Code of Ethics
The Ark Valley Voice is committed to responsible and fair pursuit of the truth without favoritism toward or fear of any special interest. In reporting the news, Ark Valley Voice reporters and editors are committed to:
- Fairness without prior judgment.
- The inclusion of comments and perspectives of people accused or challenged in the stories we publish.
We recognize that the power we wield as journalists in the Upper Arkansas Valley carries with it special responsibilities, including listening to the voiceless, avoiding all acts of arrogance and facing the public politely and candidly.
The first mission of a newspaper, whether traditional or digital, is to tell the truth as nearly as the truth may be ascertained. The Ark Valley Voice will tell all the truth, so far as it can be determined, concerning the important affairs of the Upper Arkansas Valley in Central Colorado and the people and communities therein.
The newspaper’s duty is to its readers and to the public at large, not to any private interests.
Conflict of Interest
The Ark Valley Voice will not be the ally of any special interest but will be fair in its outlook on public affairs and public officials. We are committed to avoiding conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflict of interest whenever possible. Our policies in this regard are:
- We pay our own way.
- We accept no gifts from news sources. We neither seek nor accept preferential treatment that might be rendered because of the positions we hold. Exceptions to the no-gift rule are few and obvious – invitations to meals and free admission to events about which we are reporting, for example.
- All reporters and editors are required to disclose any interests or agendas that might be in conflict or give the appearance of a conflict in their reporting or editing duties.
- We make every reasonable effort to be free of obligation to news sources and to special interests. We strive to ensure that our private and professional behavior not bring discredit to our profession or to Ark Valley Voice.
- We avoid active involvement in partisan causes – politics, community affairs, social action, demonstrations – that could compromise or seem to compromise our ability to report and edit fairly.
The Reporter’s Role
Reporters for Ark Valley Voice will make every effort to report the news without influencing the news; in gathering news, reporters will not identify themselves as anything other than journalists.
The Ark Valley Voice is committed to minimizing the number of errors we make and to correcting those errors that occur. Persons who call errors to our attention will be accorded a respectful hearing.
Attribution of Sources
The Ark Valley Voice is committed to disclosing the sources of all information whenever possible. However, when legitimate concerns prompt us to agree to protect a source’s identity, that source’s identity will not be made known to anyone outside Ark Valley Voice. Before any information is accepted without full attribution, reporters must make every reasonable effort to get it on the record. If that is not possible, Ark Valley Voice reporters will seek the information elsewhere. If that is not possible, reporters will request an on-the-record reason for concealing the source’s identity and will include the reason in the story. Whatever kind of identification of a source is possible – by position, for example – will be reported. Furthermore, Ark Valley Voice will not knowingly disclose the identities of any law enforcement agents working undercover without extraordinary circumstances that will be carefully weighed by the editors.
Plagiarism and Credit
Plagiarism is unacceptable. Attribution of material from other publications and other media outlets will be complete.
Reporters and editors of Ark Valley Voice are committed to fairness:
- Fairness includes completeness. No story is fair if it omits facts of major importance or significance.
- Fairness includes relevance. No story is fair if it includes irrelevant information at the expense of significant facts.
- Fairness includes honesty. No story is fair if it consciously or unconsciously misleads or deceives the reader.
- Fairness requires straightforwardness. No story is fair if it employs pejorative language or language that implies value judgments.
Opinions of editors and reporters are not allowed in stories that report the news. Opinions are strictly limited to editorial/opinion articles, which will be identified as such.
A primary focus of Ark Valley Voice is community interest. We believe the interests of the Upper Arkansas Valley community are best served by the widest possible dissemination of information. The claim of community interest by a local, state or federal official does not automatically equate with the community interest and will be challenged.
The Ark Valley Voice respects taste and decency. While these concepts evolve over time, we will always avoid prurience. We will also avoid profanities and obscenities unless their use is so essential to a story that its meaning is lost without them. In no case shall obscenities be used without the approval of the managing editor or senior editor.