Editorial Standards and Ethics Policy

All editors and writers assigned to a staff position have agreed to uphold the following broad editorial standards and policies.

Rights of Reply: It is the policy of The University Times to give the subjects of articles a fair opportunity to respond, via a right of reply, if an article makes allegations of wrongdoing, dishonesty or ineptitude, or if a piece criticises its subject, be they a person or an institution. In some cases, such as when the timeliness of an article merits its publication before a response is received, it is our policy to note that a request for comment has been made, and then to update articles with the response once it is received.

Correction of Errors: It is the policy of The University Times to correct all errors and inaccuracies as soon as we learn of them. All corrections are noted with a timestamped correction note at the end of the article in question.

Updating of Articles after Publication: Often, as we learn of new facts or details, or there are developments to a story, an already published story may be edited to reflect these developments. In most cases – and when the update concerns something other than the correction of an error – it is not necessary to signify that a change has been made to an article, and it is updated as such.

Anonymous Articles: Generally, the publication of articles written by anonymous authors is forbidden at The University Times. In certain cases, the Editor may make an exception if the publication of an anonymous article is of great public interest, and there is a significant risk that the writer may experience great harm as a result of their name being associated with the article, and where it is not possible for another person to write the piece.

Quotations on the Condition of Anonymity: It is the policy of The University Times to avoid anonymous quotations where possible. In a lot of cases, it is possible to find someone who is willing to speak on the record about a certain issue, and every effort should be made by writers of The University Times to encourage sources to speak on the record. Exceptions to this policy can be granted by the Editor only, in cases where quotations given on the condition of anonymity add significantly to a piece, and where it is quite unlikely that sources would be willing to say the same things on the record.

Requests for Comment, Naming of Spokespersons and Press Officers: It is the policy of The University Times to name all spokespersons and press officers who give quotations on behalf of an institution. Often, when The University Times requests quotations, the request is made to certain named individuals in an institution, rather than the respective press officer, and naming press officers is a way of making it clear to readers just who is issuing a response. Is it also our policy to make readers aware when a request for comment or interview from or with a specific individual has been rebuffed in lieu of a prepared statement issued through an institution’s press officer.

Sources of Statements: When a quotation is issued in a press release rather than directly to a reporter, it is our policy to indicate as such in articles. Similarly, if a quotation is received by email, text or via instant messaging such as Facebook, rather than by phone or in person, it is our policy to indicate as such. Thus, it is our policy to encourage writers to push for on-the-record quotations in person or over the phone, as there is greater possibility for a back-and-forth discussion with a source, and less chance that a rehearsed and pre-prepared statement will make its way into an article.

Quotation Approval: Quotation approval, wherein someone is only willing to be quoted if they are given the right to review and edit what they have said in an interview after the fact, is strictly forbidden at The University Times. In extremely rare cases, granting the right to approve quotations is warranted, but only if it is approved in advance by the Editor. This right is typically only granted in long-form pieces, and never in a news context. Similarly, requests to see pieces before a quotation is given are not granted. Sometimes, The University Times grants a source the right to see a piece before it is published to have input with regards to accuracy, but only in the understanding that the source has no right to make changes to the piece, and the final decision rests with the relevant section editor.

Removal of Articles or Other Content: Articles, images and other content published in The University Times are never removed unless a significant error or misunderstanding led to its publication. However, in almost all such cases, a correction, editor’s note and apology is appended to an article instead of the article in question being removed. In cases where an article has been written fairly, properly and without error, there are no circumstances in which a request for its removal may be granted, regardless of the time interval between the publication and the request.

Plagiarism: The University Times does not tolerate plagiarism under any circumstances, and any writer or editor found to have plagiarised will immediately be asked to resign from their position. In cases where a pattern of plagiarism emerges, it is the policy of The University Times to apologise to readers, and, as of 2015, to name the staff member who has plagiarised in that apology. All editors and writers assigned to a staff position are made aware of this policy on their appointment.

Editing Process and Oversight: Every piece that is published by The University Times has been reviewed by at least two staff members above the rank of Senior Staff Writer. Editors check for accuracy, and determine whether a piece is fair and impartial, as well as for clarity, spelling and grammatical errors.

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