The Daily Gamecock's Ethics Code
Ethical decisions rarely come in black and white – especially at a college newspaper. It’s these decisions that sit in the core of the journalistic system. The paragraphs below contain The Daily Gamecock’s policies and standards used to ensure our staff is both transparent and that the decisions we make produce the most ethical outcomes possible. It is a top priority of the editor in chief and staff to maintain a relationship with readers based on accountability, transparency, honesty, accuracy and fairness. The relationship between the publication and the readers is of utmost importance, so we remain steadfast in our values. Additionally, The Daily Gamecock adheres to the code of ethics set forth by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Conflict of Interest Policy
The Daily Gamecock takes conflicts of interest very seriously. Whether it be selecting sources or joining outside organizations, staff members must remember their objectivity and lack of bias come first. Our No. 1 priority as journalists is to bring readers content that has not been influenced by anything. The following policy lays out guidelines for avoiding run-ins with conflicting interests.
- All staff members are required to hand in a resume that details their involvement with organizations other than The Daily Gamecock, whether it be a leadership role or otherwise.
- No staff member should accept gifts from sources in any form. In order to remain unbiased, staff members must understand they are not to be persuaded by a source to forgo their objectivity for the promise of money, gifts or anything not available to others.
- Involvement with Student Government must be cleared with the editor-in-chief. This includes, but is not limited to, Freshman Council, student senate, the house of delegates, Walk Home Cocky, campaign work and elections commission.
- Daily Gamecock staff members may not cover a story about a friend or close acquaintance. Interviews should be conducted with sources, not friends. If a staff member is confused about the nature of this relationship, questions should be referred to section editors or the editor-in-chief.
- If a staff member chooses to work for an outside publication, they should not cover the same topic as they do for The Daily Gamecock. Refer to Outside Publication Policy for more information.
- Leadership positions in outside organizations should be discussed with the editor-in-chief before they are accepted. College is an excellent time to experience all there is campus has to offer, but severe conflicts may result in termination.
The Daily Gamecock does not tolerate plagiarism, fabrication or misrepresentation in any form, as they breach the integrity to the publication, staff and readers. Anonymity will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
- Plagiarism is recognized as turning in work that is not wholeheartedly one's own. This includes, but is not limited to, turning in articles written or reported by someone else, lifting quotes from someone else’s work, leaving off appropriate attributions and passing off another’s story ideas as one’s own. Traces of plagiarism in a staff member’s work will result in immediate termination.
- Fabrication is recognized as inventing pieces of or entire stories, quotes or sources. Any falsifications found in a staff members work will also result in immediate termination.
- Misrepresentation is recognized as posing as someone else at any point in the reporting process. This includes, but is not limited to, impersonating someone while interviewing, gathering sources, writing and editing. Staff members found masquerading as someone other than themselves will be handled on a case-by-case basis. (Refer to social media policy for more on misrepresentation.) Should a staff member take a quote out of context or frame a source to appear as someone they are not, it may also be considered misrepresentation.
Anonymity is a powerful tool in journalism that is not to be abused. Staff members wishing to quote an anonymous source must discuss the situation with both their section editor and the editor in chief to ensure the situation will not breach The Daily Gamecock’s ethical standards. Reporters should only look to anonymity if the information absolutely cannot be obtained through any other channels and properly attributed. Questions regarding off-the-record conversations and anonymity can be referred to the editor in chief.