The Daily Free Press editorial board changes every semester to optimize students’ opportunities to work at the paper. Because of this quick change between e-boards, it is important that we standardize our operations to ensure that our expectations, integrity and consistency as a paper are maintained.
- Each article must have a minimum of three distinct sources that provide unique information on the topic/issue at hand. Of these, at least two must be spoken sources.
- Written sources are permissible as long as it is a verifiable statement from the source themself. Email is the only acceptable means of conducting a written interview. Text messages and communication through social media platforms may not be used for quotes or as an on-the-record source.
- When quoting from a written statement such as a press release or a social media post, a direct link must be provided in order to fact-check. Direct quotes must be written exactly as in the text, misspellings and grammatical errors included. Screenshots may be permissible at the Editor-In-Chief’s discretion in cases where the original statement is no longer available.
- In certain situations such as breaking news stories or simple articles where no other useful source is available it may be permissible to include only two spoken sources. This is at the discretion of the Editor-In-Chief and Managing Editor (Top Two).
- Spoken sources are prioritized because they almost always provide more information and better quotes while also preventing the source from editing their answers in advance.
Conflicts of Interest
- Writers may not cover stories dealing directly with organizations or people they have some relationship with. In cases where this is unavoidable such as in covering a meeting where the organization/person is present, a disclaimer must be included in the article to clarify this relationship.
- Editors may not be involved in editing stories that cover organizations/people they are involved with either.
- All stories that involve any conflict of interest with a member of The Daily Free Press (at all levels, currently and within the past five years since leaving the Daily Free Press) must include a disclaimer with the name of said person and their relationship to the organization/person covered in the story.
- Any failures to disclose such relationships before the publication of a story may result in disciplinary action.
- Sources can only be granted anonymity in cases where they are in danger of physical, emotional or financial harm. Simply being uncomfortable appearing in an article is not enough reason to grant anonymity.
- Writers and section editors can only grant conditional anonymity at the time of an interview. Final approval must always go through the Editor-In-Chief and Managing Editor and this should be made clear to sources.
- Anonymous sources must still provide their full name at a minimum to the Writer for record-keeping purposes.
- When a request for anonymity is approved by Top Two, it cannot be revoked unless the source requests it.
Recordings and Transcriptions
- All spoken interviews must have audio recorded. A quote or paraphrase may not be used unless it is recorded, except under specific circumstances approved by top two such as a request from an important source.
- Quotes must be written accurately and exactly as in the recording, with the exception of filler words such as “like” and “um.”
- All sources must at a minimum state either on the recording or in an email the spelling of their names as well as their pronouns.
- During spoken interviews, the reporter must get consent from the interviewee to record the conversation. It is illegal in Massachusetts to record someone without their knowledge.
- Briefs may be published for any breaking news story for which it is important to publish an article immediately.
- The brief may contain only one source and does not have a minimum word requirement, but generally should be around 300 words.