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411 Code of Ethics

Overview

Eaglepass411(eptx411) is a nonpartisan, community media. Our mission is to provide our readers with impartial, informative reporting, and with an outlet for civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics, government and other matters of City and County-wide as well as statewide concern.

This mission drives the values and guidelines set out in our code of ethics, which borrows generously from the policies set by other fine news organizations like EPISD, the City Of Eagle Pass and local non-profits. Eagle Pass 411 realizes that it can not be a total community media without people that also care about it. This is why we are always searching for editors, moderators, and contributors to our site that have proven to care about non-profits and are eager to share their 411. Exceptional circumstances may require exceptions to these rules; as our industry and the technology surrounding it evolves, we will continue to revise this code.

Eaglepass411 is financially supported by a diversified business model that includes membership, sponsorships, events, subscriptions, and other revenue streams. The model may be new and innovative, but our commitment to journalistic ethics is not:


Accuracy and Attribution

  • Our reporting on all platforms will be truthful, transparent and respectful; our facts will be accurate, complete and fairly presented. Our analysis will represent our best independent judgment, not our preferences or those of our sources. There will be no hidden agendas in our endeavors.
  • When we make a mistake — and from time to time,  we will work quickly to fully address the error, correcting it within the story, detailing the error on the story page and adding it to a running list of Eagle Pass 411 corrections. If you find an error, email corrections@eptx411.com.
  • The journalist will never provide images or other content from outside sources without permission and credit. Plagiarism, fabrication, and misappropriation of intellectual property are all grounds for immediate removal from a Freelance Journalist or live contributor.
  • Eaglepass411 Freelance journalists join eptx411 because they wish to make a difference in their community. For this reason, you will find both short as well as long professional journalist stories on our site. We take the time each year to recognize each journalist. 
  • Eptx411 photo editors and video producers may improve the technical quality of photos and video or audio recordings, but may not alter the substance of that media. All photo illustrations, graphics or animations will be clearly labeled as such.

Sourcing

  • We will try our best to identify all of our sources, granting individuals anonymity only when the information is critical to the story, we are certain the source is reliable and there is no other way to obtain the information. We will not say that a person wishes to speak or comment if they are already quoted anonymously. As much as possible, we will identify in our reporting any bias we know our sources have. Anonymous sources should know that the reporter will share their identity with a senior editor, who will also keep that information confidential.
  • Our journalists will never misrepresent themselves or mislead a source to get an interview or a story, and they will always identify themselves as journalists. They do not use unethical means in order to get an interview.
  • Multiple efforts will be made to contact the primary subjects and sources of criticism in our stories.

Impartiality and Conflicts of Interest

  • At Eptx411, there are no sacred dogs; we aggressively pursue all stories we deem newsworthy. Editorial decisions are made by journalists alone.
  • Those who contribute to Eagle Pass 411 do so with the understanding that we are only beholden to great journalism. Our paid members or advertisers are informed— that their support to Eptx411 does not entitle them to preferential treatment or to relationships with newsroom staff, and in no way protect them from investigations or scrutiny.
  • To ensure there is no conflict with the journalist they must notify the editor about any Freelance employment that may conflict with their responsibilities at eptx411.com.
  • Everyone at eptx411, with any responsibility for reporting or editing the news, will refrain from a partisan political activity of any kind, including making political contributions or displaying partisan signage.

Membership and Advertising

  • A journalist must never include a product or service in sound, vision or print in return for cash, services or any consideration in kind. We must:

    ensure that references to trade names, brand names, and slogans are clearly editorially justified.
    never use material from advertising campaigns or promotions without revealing the source and making clear, through our script, why the material was used.
    not linger on brand names or logos and use verbal references sparingly unless there are strong journalistic reasons for repeated references to a brand.
    never accept free or reduced-cost products or services from those whose brands are featuring in our output.