Society of Professional
Journalists Code of Ethics
The Concord Bridge subscribes to the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)code of ethics, https://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp. SPJ believes that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate fair and thorough. The four principles of ethical journalism are to
- Seek truth and report It
- Minimize harm
- Act Independently
- Be accountable and transparent
An ethical journalist acts with integrity. and we believe that fundamental to ethical journalism is being accountable and transparent in our work. Our journalists should:
- Explain ethical choices and process to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.
- Respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness.
- Acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly. Explain corrections and clarifications carefully and clearly.
- Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations.
- Abide by the same high standards they expect of others.
Editorial Independence Policy
We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News:
Our organization 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 and not on the basis of donor support.
Our organization may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.
Donor Transparency Policy
We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization.
Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions.
We accept gifts, grants, and sponsorships from individuals, organizations, and foundations to help with our general operations, coverage of specific topics, and special projects. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates as a public trust, we do not pay certain taxes. We may receive funds from standard government programs offered to nonprofits or similar businesses.
Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors or any revenue source. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review or edit content. We will not accept donations from sources who are deemed by our board of directors to present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.
As a news nonprofit, we avoid accepting charitable donations from anonymous sources, government entities, political parties, elected officials, or candidates seeking public office. We make public all revenue sources and donors who give $5,000 or more per year. We will accept anonymous donations for general support only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with INN’s Membership Standards. The Concord Bridge subscribes to INN’s Donor Transparency principles and policies and will attest that no more than 15 percent of its total annual revenue will come from anonymous donors.
The Concord Bridge
Conflict of Interest Policy
The following Financial Conflict of Interest Policy (“Conflict of Interest Policy”) is an effort (i) to ensure that the deliberations and decisions of The Concord Bridge are made solely in the interest of promoting the quality of journalism in the state of Massachusetts and (ii) to protect the interests of The Concord Bridge when it considers any transaction, contract, or arrangement that might benefit or be perceived to benefit the private interest of a person affiliated with The Concord Bridge (each, a Concord Bridge Representative). As used in this Conflict of Interest Policy, a Concord Bridge Representative includes any director, advisory board member, financial advisor, legal counsel or employee.
Each Concord Bridge Representative owes a duty to The Concord Bridge to advance The Concord Bridge’s legitimate interests when the opportunity to do so arises. Each Concord Bridge Representative must give undivided allegiance when making decisions affecting the organization. Similarly, Concord Bridge Representatives must be faithful to The Concord Bridge’s nonprofit mission and are not permitted to act in a way that is inconsistent with the central goals of the organization and its nonprofit status.
No Concord Bridge Representative shall personally accept gifts or favors that could compromise his or her loyalty to The Concord Bridge. Any gifts or benefits personally accepted from a party having a material interest in the outcome of The Concord Bridge or its employees by a Concord Bridge Representative individually should be merely incidental to his or her role as a Concord Bridge Representative and should not be of substantial value. Any gift with a value of $250 or more, or any gifts with a cumulative value in excess of $250 received by a Concord Bridge Representative in any twelve-month period from a single source, shall be considered substantial. Cash payments may not be accepted, and no gifts should be accepted if there are strings attached. For example, no Concord Bridge Representative may accept gifts if he or she knows that such gifts are being given to solicit his or her support of or opposition to the outcome or content of any Concord Bridge publication.
Conflicts of Interest.
The following are examples of conflicts of interest which must be promptly disclosed to The Concord Bridge Board of Directors pursuant to Section 4 below by any Concord Bridge Representative with knowledge of such conflict of interest:
- any real or apparent conflict of interest between a donor or the subject of a Concord Bridge publication or report and a Concord Bridge Representative;
- a Concord Bridge Representative’s ownership of an equity interest in a person or entity that is or will be the subject of a Concord Bridge publication or report; and
- failure to disclose to The Concord Bridge all relationships between the subject of any Concord Bridge publication or report and any Concord Bridge Representative or close relatives of the Concord Bridge Representative.
- If a Concord Bridge Representative or party related to a Concord Bridge Representative has an interest in any contract, action or transaction to be entered into with The Concord Bridge, a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest exists. Any Concord Bridge Representative having knowledge that such a conflict of interest exists or may exist (an “Interested Concord Bridge Representative”) will so advise the Board of Directors promptly. An Interested Concord Bridge Representative will include in the notice the material facts as to the relationship or interest of the Interested Concord Bridge Representative in the entity proposing to enter into a contract, action or transaction with The Concord Bridge.
- Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, the Board of Directors may authorize any committee appointed pursuant to the by-laws (a “Committee”) to act in lieu of the Board of Directors in determining whether an action, contract or transaction is fair to The Concord Bridge as of the time it is authorized or approved by the Committee.
- At any time that a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest is identified, the President of the Board or a Chair of the applicable Committee will ensure that such conflict of interest is placed on the agenda for the next meeting of the Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable. The notice of such meeting of the Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, will include, to the extent available when the notice is sent, a description of the conflict of interest matter to be discussed. By notice before the meeting or at the meeting, the directors on the board or the Committee, as applicable, will be advised that a vote will be taken at the meeting and that, in order to authorize the relevant contract, action or transaction, an affirmative vote of a majority of disinterested directors present at the meeting at which a quorum is present will be required and will be sufficient, even though the disinterested directors constitute less than a quorum of the Board of Directors or the Committee.
- Reasonable effort will be made to cause the material facts concerning the relationships between the individuals and The Concord Bridge which create the conflict to be delivered to and shared with the members of the Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, prior to the meeting to enable the directors to arrive at the meeting prepared to discuss the issue. In the event it is not practicable to deliver the information prior to the meeting, it will be delivered to the directors at the meeting, and the directors can act upon the matter with the same authority as if notice had been given prior to the meeting.
- The Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, will invite all parties to the conflict of interest to attend the meeting, to make presentations and to be prepared to answer questions, if necessary. The Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, will also invite outside experts if necessary.
- At the meeting, providing a quorum is present, the conflict will be discussed to ensure that the directors present are aware of the issues and the factors involved. The interested directors may be counted for purposes of a quorum, even though they may not take part in any vote on the issues.
- The Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, must decide, in good faith, reasonably justified by the material facts, whether the action, contract or transaction would be in the best interest of The Concord Bridge and fair to The Concord Bridge as of the time it is authorized or approved.
- All interested directors must abstain from voting and, if necessary, leave the room when the vote is taken.
- The Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, will maintain a written account of all that transpires at the meeting and incorporate such account into the minutes of the meeting and disseminate it to the full Board of Directors. Such minutes will be presented for approval at the next meeting of the Board of Directors and maintained in the corporate record book.
- To the extent that the conflict of interest is continuing and the contract, action or transaction goes beyond one (1) year, the foregoing notice and discussion and vote will be repeated on an annual basis.
Personal Loans. The Concord Bridge may not loan to, or guarantee the personal obligations of, any Concord Bridge Representative.
Editorial Policy, Paid Advertising
The Concord Independent Foundation’s Board of Directors has set out the policy for political advertisements appearing in The Concord Bridge. Our commitment to serving the whole community with impartial, fair, and inclusive local news coverage is the model that we will apply to considering political ads in our print newspaper.
Accordingly, The Concord Bridge will not accept paid political advertisements. We will, however, offer every candidate running for a local elected office a free quarter-page “signature” ad that will appear two weeks prior to a given election. A candidate’s “signature” ad is a list of community members who have indicated their support for a candidate.