Journalist & Contributors

Free material and gifts

It is extremely dangerous for a journalist to take gifts. There will always be a price to pay at some future date. The best advice is to say no. A journalist should always pay for their own travel and accommodation costs. There may be some situations where a producer is offered facilities to sample so that they can report on them, in such cases the following rules should apply:

  • keep accurate departmental records of what has been accepted.
  • never guarantee that any product or service will be featured.
  • never guarantee the approach that will be taken in dealing with the product or service – for example never suggest it will get a glowing review.
  • always inform suppliers that they cannot refer to Eagle Pass 411 in selling their products.
  • only give on-air, online or in-print credits if clearly editorially justified.
  • never offer suppliers any editorial say influence in the programme.
  • never offer them a preview of it with a view to them being able to make changes.

Media trips

It is best not to accept expenses-paid trips unless they are the only way to cover the story – for example, such a case might be the first flight of a new airline service.

Undue prominence

Be careful where a guest on a programme has a particular product to push, such as a book, a new piece of music, a show or a film. It is fine to discuss the editorial issues, but you need to ensure that they are not taking advantage of you and the position you have offered them by including them in your programme.

Conflicts of interest

There must never be any suggestion that personal, commercial, business, financial or other interests have influenced your Eagle Pass 411 editorial decisions. Presenters, reporters, producers, editors, researchers, and managers are all affected. The higher someone’s level of editorial responsibility, the greater the need to avoid any possible conflicts of interest.

Typical conflicts of interest for journalists include:

  • writing to another news organization
  • public speaking/public appearances
  • media public relations training
  • connections to charities and campaigning organizations
  • political activities
  • hospitality and personal benefits
  • financial and business interests.

Journalists must declare all these to their senior editorial managers if they feel that there is a conflict of interest that could damage the news organization’s integrity.

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