Code of Ethics
Computing, the media brand of The Channel Company, is the No. 1 trusted source for end-user IT news, analysis and insight. In our effort to earn and keep that trust, the guidelines below, adapted from the American Society of Business Press Editors' Guide to Best Practices in B2B Journalist Ethics, The Society of Professional Journalists Code Of Ethics, and The Poynter Institute Codes of Ethics and Conduct, outline the standards we follow as a journalistic outlet.
The editors of Computing, whether working online or in print, strive to maintain editorial excellence and the trust of the end-user IT community through dedication to the core journalistic principles of accuracy, fairness and balance, and business practices that clearly separate editorial from the sales portion of our company.
- Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work, verify information before releasing it and use original sources whenever possible.
- Identify sources clearly.
- Use on-the-record sources wherever possible. We reserve anonymity only for trusted sources who may face retribution or other harm and have information that is pertinent to the news value of the story.
- Contact subjects of news stories ahead of publication to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.
- Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to our readership.
- Do not deliberately distort facts or context.
- Do not plagiarise, and always attribute their sources.
We strive to ensure that what we publish is accurate and true to the facts. We also aim to be inclusive in our coverage so that we reflect a wide range of perspectives and experiences. We maintain high standards of reporting, writing and editing to produce work that is as error-free as possible. When we do make mistakes, we acknowledge and correct factual errors as quickly as possible.
Fairness and Balance
We strive to be fair and balanced in what we publish and in the ways in which we interact with subjects and consumers of our coverage. We do our best to acknowledge relevant points of view and represent them in an even-handed way. We reach out to the subjects we cover for comment. We provide accessible ways to challenge us (a phone call or email to the author of the story is the preferred starting point), and we respond promptly.
The Computing editorial staff makes final editorial decisions. In all ways, our editorial coverage is based primarily on reader needs in the view of our editors.
I. Conflicts of Interest
A. Contacts with advertisers and advertising sales staff
Computing editors do not solicit advertising. If they do accompany The Channel Company ad sales personnel on calls or meetings, it is done with the understanding that the meeting will not result in preferential editorial treatment. Wherever possible, meetings that include sales personnel and editorial staff from The Channel Company are separated into ‘editorial' and ‘business' segments. Sales personnel do not participate in editorial segments and vice versa.
Editors may refer potential advertisers to ad sales staff and consult with ad sales staff on story ideas. Conversely, ad sales staff may provide editorial contact information to advertisers. In no case will a non-editorial employee of The Channel Company guarantee editorial coverage of an advertiser's products or services. All final decisions about editorial content rest with the editorial staff, while final decisions about advertising sales rest with advertising sales staff.
If advertisers recommend story ideas or leads, editors will make an independent judgment about possible usage based on analysis of reader needs.
B. Treatment of advertisers, public relations personnel and sources
Favourable editorial coverage or preferential treatment in an article never hinges on the prospect of ad sales, financial gain or other factors that are not related to editorial integrity.
Computing does not allow non-editorial personnel, public relations representatives or sources to preview an unpublished article. Exceptions - allowed to ensure the technical accuracy of material - include previews for experts, editorial advisory board members or other sources who will receive no benefit from the article. However, when a source or a company is referred to in an article in which they participated, it is acceptable for the editor, solely at the editor's discretion, to review direct quotes with the source of those quotes or that source's representative for accuracy and clarity.
Computing does not trade advertising for editorial or editorial for advertising.
Public relations personnel may be asked to help arrange contacts with key sources. When an article idea originates in a public relations department, editors will seek more details from this and other sources.
When additional interviews are needed, public relations practitioners may help make appointments and advise editors on appropriate personnel with whom to speak. To avoid undue influence on the interview subject, however, editors discourage participation of public relations personnel in the actual interview. We do not allow public relations personnel to attend interviews with sources they do not represent (i.e., a technology vendor's public relations representative may not participate in an interview between Computing and a customer of that technology vendor).
C. Gifts to editors
Our editors do not seek or accept gifts of significant value from editorial information sources, advertisers or prospective advertisers, public relations personnel, or agents acting on behalf of these parties.
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 journalists at a large number of editorial outlets are generally acceptable.
Money or lavish gifts are not acceptable.
The Channel Company or a Computing editor pays for transportation, lodging, entertainment and personal expenses incurred in connection with editorial coverage whenever possible, with the following exceptions:
Junkets: In the case of group press affairs attended by editors from more than one publication we may, at our discretion, accept reimbursement of travel expenses if the offer to pay expenses is extended by the source to all editorial participants.
Speaking engagements: Editors may, at our discretion, accept reimbursement of travel expenses for speaking engagements that are sanctioned by The Channel Company and are a direct part of the editor's job.
E. Outside activities of editorial staff
The lives of editors outside the workplace can also reflect on their professional lives and on Computing. Here are several areas where we take care to avoid conflicts of interest, or the appearance of conflicts:
Other employment: Editors do not write, work, consult for or otherwise contribute to any venture owned by or affiliated with advertisers, potential advertisers or sources, except as permitted by established and authorised business relationships. Any freelance work must be pre-approved by The Channel Company. Editors shall not hold other non-journalism positions that could represent a conflict of interest with an editorial position.
Investing: Editors do not invest in, or hold stock of, any company that they will cover or be likely to cover, with the exception of investments held in a mutual fund or a pension plan, or in similar plans that benefit the editor and other group members, and over which the editor does not control sales of individual stocks or other financial functions by which they might gain personally.
Political, community and business activities: Editors are free to participate in civic, political, business or religious activities that do not present a conflict with coverage or do not lead to a compromise of trust or respect for Computing or The Channel Company.
II. Standards for editorial operations
A. Anonymous sources
Computing editors wherever possible utilise on-the-record, identified sources, except in cases where it is necessary to protect a source from the repercussions of speaking to the editor. If cited anonymously, we use the most complete and accurate description of the source possible without compromising the identity of the source.
When anonymous sources are used, senior editors may request the identity of such sources if that is deemed necessary to ensure the journalistic integrity of the piece. We do not share the identity of anonymous sources outside the editorial team.
B. Feedback mechanisms
Computing editors are accessible to the end-user IT community through a variety of ways, including telephone, email and social media. Contacts for editors may be found by clicking on their by-lines in stories or via their individual Author page on Computing.co.uk.
Corrections, clarifications and retractions will be made online and/or printed in the next available issue.
C. Hypertext Links
Hypertext links used in editorial content are placed at the discretion and approval of editors.
Computing does not sell contextual links within editorial content.
III. Special advertising sections and supplements
Computing separates advertising from editorial content. Special ad sections, supplements and paid content are labelled as ‘advertising,' ‘advertisement,' ‘sponsored by,' ‘sponsored content,' or a similar designation.
Senior-level editors may work with sales personnel to ensure no conflict exists between the advertiser-sponsored content and editorial content. Editors may suggest topics to the sales staff but will not communicate directly with the sponsor.
Computing editors do not write special advertising sections or supplements.
IV. Conferences and trade shows
Computing editors attend and cover conferences, trade shows and other events hosted by The Channel Company and sponsored by advertisers.
A. Editorial duties
At Channel Company-hosted conferences and trade shows, Computing's primary duty is to collect news, learn about industry trends, attend press conferences and programme sessions, create articles and other content, and meet with editorial sources. We take caution not to give preferential editorial coverage to advertisers and sponsors.