Editorial Guidelines

PR Embargoes

  • all embargoes are subject to the editorial director's approval
  • any material provided in absence of an embargo agreement may be used for publication

News Gathering and Reporting

  • test the accuracy of information from all sources
  • obtain information for editorial purposes directly
  • give the subjects of articles an opportunity to respond
  • identify as much information as possible about sources
  • seek both official and unofficial voices
  • keep promises about anonymity, but understand the motive for its request
  • make certain that information in captions, headlines and promotional material does not misrepresent
  • avoid undercover or surreptitious methods of information gathering, except when traditional, open methods do not yield vital information
  • tell important stories even when they are unpopular
  • avoid stereotyping
  • label commentary or analysis as such, to distinguish between advocacy and news reporting
  • clarify and explain news coverage, and invite dialogue with readers about editorial content
  • admit mistakes and correct them promptly

External Relationships

  • distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two
  • disclose unavoidable conflicts
  • allow editorial decisions to be made only by editorial staff
  • weigh sales personnel input with a view to overall fairness, but do not allow it to overly persuade or override editors (sales personnel should understand and support this directive)
  • under no circumstances should advertising space be solicited by an editor
  • editors are charged with explaining only editorial policies
  • complaints on editorial matters should be handled only by editorial staff
  • investors, advertisers and potential investors or advertisers are not entitled to preferred treatment in editorial coverage
  • the preview of material prior to publication should occur only with the editorial director's approval
  • editors should not write, edit, design or otherwise create any content for advertisements or advertising sections
  • a clear-cut delineation between advertising and editorial matters should be maintained at all times
  • sections controlled by advertising departments should be distinctly different from news sections in typeface, layout and design
  • editors should avoid investments, trading or other short-term profit-seeking opportunities
  • editors should not undertake any outside employment or enter into any paid or unpaid association with advertisers, editorial information sources or readers that in any way could result in conflict of interest


  • editors should not accept gifts from sources, customers or advertisers
  • general guideline: if you can't consume it in an hour, a gift should be refused
  • modest, souvenir-type gifts commonly given to press affair attendees are generally acceptable
  • modest gifts sent to a large number of people are generally acceptable
  • money or lavish gifts are not acceptable
  • sample products may be accepted if they assist in the journalist's understanding of the product or article subject, but should be returned or donated

Travel Expenses

  • generally, editors should not accept payment of travel expenses incurred in the course of performing editorial duties from any source other than his or her employer
  • exceptions are allowed for group press affairs attended by editors from more than one publication, all of whom are offered coverage of travel expenses, or for travel to fill a speaking engagement at an association or company affair

These guidelines for The BTN Group editors are modeled after those published by the American Society of Business Press Editors, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and the Society of Professional Journalists.