Code of Ethics

Insider Louisville is a nonprofit media organization that does not take sides along the political spectrum. Our mission is to inform readers with impactful, public-service journalism so that they can help shape outcomes. Our goal is to raise the level of civic engagement in our communities and to be an indispensable source of information about local business, public policy, politics, transportation, education, health and human services, and culture.

This mission influences the values and guidelines set out in our code of ethics, which adheres to the long-held journalistic standards set out in the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

Insider Louisville is funded via memberships, donations from individuals and foundations, corporate sponsorships, events and other revenue streams. As a nonprofit, we will provide an updated list of our donors.

Seek Truth and Report It

Members of Insider Louisville’s editorial team are honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Insider Louisville reporters will:

  • Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.
  • Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.
  • Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story.
  • Identify sources clearly.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Recognize 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.
  • Label advocacy and commentary.
  • Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information. Clearly label illustrations and re-enactments.
  • Never plagiarize. Always attribute.

Minimize Harm

 Insider Louisville reporters will:

  • 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 juveniles, victims of sex crimes, and sources or subjects who are inexperienced or unable to give consent. Consider cultural differences in approach and treatment.
  • Recognize that legal access to information differs from an ethical justification to publish or broadcast.
  • Realize 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 publication. Provide updated and more complete information as appropriate.

Act Independently

 Insider Louisville reporters will:

  • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
  • Refuse gifts, favors, 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 favors or money; not pay for access to news. Identify content provided by outside sources, whether paid or not.
  • Deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.
  • Distinguish news from advertising. Any sponsored content will be prominently labeled as such.

Be Accountable and Transparent

Insider Louisville reporters will:

  • 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 organizations.
  • Abide by the same high standards they expect of others.