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Preamble

Greater Long Island Media Group, Inc., publishers of greaterlongisland.com, was founded and is operated by award-winning, responsible journalists who have done important work at influential news organizations large and small.

As journalists, we seek to tell the truth and present a fair and accurate view of the world around us, which in our case is focused solely on the counties, towns, villages and hamlets of Long Island, N.Y., as well as stories of outside interest relevant to our Long Island reader base.

Our job is to inform readers about happenings in and around their towns and neighborhoods without fear from or favor to our story subjects, advertisers, elected officials or influential business and community leaders.

Our philosophy is such that our news reports are designed to help neighbors understand neighbors, inform themselves about local and regional happenings, and communicate and better connect with one another.

Ethics for us is about understanding what’s right for our readers, story subjects and our region as a whole, as well as what’s reasonable and responsible through our news reports. We will continually examine how our work affects our coverage areas, and keep striving to keep that outcome enlightening and constructive in nature.


Reporting the news

We have a traditional newsroom, with a hierarchy of editors and reporters, photo editors and photographers appointed appropriately by talent and experience to ensure factual accuracy and story flow.

Our news gathering ranges from telephone and in-person interviews that can last as few as 15 or 20 minutes for one-sourced posts about a new, small business or community event, for example, to more investigative and enterprising work that can involve weeks’ worth of research and in-person interviews.

Our reporters and editors also review documents and compare related news reports, as well as conduct historical research while cross-sourcing (reaching out to those with other views) to ensure the contextual accuracy of the story’s main focus as well. (This also ensures trust overall of all the company’s news reports.) It’s not enough to get the immediate facts straight for a news story; we strive to accurately portray the larger picture as well.

Fact-checking and corrections

Our editorial review process, including the placement of experienced editors who also have institutional knowledge of our coverage areas, is designed to ensure all facts presented in our news stories are indeed facts.

While we strive for utmost accuracy, our elevated newsroom infrastructure is composed of human beings who make the occasional mistake.

But our response to any mistake is executed swiftly — at all times of the day or night.

Our reporters will immediately alert an editor — typically the one who is most closely working with them on the story in question — of any instances of a potential error in fact or omission (meaning an important, omitted fact that has distorted a story without its mention). Whether pointed out by a story subject or a reader, all potential errors of fact or omission are taken seriously, considered and, if needed, acted upon.

To do so, the editor will review the validity of a potential error of fact or omission and react accordingly, whether that means correcting it immediately, adding facts or needed context to a story post-publication, or seeking the advice of other editors before responding in these manners. If there is a pattern of such errors on the account of any editorial staffer or freelancer, or reporting team, a department head will be informed immediately.

Editor’s notes

Editor’s notes are added to an online report on a case-by-case basis. Typically, grammar corrections post-publication do not call for an editor’s note, unless that error had changed the substance of a report.

Most other errors are corrected with an explanatory editor’s note, in brackets, published either at the top of the report, if the error is deemed critical by an editor or editors, or at the bottom of a report otherwise.

Fairness

Fairness in our reports is of utmost importance. Beyond reaching out to the other side, as they say, over a sensitive local issue, tone and use of language matters. This is also why experienced editors must review work of all staff reporters and freelancers prior to publication.

Daily deadline pressures never take precedent over giving someone mentioned in a story, or who might be directly affected by a published news report, ample time to respond to a call or email seeking comment. No one is ever painted as someone who didn’t return requests seeking comment if that person didn’t have sufficient time to not only respond, but to think about how they want to respond. Therefore it is important to outline how and when, and how many times, we tried to reach a subject before such a non-response mention is included in a report.

Sensitivities

At Greater Long Island Media Group, we go beyond simply correcting an error of fact or omission.

Sensitivities surrounding a story subject also matter greatly to us.

Therefore, if a subject brings to our attention that something included in a report either embarrasses that subject or a friend, partner or relative needlessly (meaning, the mention isn’t fully germane to the story), a reporter is instructed to alert and consult with an editor to determine how to handle the offending material appropriately, even if that means editing out that particular content post-publication with an accompanying editor’s note.

Such an editor’s note should never repeat the offensive content, however only mention that the story had been updated from a prior version, in brackets, due to the personally sensitive nature of portions of the original content.

Many story subjects are inexperienced in dealing with media — and their rights must be respected, as they might say things never meant for publication. To prevent such instances from occurring, reporters are instructed to remind such people during an interview that anything they say to a reporter could find itself in a published story.

Attribution

Proper attribution is paramount to a sound, journalistic report. All facts and quotes, whether direct or indirect, are sourced to whomever made the comment — or the source material, such as online resources or other news reports. Outside journalistic reports are sourced directly to that news organization, along with a hyperlink to that company’s website homepage or the report directly, preferably the latter when possible.

No outside reporting is ever borrowed or ripped for a Greater Long Island report without proper attribution or independent verification. (Note: The author of the report (byline) need not be mentioned unless that particular person’s work is relevant to the broader picture of the story from Greater Long Island Media Group.)

Sponsored content criteria

We are a respected local news organization. Our readers must trust that all news reports published by Greater Long Island Media group have been deemed to be just that: news, by our independent editorial team.

This helps differentiate our news reports from labeled sponsored content, which is typically paid for directly.

But sponsored content isn’t always paid for in a direct manner. Often, content that is pitched to a publisher or salesperson from an interested party, typically a current advertiser, is not deemed newsworthy by the editorial team. In these cases, such a sponsored post might still be published by an in-house branded/sponsored content creator as a sales retention tool, without direct payment, but it still must be marked as sponsored content.

Greater Long Island reserves the right to reject any pitch for a sponsored post if the promotional content is deemed dangerous, divisive, or otherwise potentially detrimental to anyone who might consume such material.

Community involvement

Though the coverage of local political races isn’t a large driver of our editorial coverage, many news issues have a political component — or the potential of being politicized. Even what a story subject might say in a report about real estate, restaurants or finance, to name a few, can be political in nature. Therefore, editors and reporters must take great care to remain impartial in political discourse when representing Greater Long Island Media Group.

Newsroom contributors in any form are encouraged to vote and participate in private debate, so long as it is clear their views are their own and not representative of the views of Greater Long Island as a company and greaterlongisland.com as a publication.

Conflicts are avoided by reporters from their refraining to join any political advocacy groups or local groups that might have an opinion or mission that can bring into question their objectivity on local issues, for which they might be asked to cover. Newsroom contributors must notify a supervisor of any potential conflicts of interests prior to taking on an assignment, including personal relationships a reporter might have to a story subject.

Gifts, food and access

Newsroom contributors are instructed to not accept gifts from story subjects, or potential story subjects.

This includes free food or drink for a newsroom contributor while covering restaurant news in particular — if the food or drink in question is not an important component to covering the story.

In addition, should a reporter’s meal at a local restaurant be comped unexpectedly by a restaurant owner or manager due solely to their position and work as a reporter for Greater Long island Media Group, it is suggested that the reporter protest the gesture. If the gesture is insisted upon, it is suggested that the full, expected amount of that meal be paid to the service workers in the form of a tip. This is designed to help in retaining indepedence in any ongoing reporting and alleviate other future awkwardness or expectations of quid pro quo.

Access to special, ticketed events are for the sole purpose of covering that event as a journalist.

If it is judged by a reporter, possibly with an editor’s help, that it would be rude or offensive to reject a gift, the newsroom contributor is encouraged to donate the gift to a local charity or cause of their choosing.