Anyone contributing content to Backheeled must adhere to the specified Editorial Guidelines. At Backheeled, we consider editorial integrity to be fundamental for ensuring fairness and accuracy in our work. Failure to follow these guidelines may lead to disciplinary measures.
- Always identify yourself specifically as a representative of Backheeled
- Whenever feasible, make it a practice to take notes or record your conversations to ensure accuracy. This becomes crucial in cases where the subject challenges the authenticity of quotes post-publication. It is advisable to retain your notes for a minimum of two years.
- Subjects should be made aware that they’re being recorded. Recording yourself saying something along the lines of "I'm recording, is that ok?" to obtain verbal confirmation from the subject. A nod is not audible. Keep in mind that laws differ regarding the recording of conversations without the consent of all parties involved.
- Exercise caution when entering into agreements with interview subjects regarding the conduct of the interview. Disclose any special circumstances or agreements to the reader. It's important to note that we prohibit subjects or sources from previewing the story before publication or making any changes to it.
- Exercise caution in your electronic communication, as these messages can be easily forwarded or hacked, potentially becoming public. Anticipate that the contents may be disclosed at some point. For especially sensitive information, employ a secure app in your correspondence.
- Reporters are required to adhere to all laws that are generally applicable. They are strictly prohibited from engaging in activities such as trespassing, subject harassment, property destruction, or any other illegal behavior in the pursuit of a story.
Sourcing of Information
- Utilizing anonymous sources is often essential for information gathering. When someone requests anonymity, the reporter should understand the reasons as to why. When possible, the reporter and editor should deliberate on any assurance of anonymity before it's granted or at the outset of reporting on a story that might entail such a commitment. Anonymous sourcing should be used sparingly, primarily when crucial information is at stake. Descriptions of anonymous sources should be as specific as possible without breaching the agreed-upon terms of anonymity.
- Our reporters are obligated to reveal the identity of any anonymous source to their editor and engage in a discussion regarding the inclusion of their quotes. Stories involving anonymous sourcing are under heightened scrutiny. Considerations include the source's basis for possessing the information — whether firsthand or secondhand. Evaluate the source's motivation for sharing the information and assess the potential for error. Additionally, explore avenues for corroborating the information, preferably through multiple sources.
- When evaluating information from other organizations, it's crucial to consider whether the facts were derived from anonymous sources and assess their reliability accordingly. We do not take such information at face value. Any information from external sources must undergo verification through our own reporting before publication, unless our editors ascertain the reliability of the organization and writer breaking the news.
- In certain situations, it is permissible to rely on a single source with firsthand knowledge and a proven track record of reliability. However, relying on two sources providing secondhand information is deemed unacceptable.
- Know the difference between the terms "off the record," "not for attribution," and "for background" and exercise discretion in their application. Below are the most frequently used definitions:
- Off the record: The information provided is not for publication. However, the information you are provided with can be used without attribution to verify its veracity with another source. When accepting "off the record" information, it is a good idea to tell your source that you may report it (without attribution to your source) if obtained elsewhere.
- Not for attribution: The comments may be quoted directly, and the source may only be identified in general terms. This is the equivalent of a promise of anonymity, and is subject to all of the same conditions.
- For background: the information provided by a source cannot be quoted directly, and the source cannot be named directly. Here too, your source should be told that the information may ultimately be reported if obtained elsewhere.
We do not have an agenda. We should avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.
Our writers cannot accept travel, accommodations, gifts, or money if there's any indication that it aims to influence their work. Acceptance of gifts with a nominal value — $25 or less — is permissible, provided there is no expectation of a quid pro quo arrangement.
Payment of Source
We do not pay sources for their information.
Backheeled requires that notes and recordings of conversations be preserved for a reasonable period of time.
Journalists are not to surrender their newsgathering materials unless legally obligated. Under no circumstances may a staff member provide notes, interviews, documents, or other work-related materials to any third party, including agents, producers, studios, or external production agencies, without explicit approval from Backheeled or unless compelled to do so by legal requirements.
When writing a story that criticizes individuals, companies, or organizations, it is imperative to give the concerned party an opportunity to respond to any charges or allegations. This includes providing them with the chance to review pertinent records if applicable.
- When incorporating information originally published by sources outside to Backheeled, make that clear and link directly to that source when appropriate.
- When using information sourced from Backheeled, link to the original story.
- Giving credit to the original source does not permit unconsented use of copyrighted content.
- Plagiarism: This is taking someone else's protected expression and not even attributing. It is not allowed.
- If grievous errors or offensive content appear in our stories, we need to fix the situation quickly while also adding an editor's note at the top of the article to acknowledge the changes.
- If errors that impact the relevancy of a piece appear in our stories we need to fix the situation quickly while also adding a note at the top of the article to acknowledge the changes.
- If typos or relatively inconsequential errors that do not materially change the meaning of a story appear in a published article we need to fix the situation quickly.
Maintain a professional demeanor in the execution of your duties, including and especially in settings like the press box, locker room, or other official team or league facilities. Consumption of alcohol or drug use is strictly prohibited during events you are covering. Furthermore, extend this professional conduct to your use of social media.