Journalism has evolved dramatically with an abundance of online and off-line options. Bluntly stated, journalists are information brokers. This means there is a fine balance to walk between providing information readers desire and promoting the subsistence of advertisers that made the presentation of the information possible. Having principles for engaging in the exchange of information can provide clarity and transparency to benefit all parties.
We are committed to providing information on a wide variety of topics relating to housing, well-being and resiliency. Rather than filtering certain types of information that may or may not be applicable to any one individual’s personal situation, we rely on you, our reader, to choose the information that is most appropriate for you. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, but rather as a foundation for further investigation.
We seek to best serve our readers we cover topics that we feel best serve their unique needs. It is important that the information provided is as objective as possible to facilitate credibility and trust. In fulfilling our mission, it is our intent to connect our readers with impactful products and services and also provide tips for elevating wellness and resiliency post-disaster.
These goals are accomplished through constant attention to reader needs and through a publicly expressed dedication to such journalistic principles as:
- full attribution to sources, and
- clear separation of reporting from analysis and opinion, and
- clear separation of editorial content from advertising and sponsored content.
All dealings with external, non-editorial personnel — including public relations representatives and story sources — are conducted with the clear understanding that no preferential editorial treatment should be expected from the interaction.
To provide editorial integrity a clear distinction will be made so that individuals can readily distinguish independent editorial information from advertising.
To maintain principles of fairness, accuracy, objectivity, and responsible, independent reporting we maintain sole control of its editorial content.
Journalistic excellence requires original reporting and reviewing corroborating information from other sources.
Contacts with Advertisers
Editorial Calls. When editorial staff are speaking to an advertising sponsor, the occasion may be identified to all participants as an “editorial call.” Agenda items may include discussing industry trends, explaining editorial policy and direction, or describing the readership. Bluntly speaking, the discussion is intended to further understand of how the reader can be best served with the information presented, rather than the advertiser.
Story Leads. If advertisers recommend story ideas or leads, editors should make it clear that they will make an independent judgment about possible usage, based on their analysis of reader needs.
No Article Previews. Generally, non-editorial personnel are not allowed to preview an unpublished article. Exceptions – allowed to assure the technical accuracy of material – include previews for experts, editorial advisory board members, or other sources who will receive no benefit from the article. This guideline also applies if a company or public relations person suggests an article. However, when a source or a company is referred to in an article in which they participated, it may be acceptable for the editor to ask that the source review quotes or sections to ensure accuracy and clarity.
No Quid Pro Quo. There is no trading of advertising for editorial coverage or coverage for advertising.
Controversial & Negative Coverage. Sometimes providing editorial news means writing a story that is negative or controversial involving an existing advertiser. While the content covered in unlikely to include coverage of this nature, we will not shy away from such coverage so long as it follows our expressed journalistic principles, enumerated above. Additionally, editorial staff writing such stories will reach out to an authorized press representative for the advertiser for comment and ensure an appropriate amount of time for an on-the-record response prior to publication; though an on-the-record response is not a requirement for publication.
Preferred Procedure for Public Relations
If the contact involves arranging for an expert author to produce an article, the author will be identified as a guest contributor, with company affiliation and job title clearly listed. The article provided should meet all editorial requirements set by the editors, and should be edited in the manner of staff-generated or freelance-contracted content.
Public relations personnel may be asked to help arrange contacts with key sources.
When an article idea originates in a public relations department, it is logical for editors and reporters to seek more details from the PR source, as well as other sources.
When additional interviews are needed, public relations practitioners may help make appointments for editors with appropriate personnel with whom to speak. To avoid undue influence on the interview subject, as circumstances dictate, editors may choose to discourage participation of public relations personnel in the actual interview.
Public relations personnel are logical sources to provide editors with suitable illustrations, photographs, or other “art” to accompany articles, as well as company and copyright clearance for those illustrations, photographs, or other “art,” or for designated personnel to speak to the editors, when needed.
Stories bylined by PR professionals are not allowed to run on behalf of their clients or company unless contracted and clearly marked as Sponsored Content.
Gifts to Editors and Writers
Generally, these guidelines establish acceptable gifts:
- Modest, souvenir-type gifts commonly given out at press affairs or conferences, or distributed to large groups of editors or individual editors during traditional gift-giving seasons, are generally acceptable.
- Modest gifts sent to a large number of B2B editorial staff are generally acceptable.
- Money or lavish gifts for single B2B editorial staff member or a select few are not acceptable.
Travel, Entertainment, and Junkets
In the case of transportation, lodging, entertainment, and personal expenses incurred in connection with editorial coverage, the publication or an editorial staff member is responsible for payment.
There may be exceptions, however, including the following:
- In the case of group press affairs attended by editors and editorial staff from more than one publication – so-called junkets – payment is optional if the offer to pay expenses is extended by the information source or advertiser/vendor to all participants. Honorariums are forbidden.
- Speaking Engagements. This section considers both work-related and non-work-related situations:
- Work-related. In speaking engagements at an association, company affair, or conference, accepting reimbursement of travel expenses is optional if the engagement is a direct part of the editor’s job.
- Non-work related. If speaking engagements are outside the editor’s job function (e.g., relating to a hobby or other non-work interest) and would have no negative impact on the editor’s publication or company, the editor may accept fees or other compensation.
Corrections are made within 24 hours of notification of an error when involving an online story, and noted in the original material online.
Notwithstanding the above guidelines, the following special considerations apply and are unique to independent trade media:
- Reconciling industry goals with journalism objectivity by weighing all sides of issues and by including voices of opposition in its coverage.
- Standards for op-eds and opinion coverage. Our readers see editorial staff as objective industry experts and our opinions should only serve to reinforce this reality. Therefore, op-eds by-lined by editorial staff should focus on key trends, data, or industry issues at-large. What our own op-eds will not do: take individual companies or products to task for their actions or in-actions, real, perceived or otherwise. Our op-eds may, however, choose to defend specific companies or groups of companies from inaccurate coverage appearing elsewhere – but only when focused on a specific set of trends, data or industry issues.
The use of hyperlinks within Editorial Content is at the discretion of editors, alone. Links are a navigation tool for the content, not for any mentioned companies. Requests to add links after a story is published are generally not accepted.
Press releases often serve as the starting point for editorial coverage; however, are rarely published in their entirety. Material sourced from press releases may be reworked into brief, quick-hit stories at the discretion of editors.
Original Sponsored Content Process
The content that we produce and the news that we feature is determined by the Editor. It must contain the latest information from reliable sources.
Third parties may provide funding for the creation original editorial content. In such cases, the third party may work with us to identify a mutually agreed upon general topic, but the content will be produced in accordance with our Original Content Process and the third party will have no control over the content. At their request, these third parties may receive the attribution “Sponsored by [third party’s name]” on our editorial content during the period that they fund a program. This attribution is not intended to reflect any change in the editorial nature of the content.
Each completed story to be published is reviewed by an editor for accuracy, appropriateness of language, and proper characterization of the findings of the topic. The story is next reviewed by an Editorial editor who edits it for style, flow, punctuation, and readability. Finally, the story moves from editing to publishing to the site.
Third Party Content Process
Collaboration with government and other not for profit organizations or associations whose primary mission is to educate the public on insurance topics or other issues. We use a specific framework of criteria to review and select these organizations and work with them to create or select content within specific topic areas. The content is created by us, reviewed and edited by the third party, and then edited and approved by our editorial staff.
Just like all of our editorial content, this category of content is subject to our editorial policy and process for accuracy, balance, and objectivity. In these instances, we place descriptive text at the top of the page to let the user know that we created the content with assistance and collaboration from the organization or association with whom we worked. In addition, the hyperlinked “educational collaboration”, linked to its definition, will be followed by the name of the organization with whom we worked to create the content. We also disclose if there was additional funding by other third parties who have no control over the content.