Vermont Independent Media Statement of Editorial Standards
Vermont Independent Media, Inc. serves the role of publisher for The Commons, an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization whose mission is to provide high-quality journalism for Windham County, Vermont as well as neighboring counties in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
We publish news and analysis by professional journalists and commentary by community members (subject to editorial review) who strive to uphold the highest standards of fairness and accuracy.
Vermont Independent Media adheres to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, and the Institute for Nonprofit News’ standards for financial transparency and editorial independence.
Specifically, we adhere to:
Vermont Independent Media retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization.
We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.
We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently of donor support. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review or edit content.
We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization.
The Commons does not make its news reports a platform for advocacy, or enable advocates to use its news site as a promotional platform. As a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization we do not endorse candidates and, under IRS guidelines, should not favor any candidate for public office in coverage or other action.
The Commons serves to advocate for basic human rights, democracy, and the First Amendment, and the right to free speech and a free press.
Vermont Independent Media posts a values statement including its policies on inclusion and equity, and works to reflect and report on the full diversity of the communities it serves.
The Commons strives to uphold the highest standards of accuracy. Still, we will make mistakes; how we deal with errors in our reporting is important to maintaining our integrity and the trust of readers and sources. When we are in error, we will promptly and publicly correct the story.
Sourcing & Attribution
The Commons will try our best to identify all sources, granting individuals anonymity only when it is necessary to do so.
We will also seek to identify relevant affiliations, including VIM Board members, Commons staff, and known biases of our sources as they relate to a story.
We will always make efforts to contact the primary subjects and sources of criticism in our news coverage.
Our journalists will identify themselves as journalists and will not mislead a source to get an interview or a story.
The Commons does not pay for interviews.
Conflicts of Interest
Vermont Independent Media publicly lists its board of directors and makes it easy to find bios for directors, managers, and editorial staff.
The Commons journalists will not work on stories or projects in which they have a unique vested interest, financial or personal. The Commons employees, contractors and interns will not accept any gift from any company, individual or institution that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility.
Editorial employees may moderate panels or speak at events so long as their role is purely journalistic.