The following statement is intended to serve as a guide as well as to ignite continuous discussion and deliberation. It should test and strengthen the morals that guide each staff member of The Lawrentian. This statement aims to foster a culture that expects us to utilize our consciences each day in our journalism. It was written with the intent to guide news reporting, but these principles should be upheld by every staff member at The Lawrentian, including but not limited to writers, editors, photographers, and artists.
The Lawrentian staff takes great care to ensure our journalism is correct and appropriately in context. We devote our resources as well as our diverse skills to presenting the most comprehensive version of the truth possible. However, like all people, we have opinions. We aggressively challenge our own assumptions, opinions, and overall perspectives in the pursuit of the truth. Thus, we welcome questions as well as criticisms so that we may reflect and learn from our mistakes.
To tell the truest story possible, we must treat those we interview and cover with fairness and professionalism. Whenever we quote, edit, or otherwise interpret what people tell us, we aim to be faithful to their meaning in order to truthfully represent their stories. We do so by conducting our interviews, summarizing the interview and sharing our understanding of the conversation with those being interviewed to ensure they are accurately being represented. We do not share our articles with our sources prior to printing, but we do seek to accurately represent the people we cover. In addition to this, everyone affected by our journalism in any way deserves to be treated with respect and compassion.
We do our best to report thoroughly, but we know that mistakes will inevitably be made. Errors of omission and partial truths can inflict great damage on our credibility and the representation of the stories we cover. When we find that we can’t deliver all of the answers to important questions, we explain our shortcomings and work to fill any gaps in our reporting.
Through our reporting, we avoid exaggeration and conjecture. We do not mix fiction with our news reporting, and we edit and present information honestly. When editing, we seek to add impact while clarifying our journalism — never to slant or distort the story. We maintain this high-level of accuracy and professionalism through several rounds of verification and conversations between writer, source, and editor.
To secure our community’s trust, we must make it evident that our primary allegiance is to the Lawrence community. Any conflicts of interest with that allegiance, whether in appearance or in reality, compromise our credibility. Under no circumstances do we skew our reports for personal gain, to support The Lawrentian as an organization or to please the administration that funds us. Decisions about what and how we cover are made by our editors and writers, not by the Lawrence administration.
To inspire confidence in our journalism, it is critical that we give our community the tools to evaluate our work. We reveal as much as we practically can to the Lawrence community and strive to make our decision-making process as clear as possible. We provide our community with several opportunities to provide feedback through regular open meetings with members of the editorial board, regular evaluations administered to the Lawrence community, and forms specifically intended to make critiquing our work as accessible as possible.