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Mission Statement: The Crow’s Nest is committed to providing its readers with news relevant to the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and its surrounding community. The Crow’s Nest abides by the highest ethical standards and focuses on stories that help readers make informed decisions on current issues. We take seriously the public’s trust in our news reporting and strive to uphold the highest standards of reporting as defined by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Code of Ethics: While The Crow’s Nest follows the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, we understand that no code of ethics can be all encompassing. When an issue arises that the SPJ Code of Ethics cannot clearly address, The Crow’s Nest staff will consult its advisor and/or other professors or professionals in the field of journalism for guidance.

It is the responsibility of all members of The Crow’s Nest staff to avoid any behavior that will compromise individual work or the reputation or credibility of the publication. Contributing writers, photographers, correspondents and editors are also expected to uphold the standards of ethical journalism in work submitted to The Crow’s Nest.

The news content must be accurate, free from bias and presented in context.

Writers will strive to include as many relevant points of view to a story as possible, using multiple sources to test the accuracy of the information and explore other perspectives.

The Crow’s Nest will not use anonymous sources unless the overriding news value warrants it and the information cannot be obtained any other way. In the case that an anonymous source is used, the writer will provide as much information as possible to accurately characterize the source while protecting the source’s anonymity.

Editorials, columns and analysis should be clearly labeled as such to distinguish them from news reports. Editorials, columns and analysis must be held to the same standards for accuracy, as would any news report.

Reporters or photographers should not allow conditions to be placed on their work. As a general rule, a source must be willing to talk to them free of conditions and with “no strings attached.”

Information shared off the record may not be disclosed to anyone outside The Crow’s Nest editorial staff, either in print (including any electronic means) or verbally. Information garnered or discussed in The Crow’s Nest office should not to be shared with anyone outside the editorial staff without explicit permission from the editor-in-chief.

The staff usually will not allow a source to see a story or draft prior to publication. Reporters and editors, however, are encouraged to contact sources to verify facts, such as in the case of articles dealing with scientific information.

Reporters will avoid conflicts of interest, both real and perceived. A reporter may not write a news or feature article on a person, event or organization with which the reporter has a prior relationship or association, good or bad. Reporters must inform editors in a timely manner if they have a personal conflict with an assigned story or subject. If necessary, the story will be reassigned.

The Crow’s Nest staff accepts tickets, press passes or other free items (CDs, books) only for actual use in news coverage or reviews. Press passes must not be given to family, friends or anyone not a member of The Crow’s Nest staff. A reporter or photographer must never independently solicit a press pass. Nor should staff members accept “freebies,” meals, gifts or transportation passes.

The Crow’s Nest staff must not plagiarize in any form:

In its most basic form, plagiarism is the copying of another’s work without proper citation or attribution. However, journalists may encounter many different scenarios that technically constitute plagiarism.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:

• Submitting sentences, headlines, ideas, cutlines, phrases or paragraphs or other work that is not your own within an article as though it is your own.

• Presenting a unique argument or line of thought as your own when it is not.

• Adding yourself as a “contributing editor” or “additional reporter” at the bottom of a story when you have not contributed to the story.

• Failing to cite from where any source, idea, phrase, line of thinking or verbatim excerpt came.

• Rewriting information or using quoted material from a press release without properly citing the press release.

• Presenting a photo that is not your own or with false pretenses as to the content of that photo.

• Presenting quoted or paraphrased material in a way that is misleading, distorted or takes the material out of context.

Any instances of plagiarism will result in appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Any member of The Crow’s Nest staff with questions regarding plagiarism or what constitutes plagiarism will direct their questions to the editor-in-chief, managing editor and/or advisor.

Standards of reporting that apply to published work also apply to online presentations, including but not limited to news and feature stories, columns, editorials, blogs, photographs and multimedia content.

Any outside publication wishing to obtain stories, designs and/or photographs previously published in The Crow’s Nest must obtain consent for republication from the editor-in-chief. Those given permission to reprint materials must do so with appropriate credit.

All photos taken by outside photographers other than staff photographers, contributing photographers and/or the photo editor, must have written permission or consent by the original photographer. No photos will be republished without said consent, as this is copyright infringement. It is not sufficient enough to attribute the photo to the original source. Signed photo releases will be kept on file for a year.

The Crow’s Nest will accept and publish, in print or online, letters to the editor at the discretion of the editor-in-chief. Letters to be published must meet general standards for accuracy of facts and must not contain language that is offensive or libelous in nature. Anonymous letters to the editor will not be accepted for publication.

The Crow’s Nest welcomes feedback from its audience and public critique in regard to all published material, print or web-based. Corrections will be printed or posted on the website as soon as possible. Corrections will be made and published for accuracy.

Contact Information: The Crow’s Nest office is located in room 2400 of the Student Life Center, University of South Florida St. Petersburg, 140 7th Avenue South, SLC, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

(559) 4CN-NEWS