insiteronline

Editorial Policy

1 The website is an independent and non-governmental online publication targeting post-secondary institutions and the University of Malta. It shall retain a balanced position and strive for accuracy to the best of its Editorial Board’s ability, offer room for the diverse opinions held by students, academics, and non-academic staff members alike.

1.1 News content should not contain or promote any individual’s personal opinion on controversial matters, but shall offer factual and accurate reporting.

1.2 Insiteronline.com shall provide space within its features, culture and photography sections for all members of the organisation, other students, academics, and non-academic staff to express their opinion.

1.3 In the interest of neutrality, insiteroneline.com shall be free from all political and religious influences and the influence of political bodies such as KSU, KPS, KSJC and other organisations, lobby groups and unions.

2 The inclusion of information identifying writers’ posts within organisations is permitted at the Editor’s discretion. Opinion pieces may only appear in the Opinion pages, and must be clearly marked as such.

3 The Editor shall retain the right to modify or refuse material. Upon submitting a contribution to insiteroneline.com, the author accepts this condition.

4 Insiteroneline.com shall try to retain a position of fairness and ethics in accordance with the provisions of the Maltese Press Act.

4.1 insiteroneline.com shall strive for accuracy in its content.

4.2 insiteroneline.com has the duty to protect privacy and to provide anonymity to sources who wish to remain so.

5 The website shall aim to provide a safe outlet for student creativity and expression of opinion, and shall strive to promote intelligent debate.

6. Censorship

Censorship shall be limited only to that which is illegal or which is obscene in nature. Censorship of offensive content lies within the ambit of the website’s Editorial Board. In the case of highly controversial content, the Executive Board must be consulted. The Executive and Editor will take a final vote.

Foul or crude language and content will be avoided unless the Editor decides otherwise.

7. Covering Crime

 7.1 Coverage of criminal offences must provide accurate facts. No inferences that are unsubstantiated by the evidence may be made or implied.

7.2 The purpose of covering crime is to inform readers, as opposed to alarming them.

Articles about crime must not incite readers or encourage them to follow suit.

7.2.1. Detailed description of techniques used to conduct the crimes will not be included unless deemed absolutely necessary by the Executive and Editorial Board.

7.2.2 The privacy and dignity of the relatives and victims of crime must be strictly respected.

8 Letters to the Editor and Complaints

8.1 All grievances are to be managed by the Editor. Answers to written complaints are to be answered within a week, providing the Editor is not abroad or unfit to work. Should the Editor be unable to answer complaints, s/he will appoint an Acting Editor.

8.2 However, due to space limitations, the Editor may choose to omit certain letters at his/her discretion. His/Her choice must be governed by the originality of the letter, or its relevance to the public interest.

8.3 Letters of apology and clarifications will all be made by the Editor. It is the duty of all Editorial Board members to inform immediately the Editor should they come to know of any grievances caused by the website’s content.

The Editorial Board members are also bound to inform immediately the Editor of any dissatisfaction expressed by contributors due to any misprint in their articles.

8.4 Effort must be made to identify the authors of Letters to the Editor.

8.5 Letters to the Editor may be published anonymously at the discretion of the Editor, even though the identity of the author is known.

8.6 Letters which contain plagiarism, libel or obscenities are not to be published.

8.7 Letters to the Editor that advertise commercial goods will not be published.

8.8 Errata and apologies should be uploaded on www.insiteronline.com. Readers should be informed of the reasons why errors were made when it is deemed necessary by the Editor.

8.9 Letters may be edited or shortened by the Editor, but only on reasonable grounds and providing that the purpose of the letter remains explicit.

9 Sensitive Material

9.1 Before deciding to publish sensitive content the Editor must consider the protection of individuals vulnerable to it.

9.2 Before publishing material that may offend some audiences, the Editorial Board must have a clear justification and purpose for doing so.

9.3 insiteroneline.com has the right and duty to publish articles that challenge taboos.

9.4 insiteroneline.com must avoid uploading images and articles that promote violence, nicotine, alcohol or drug consumption, as well as images and articles that are deemed to be derogatory of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, appearance and social standing.

10 Press releases

10.1 insiteroneline.com welcomes media releases, but is under no obligation to print all or any.

10.2 Press releases must be submitted in the English language. Translations will not be performed.

10.3 Press releases must not exceed a strict word limit of 300 words.

10.4 Images accompanying press releases or letters will be included at the discretion of the Editor. The Editor, Artistic Director, and designers may choose other images to accompany the press release or letter.

10.5 insiteroneline.com has the right to print any information acquired legally, unless the writer agreed to go off record.

11 Editorial Board Responsibilities

11.1 All amendments to this Editorial Policy will be made together with the Media Officer or the CEO of the Executive.

11.2 The Editorial Board is responsible for monitoring the website for any libellous content. In accordance with the Press Act, the Editor shall be liable at law for the online publication of any potentially libellous content, and therefore retains a final say on its publication or otherwise.

11.3 The Editorial Board must mentor, guide and give detailed feedback to writers when possible, and must ensure observance of deadlines by such writers. Meting out discipline to writers is the Editor’s responsibility, but may be undertaken by other Editorial Board members if the Editor is at that moment unfit or abroad.

11.4 The Editorial Board must monitor content for any degrading, objectifying, or obscene material, and report such content to the Editor in a timely manner.

11.5 The Editorial Board is responsible for the progress of articles allocated to him/her.

11.6 The Editorial Board must attend Editorial Board meetings, unless unavailable for a valid reason, such as in the case of illness. Notice of absence must be given as soon as possible.

11.7 The Editorial Board must play an active role in content development, although they are by no means the sole individuals empowered to do so. They must also strive to elicit content ideas from writers, Insite members, and other individuals.

11.8 The Editor will decide Editorial Board composition and is responsible for interviewing and choosing applicants for the Board. All applicants must be offered the opportunity to attend an interview. Applicants who fail to attend the interview without a valid reason will not be granted a second interview. The Editor may invite persons with relevant experience to the interview, to contribute to the interviewing process and to volunteer their opinions for the Editor’s consideration.

11.9 Regular contributors and writers will not be part of the Editorial Board, nor will they attend Editorial Board meetings, but will have separate meetings with Editorial Board members and/or the Editor. The Editor may however choose to invite observers to these meetings at his/her discretion.

11.10 Opinions expressed by members of the Editorial Board during any Editorial meeting are considered private and must be respected as such.

Members of the Editorial Board are expected to regard confidentiality as a duty and responsibility and have no right to disclose information for any purpose or to any person, especially if the article contains material of a sensitive nature.

A breach of confidentiality through the intentional or unintentional disclosure or misuse of such confidential information will result in the publication of the identity of the person who has disclosed such information immediately on insiteronline.com.

12. Discipline of Editorial Board.

12.1 Editorial Board members who do not assume the aforementioned responsibilities will be disciplined according to the Executive’s and Editor’s decision. If necessary, dismissal will be meted out by the Editor, gently but firmly.

12. 2 Editorial Board members who divulge newspaper content and the Board’s internal correspondence to third parties will be disciplined. Naming and shaming of such miscreants through the medium of the newspaper will be carried out following a vote by the Executive and the Editor.

13 Journalistic Ethics

13.1 Prior to interviews, insiteronline journalists are required to introduce themselves as such.

13.2 Journalists are duty-bound to inform interviewees of the use of recording devices or the presence of a camera operator.

13.3 Journalists should never cover stories in which they have a conflict of interest.

13.4 Journalists will always allow an interviewee time to discuss points they feel were not mentioned in the interview.

13.5 Journalists will not use gifts or money to obtain an interview, nor will they accept gifts or money from interviewees. Any money they receive will automatically be appropriated by Insite and used to benefit Insite as an organisation.

13.6 Information obtained off the record may be used in an article as long as it is backed by another source and must in no way mention the original source. Off the record information is to be avoided by all journalists. This must be explained to all interviewees

13.7 Articles should never include information that cannot be confirmed or that was achieved as a result of overheard conversations or gossip. Journalists must attempt to confirm and validate all information, regardless of the reputation or trustworthiness of the source.

13.8 Unprinted articles (either destined for printing, or discarded) will be viewed by members of the Editorial Board, the Executive Board and their author only.

13.9 A journalist should never refrain from covering a story for fear that it may affect the newspapers advertising. Publishing such articles is at the Editor’s discretion.

13.10 Suicide will not be covered unless it is judged to be newsworthy and relevant. The phrase ‘took their own life’ will be used instead of ‘suicide’. Articles on the matter will provide information about help-lines for students who feel depressed. The article will not sensationalise suicide or portray it in a positive light, nor will it describe the chosen method of suicide. Journalists will attempt to respect friends and family of the deceased by respecting their privacy and will aim to write the article in a way which is respectful and empathic.

13.11 Journalists will endeavour to keep minors informed of their rights and will not subject them to interviews or photographs without the consent of their parents, nor will they attempt to extract information from them by means of deception. They will not report names of minors who are victims, accused or convicted of a criminal offence.

14 The use of Lying and Undercover techniques in the media

14.1. The journalist has the duty to look for alternative forms of action that will resolve the case without the use of a lie. Lying may only be used at a last resort and upon reasonable grounds.

14.1.1. The journalist must identify the moral reasons brought forward to excuse the lie.

14.2 The journalist must seek permission from the Editor before resorting to lying.

15. Copy Editing

15.1 The Editor retains the discretion to heavily edit news articles so as to enhance their news value. In such cases, the Editor must strive to inform the article’s author of any changes made, whenever this is possible.

15.2 Proofreading will follow the Proofreading Policy, to be drafted by the Proofreading Coordinator under the Editor’s guidance.

15.3 All proofread copy must receive the Editor’s approval, who may reject certain changes on reasonable grounds.

15.4 The Editorial Board and proofreaders are bound to inform contributors of any changes made to their work during proofreading. Adequate reasons must be given for any changes made. Notification of authors may be foregone due to strict time constraints, provided that an apology be published if proofreaders prove to have erred  in these rare circumstances.

15.5 All new contributors will be given adequate information about the insiertonline’s system of editing copy.