Editorial Policies

Editorial Guidelines

 

[1] The Alice Springs News adheres to the Journalist Code of Ethics.

 

[2] Our editorial mission is to provide skilled, balanced and comprehensive reporting about issues in Central Australia so its people can make well-informed decisions in their lives.

 

[3] Our research focus is on the social, political, economic and cultural life of the town and region; we hope to soon add sports and give increased attention to youth interests and issues.

 

[4] We give the public a say through Letters to the Editor and especially through our moderated readers’ comments – more than 26,000 since 2011.

 

[5] Our independently researched reports are accredited with a by-line to the journalist(s) involved; our contributors are accredited with a by-line, and a biographical note if necessary.

 

[6] We identify media releases as such, or run them as Letters to the Editor (making clear they are not part of our independent research effort).

 

[7] We usually email story drafts to sources, an invitation to point out errors and omissions, not to censor.

 

[8] We provide fair and comprehensive Right of Reply and strive to explore all aspects of an issue.

 

[9] We acknowledge and correct errors of fact as soon as they come to our attention.

 

[10] We strive for objectivity and fairness in our reporting at all times, but if a claim of bias is received and has merit, we update the report appropriately.

 

[11] We maintain a clear separation of editorial and advertising functions.

 

[12] We reject requests for “editorial support” from advertisers as they are in conflict with the Journalist Code of Ethics.

 

[13] We declare interests (for instance, relationship with a source or contributor, membership of an organisation, involvement in a particular issue.)

 

[14] We moderate all readers’ comments (more than 26,000 since 2011). We exclude comments only if they are libellous or factually misleading, and advise the writer accordingly. We accept anonymous comments, but require publication of the writer’s name if they are explicitly critical of another named individual not in the public domain (eg a politician). 

 

[15] We publish almost all letters to the editor, as long as they have a direct relationship to our circulation area and are not libellous or factually misleading.

 

 

Comments and Letters to the Editor

 

We greatly appreciate and enjoy the huge feedback we’re getting from our readers. Please join in.

 

There are two ways you can:-

 

• Use the comment box at the bottom of the “full story” page. For this you can quote a pseudonym or a pen name, although we strongly urge you to supply your full name for publication: This will enhance greatly the importance the readers will attribute to your comment.

 

• We will not permit personal attacks from a position of anonymity. If you are attacking a private person, you need to provide, for publication, your name and town or city of residence, plus a phone number for verification purposes. We will not publish your email address nor your phone number.

 

• We extend the privilege of anonymity to readers attacking people who put themselves into the public arena as elected members, politicians or spokespeople, but the comments need to be restricted to the field in which those “public” people are operating. Comments need to be civilised and not include excessively crude language.

 

• Playing the ball rather than the person advances the conversation and better helps to further explore issues.

 

• Email us a Letter to the Editor. For this we require, for publication, your name and town or city of residence, plus a phone number for verification purposes. This form of making your point is far more credible and effective than making a comment anonymously.

 

• We accept, with regret, that some corporations and public service institutions will seek to silence and even victimise people who speak out. Vital information and pertinent opinions would be withheld from public knowledge if we required comment writers to disclose their names.

 

• The comments are moderated. We have withheld from publication, and will continue to do so, comments we find vexatious or are excessively and unfairly offensive.

 

• In each case we will archive your email address and other contact details provided but not publish them, unless you have expressly cleared or requested us to do so.

 

You’re welcome to contact us at letters@alicespringsnews.com.au

 

 

Complaints handling policy

 

[1] We consider the complaint.

 

[2] If appropriate, we tender an apology and rectify the error or mistake online.

 

[3] We note the error or mistake on the page carrying the disputed story under a heading such as UPDATE, CLARIFICATION, ERROR or CORRECTION.

 

[4] If the complaint is disputable we contact the complainant.

 

[5] We invite him or her to discuss the alleged mistake, and whether it is a matter relating to –

 

[a] the journalistic process, governed by the Journalistic Code of Ethics;

 

[b] a matter of fact;

 

[c] or a matter of opinion.

 

[6] In the events of [5a] and [5b] we are either right or we are not, in which case [2] and [3] apply.

 

[7] If no agreement can be reached we suggest to the complainant to contact the Australian Press Council or propose a local mediator.

 

[8] In the event of [5c] we respectfully point out that in a democratic system, Freedom of Speech provides for a variety of opinions and the right to express them.

 

[9] We point out to the complainant that we consider ourselves obliged to publish the full range of opinions, so far as that is possible in the framework of a medium such as ours, and provided that they are not demonstrably false or offensive.

 

[10] We would discuss with a complainant whether we have acted in accordance with [9].

 

[11] If not we offer the complainant the Right of Reply or a further Right of Reply. (Providing the Right of Reply, whenever appropriate or possible, is part of our journalistic process.)

 

 

 

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Erwin Chlanda, Editor