News Mission Statement and ethics guidelines
We at the Cascadia Daily News know that trust is earned.
As a new publication, we enter a field that has changed more rapidly in the past 25 years than in all of journalism’s previous history. At a time when anyone can be a publisher of “news,” what distinguishes professional communicators from amateurs are the values and ethics that guide their work.
That’s why we’re making public our News Mission Statement and ethics guidelines. Our complete guidelines, issued to all newspaper staff, are available upon request. They include specific recommendations on how staff members should be transparent in their work and avoid actual, or appearances of, conflicts of interest.
But guidelines are only as effective as the journalists who live by them. And what’s important to you, our community, is the work we produce. We know you’re making a commitment to us by subscribing, reading and viewing our work. So, in turn, we’re making a commitment to you.
We promise the following:
We will remember that we are members of the community we cover.
The Cascadia Daily News is locally owned, edited and managed. Decisions are made not by hedge fund managers, but by our owner and staff in downtown Bellingham, Washington. Our home is on State Street, not Wall Street.
We treat our readers, users, sources and the people we cover with respect. In every story we produce we ask these questions: Why does this matter to our audience? What is the impact on ordinary people?
Everything we publish will be based in reality.
Unfortunately, misinformation, disinformation, lies and organized propaganda have become commonplace in U.S. politics and media. Intentional deception has no place in the Cascadia Daily News. It’s our job to keep such material from entering the public information stream, no matter its source. When misinformation is presented as fact by newsmakers so prominent that its dissemination is unavoidable, our reporting will make this distinction clear.
As Julie Pace, the executive editor of The Associated Press, observed: “Being a fact-based news organization does not mean that everybody on every side of an issue gets equal hearing, gets equal voice. In certain cases, the facts are just really clear, and we want to make sure that we are amplifying the facts and not muddying the facts.”
We are committed to reporting the truth.
In a highly charged political environment, “truth” increasingly is in the eyes of the beholder. Cascadia Daily News is keenly aware of the challenges this presents to journalists. We pledge to employ all our journalistic, investigative and fact-checking skills to produce transparent, contextual news coverage that is fair to competing interests.
However, we reject the idea that truth is always found somewhere in the middle, between two competing positions. Our reporting will assess clashing claims of truth and report the findings to readers. As the late media writer Steve Buttry observed, reporting that presents lies equally with truth is hardly different from lying.
We are unapologetically pro-democracy.
As The Washington Post’s motto says, “democracy dies in darkness.” Conversely, a free press dies when democracy dies. The Cascadia Daily News follows the proud, historic mission of an unfettered U.S. press in exposing those who would subjugate Constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties for their own political purposes.
We make editorial decisions independently and will be transparent in explaining our policies and decisions.
All editorial decisions are made by the executive editor and staff with no interference by our ownership and with no special treatment for our advertisers, donors or other special interests. And just as we are making these ethics guidelines public, so, too, will we regularly explain our thinking behind editorial decisions. Transparency, we believe, is critical to trust.
Readers who feel we have failed to live up to these commitments are encouraged to contact Executive Editor Ron Judd at firstname.lastname@example.org.