Our audience will be at the heart of everything we do. We exist to enhance the education, health and spirit of people of New Zealand by encouraging and inspiring people through the reporting of real life events that encourage what is best in society and human endeavour.
We are committed to providing high-quality, original and inspiring content. We must also give our audiences content made to the highest standards of editorial integrity and ethics, as their trust depends upon this. As an editorial team, integrity and ethical journalism are our cornerstones.
We will therefore act responsibly to respect privacy, to be fair, to be accurate, to avoid unjustifiable offence and to provide appropriate protection for our audiences from misleading content and harm. Particular care and sensitivity will be taken with regards to gender, race, religion, disability, culture and honouring people.
Our editorial guidelines intend as a minimum to be consistent with the New Zealand Press Council Statement of Principles.
2.0 Daily Encourager’s Statement of Principles
2.1 Honour, respect and encouragement
All content published by the Daily Encourager has to honour, respect and encourage people.
The Daily Encourager’s editor makes the final decision about this and is accountable to the board. Editorial independence is recognised and upheld.
If there is a serious question about whether content has honoured, respected and encouraged people, then the board and editor will discuss and resolve this.
Trust will be the foundation of the Daily Encourager: we are independent, impartial and honest. We are committed to achieving the highest standards of accuracy and impartiality, and we strive to avoid misleading our audiences.
2.3 Truth and accuracy
We will seek to establish the truth of what has happened and are committed to achieving due accuracy in all our content.
Accuracy is not simply getting facts right; when necessary, we will weigh relevant facts and information to get at the truth.
Our content, as appropriate, will be well-sourced, thoroughly tested content and presented in clear, precise language. We will strive to be honest and open about what we don’t know, and avoid unfounded speculation.
We will apply due impartiality to all our subject matter and aim to reflect a breadth and diversity of opinion across our content as a whole, over an appropriate period, so that no significant strand of thought is unreflected or under-represented.
We will be fair and open-minded when examining evidence and weighing material facts and take into account the representation of content in other media.
2.5 Editorial integrity and independence
We are independent of outside interests and arrangements that could undermine our editorial integrity. Our audience should be confident that our decisions are not influenced by outside interests, political or commercial pressures.
2.6 Serving the public good
We seek to report stories of significance that are inspiring to our audiences. We will be rigorous in establishing the truth and be well informed when explaining it.
We will respect a person’s entitlement to privacy, space and personal information. Nevertheless, the right of privacy should not interfere with the publication of significant matters of public good.
We will exercise particular care and discretion before identifying relatives of persons convicted or accused of crime where the reference to them is not relevant to the matter reported.
Those suffering from trauma or grief call for special consideration.
2.8 Children and young people
We will always seek to safeguard the welfare of children and young people. We will preserve their right to speak out and participate, while ensuring their dignity is protected.
In stories involving children and young people under 16, we will ask for permission from a parent or legal guardian before publishing a story or photograph.
2.9 Comment and fact
A clear distinction will be drawn between factual information and comment or opinion. An article that is essentially comment or opinion will be clearly presented as such. Material facts on which an opinion is based should be accurate.
2.10 Columns, blogs, opinion and letters
Opinion, whether newspaper column or internet blog, is to be clearly identified as such unless a column, blog or other expression of opinion is widely understood to consist largely of the writer’s own opinions. Though requirements for a foundation of fact pertain, with comment and opinion balance is not essential.
Cartoons are understood to be opinion.
Letters for publication are the prerogative of editors who are to be guided by fairness, balance and public good.
Abridgement is acceptable but should not distort meaning.
2.11 Headlines and captions
Headlines, subheadings and captions should accurately and fairly convey the substance or a key element of the report they are designed to cover.
2.12 Discrimination and diversity
Issues of gender, religion, minority groups, sexual orientation, age, race, colour or physical or mental disability are legitimate subjects for discussion where they are relevant and in the public good.
We may report and express opinions in these areas but always with the intention of building unity and understanding.
We will ensure a strong obligation to protect against disclosure of the identity of confidential sources. We have a duty to take reasonable steps to satisfy ourselves that such sources are well informed and that the information they provide is reliable. Care will be taken to ensure both source and publication agree over what has been meant by “off the record”.
Journalists should clearly identify themselves as working on behalf of the Daily Encourager. Information or news obtained by subterfuge, misrepresentation or dishonest means are not permitted.
We want to ensure the integrity of our content and staff must not reproduce other people’s material without attribution. The source of published material obtained from another organisation should be acknowledged, including quotes taken from other newspaper articles.
Bylines should be carried only on material that is substantially the work of the bylined journalist.
If an article contains a significant amount of copy from other newspapers or agencies, then that source should be credited.
2.16 Conflicts of interest
We are independent and free of obligations to our news sources. We will avoid any situations that might compromise such independence. Where a story is enabled by sponsorship, gift or financial inducement, that sponsorship, gift or financial inducement will be declared. Where an author’s link to a subject is deemed to be justified, the relationship of author to subject will be declared.
We will exercise particular care in reporting suicide or issues involving suicide, bearing in mind the risk of encouraging others. This will be borne in mind both in presentation, including the use of pictures, and in describing the method of suicide.
Any substances must be referred to in general rather than specific terms if possible. When appropriate, a helpline number will be given. The feelings of relatives will also be carefully considered.
2.18 Photographs and graphics
Editors will take care in photographic and image selection and treatment. Any technical manipulation that could mislead readers should be noted and explained. Photographs should be encouraging; those showing distressing or shocking situations will be avoided.
Significant errors will be promptly corrected with fair prominence and where appropriate, with an apology and a right of reply to an affected person or persons.
Note: The Daily Encourager’s principles are largely based on the Press Council.