Code of Ethics and Editorial Guidelines

90.5 WESA Mission Statement

Our mission is to work for the public to inform people in ways that engage and inspire them to create dialog about community issues and stories.

90.5 WESA Code of Ethics

Essential Public Media, Inc. (90.5 WESA) has a deep commitment to truth, fairness, independence, objectivity and accuracy in all of its programming.  This Code of Ethics has been assembled to establish guidelines for upholding those standards by all staff, independent journalists, student fellows and broadcasters at 90.5 WESA.  It draws upon the Code of Ethics from other news organizations, including NPR, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, and the Editorial Integrity for Public Media project.

Conflict of Interest

90.5 WESA must uphold the trust of the public by not overlapping individual interest with professional responsibilities.  90.5 WESA staff members must immediately disclose potential conflicts to their supervisor. 

90.5 WESA journalists may not accept any form of compensation from the individuals, institutions or organizations they cover.  90.5 WESA will pay for travel expenses of staff when covering a story.

Journalists covering a story must pay for their meals whenever possible, unless provided at conferences, conventions, where it is done out of ease for the entire press corps.

90.5 WESA may only accept complimentary passes to events if attendance will provide material or background for reviews, stories, or future programs or lead to a more substantial understanding of a particular topic, beat or organization.  90.5 WESA journalists are never obligated to complete any story on any organizations providing invitations or passes to events.  To avoid perceived conflicts, 90.5 WESA journalists will, whenever possible, exercise enterprise to contact possible sources, finding sources independent of events and special interests.

90.5 WESA journalists may not sign political petitions.

Personal bias has no place in our reporting.  Commentary and opinion must be clearly labeled as such. 90.5 WESA journalists may provide objective analysis, but must refrain from sharing their opinions on news stories in any venue or forum.

Funding

90.5 WESA receives funding from multiple sources to assist in the fulfillment of its mission to provide coverage that is truthful, fair and independent.  To that end, 90.5 WESA will maintain a clear firewall between journalists and funders.  Editorial decision-making with funders or their representatives is strictly forbidden.

We acknowledge in the course of reporting, 90.5 WESA journalists may come across an organization or major donor that funds the station.  To the best of our ability, we will identify the relationship on air.  Programming and news content will never be affected by organizations affiliated with 90.5 WESA.

Special series developed in partnership with 90.5 WESA and an outside organization must be clearly identified on air.  In every case, 90.5 WESA maintains editorial autonomy for decisions related to story selection, program guests and overall content.  Funding credits are a service provided to organizations supporting 90.5 WESA.  Sponsorship will not be used in any way to determine, restrict, or manipulate content on 90.5 WESA. 

90.5 WESA will not air funding announcements that contain any advocacy language for any cause, group or individual.  90.5 WESA reserves the right to refuse any request for underwriting that would violate an FCC rule or policy, violate station policies or adversely affect the reputation or financial condition of the station. No announcements will be aired on behalf of political organizations, political candidates or their committees, or that express a view on issues of public importance or interest or religious belief. 90.5 WESA will consider each request on a case-by-case basis. Learn about our copy guidelines and the nuances of underwriting with Underwriting 101.

90.5 WESA journalists do not pay for information from sources or interviews with newsmakers. 90.5 WESA journalists and programming staff may not contribute financially or through volunteering to any political cause or organization whose purpose is political.  It is the responsibility of the staff to be aware of the organization’s intent, and to take appropriate action.

90.5 WESA Editorial Guidelines

•  A pursuit of the truth through accurate reporting that is informed by a disciplined methodology for verifying the facts.

•  A spirit of transparency that respects the audience and shares with it how the news was gathered and reported.

•  A dedication to coverage that reflects the fullness and richness of the community and strives to be comprehensive while keeping the news in proportion.

•  A commitment to empower the audience so that people will be able to know what to believe and trust, make sense of issues for themselves, find other sources of information, and share ideas with others in the community.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our General Manager, DeAnne Hamilton at 412-697-2952 or our Director of Content & Programming, Tammy Terwelp at 412-697-2944.