Editorial Board Announcements: Commitment to transparency and integrity

It has become apparent that The Lawrentian has been operating without a solid foundation of identified core principles and objective policies. Members of the executive team created the following statements in the hopes of uniting our staff in a shared dedication to integrity and representation and reducing subjective decision-making. This is the first announcement of more changes to come for the way that The Lawrentian operates. We hope that you will stick with us as we continue forward and that you can offer feedback and opinions to us as you have them. 

The Lawrentian Mission Statement 

The mission of The Lawrentian is to inform and represent the diverse intellectual community of Lawrence University. The Lawrentian seeks to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the people, events, ideas and culture within the Lawrence community and around the world. To this end, The Lawrentian reports, acquires and distributes news, information and other content that meet the highest standards of public service in journalism and cultural expression. 

Statement on Diversity and Inclusion 

During the 2020-21 news cycle, the editorial board of The Lawrentian implemented practices and policies designed to expand coverage to encompass multiple perspectives and amplify diverse voices.  

By establishing sound policies, creating systemic processes for enacting them, and drawing on support from individuals and groups across campus for ongoing process analysis, The Lawrentian staff will maintain objective standards and promote inclusivity.  As a part of this procedure, every staff member will be required to sign the following statement of diversity and inclusion: 

The staff of The Lawrentian reaffirms its commitment to representing the diverse community of Lawrence University that embraces all members, including those marginalized by aspects of their identities. The principles of respect and inclusion are critical to our mission as a newspaper dedicated to cultivating dialogue across differences and to the representation of all members of the Lawrence community. The Lawrentian is committed to equal access and opportunity for all voices. 

 Commitment to Journalistic Integrity 

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 we will inevitably make mistakes. 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.