LONDON (Bywire News) - Mission statement:
The Bywire mission is to unify independent news, to challenge the legacy media narrative. To simplify Indie news dissemination to the critical masses, by making it as accessible and as convenient as possible. To become and remain the technological, democratic, immutable, monetisation, web 3.0 content publication standard.
Bywire shall, and forever adhere to the following principles and standards:
- Truthful. In the pursuit of truth, Bywire shall be fearless, and prepared to make sacrifices of its material fortunes, if such course be necessary for the public good.
- Trustworthy. To always remain trusted; to never endanger brand trust through the use of any words, acts, or reporting, in any form, that is or includes deceit, conflation, and supposition.
- Transparent. The duty of Bywire is to its Readers, Publishers, and to the public at large, and not to the private interests of its owners, advertisers, and general customers.
- Accountable. Those who report, comment, and objectify upon others, shall themselves be known, and accountable to those whom they account.
- Viable. The organisation must continue to exist and serve its commercial and societal purpose.
- Principled: Bywire shall not be the ally of any special interest but shall be fair and free and wholesome in its outlook on public affairs and the public interest. These values and principles are to be upheld as fiduciary. It is the duty of company directors and owners to uphold these principles as their fiduciary duties, first and foremost, under law.
Profitability acts, considered above a reasonable percentage target, that are in contravention of any principle listed above should never be considered, or excused, as a fiduciary duty. It is the antithesis of such. Principles before profit, but profit before everything else.
These guiding principles should not change.
Writing by Michael O’Sullivan, May 26, 2021. (Bywire CEO, Founder)
(These passages have been inspired by and directly ‘borrow’ complete sentences from writings by Eugene Meyer, who’s policies and principles define the mission of the Washington Post).
Bywire herby undertakes the following four publication guidelines (written by Members of the Society of Professional Journalists with some very minor edits) which should be practiced by those who publish under the Bywire brand and to the Bywire network, irrespective, and in place of any existing declarations, including, and specifically, those of third parties, other than those superseded law.
Seek Truth and Report It
Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting, and interpreting information.
- Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.
- Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy.
- Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarising a story.
- Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story.
- Be cautious when making promises but keep the promises they make.
- Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.
- Consider sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution, or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Explain why anonymity was granted.
- Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.
- Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.
- Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.
- Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
- Recognise a special obligation to serve as watchdogs over public affairs and government. Seek to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open, and that public records are open to all.
- Provide access to source material when it is relevant and appropriate.
- Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience. Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear.
- Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting.
- Label advocacy and commentary.
- Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information. Clearly label illustrations and re-enactments.
- Never plagiarise. Always attribute.
Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues, and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.
- Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.
- Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage. Use heightened sensitivity when dealing with those under 18 years of age, victims of sex crimes, and sources or subjects who are inexperienced or unable to give consent. Consider cultural differences in approach and treatment.
- Recognise that legal access to information differs from an ethical justification to publish or broadcast.
- Realise that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than public figures and others who seek power, influence or attention. Weigh the consequences of publishing or broadcasting personal information.
- Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do.
- Balance a suspect’s right to a fair trial with the public’s right to know. Consider the implications of identifying criminal suspects before they face legal charges.
- Consider the long-term implications of the extended reach and permanence of blockchain publication. Provide updated and more complete information as appropriate.
The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.
- Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
- Refuse gifts, favours, fees, free travel, and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality or may damage credibility.
- Be wary of sources offering information for favours or money; do not pay for access to news unless strictly necessary. Identify content provided by outside sources, whether paid or not.
- Deny favoured treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.
- Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
Prominently label sponsored content.
Be Accountable and Transparent
Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.
- Explain ethical choices and processes 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 and prominently. Explain corrections and clarifications carefully and clearly.
- Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organisations.
- Abide by the same high standards they expect of others.
Additional best practices to ensure trust
Diverse Voices and Teams
Inclusiveness is at the heart of thinking and acting as journalists. The complex issues we face as a society require respect for different viewpoints. Race, class, generation, gender, and geography all affect point of view. Reflecting these differences in our reporting leads to better nuanced stories and a better-informed community.
We are interested in hearing from different ethnic, civic, and business groups in the communities we serve. Please let us know about stories in your neighbourhood.
Across our output as a whole, we must be inclusive, reflecting a breadth and diversity of opinion. We must be fair and open-minded when examining the evidence and weighting material facts. We must give due weight to the many and diverse areas of an argument.
Breadth and diversity of opinion may require not just a political and cultural range, but, on occasion, reflection of the variations between urban, rural, older and younger, poorer and wealthier, the innovative and the status quo etc. It may involve exploration of perspectives in different community, interest groups and geographic areas.
(BBC Editorial Guidelines as adopted by Bywire.)
This document was first published on May 26, 2021 by Michael O'Sullivan. It will continue to grow and evolve over the coming weeks, and then subsequent years at a slower pace.