic and ethical guidelines and values, outlined below.
- Accuracy: We aim for every name, every number, every 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 is a motivating factor for us.
- Independence: We have been the independent student voice of the University of Oklahoma since 1916. None of our content is influenced by the university administration or anyone else outside of 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.