Code of Ethics

DeSmog Canada requires its journalists to be engaged in the world they’re reporting on. Like De Correspondent, the largest crowd-funded news outlet in the world, we reject conventional journalism’s ideal of objectivity. Our journalists are fair and independent and operate according to the highest journalistic standards, yet they’re also explicitly subjective.

Our mission is to make complex energy and environment news accessible to Canadians and to shine a light on critical, under-reported stories. We do not ascribe to the “he says/she says” model of journalism. Our reporters use their best judgement and the available facts to evaluate which side of a story is most credible.

In doing this work, we adhere to a set of professional journalistic principles to ensure fairness, independence and accuracy in our work.          

Independence

  • We serve the public interest, and put the needs of our readers at the forefront of our newsgathering decisions. This sometimes conflicts with various public and private interests.

  • We do not show our completed reports to sources before they are published or broadcast, unless the practice is intended to verify facts. Doing so might invite prior restraint and challenge our independence as reporters.

  • We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support. Our organization may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content. Read our editorial independence policy.

Accuracy

  • When we make a mistake, whether in fact or in context, we correct it promptly and in a transparent manner, acknowledging the nature of the error.

Fairness

  • We give people, companies or organizations that are publicly accused or criticized opportunity to respond before we publish those criticisms or accusations. We make a genuine and reasonable effort to contact them, and if they decline to comment, we say so.

Conflict of interest

  • We carefully consider our political activities and community involvements. If a journalist does choose to engage in outside political activity or espouse a particular political viewpoint, we publicly declare any real or potential conflicts.

  • Personal online activity, including emails and social networking, should generally be regarded as public and not private. Such activity can impact our professional credibility. As such, we think carefully before we post, and we take special caution in declaring our political leanings online, particularly if there is a chance we will be covering the campaign, activity or group involved.

Transparency

  • We normally identify sources of information. But we may use unnamed sources when there is a clear and pressing reason to protect anonymity, the material gained from the confidential source is of strong public interest, and there is no other reasonable way to obtain the information. When this happens, we explain the need for anonymity and we independently corroborate facts if we get them from a source we do not name.

We rely on our readers to hold us to these standards, so please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.