University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent from management

The University Post's Ethical Code of Conduct

The University Post will be sober, nonpartisan, critically analytical, independent of any interest groups and adhere to the Media Liability Act and advisory rules of sound press ethics.

What this means in practice can be a source of disagreement in the day-to-day work, so the purpose of this code of conduct is to tackle any points of doubt and define, clearly, what is meant by fair and professional conduct.

The code of conduct applies to the University Post’s editor, student assistant staff and freelance reporters.

Complaints

The University Post encourages sources who feel they have been treated unfairly by a member of its staff to send that person a complaint. If the issue is not resolved amicably it can be brought before our supervisory board, the <em>Bladudvalget</em>.

Complaints to Bladudvalget should be send to its chairman Bjørn Quistorff, on bqui@sund.ku.dk.

The printed magazine, uniavisen.dk and universitypost.dk are all registered with the Press Council in accordance with the Media Liability Act § 8, so complaints can also be send to the Press Council.

Journalism

The content of header, captions, and the body of the text of all articles, both in print and online, should be objective, and the distinction between quotes and facts must be clear to the reader.

It must be clear whether an article calls for objectivity and fairness, or whether it is an opinion piece or a review, which allows the journalist to convey subjective opinion and personal observations.

The University Post is for all staff and students at the University of Copenhagen no matter what their political and religious affiliation or sexual preference. Journalists must therefore not let personal prejudice, sympathy or antipathy get in the way of objectivity concerning any given subject.

Quotes must reproduce correctly what the source said, and make the beliefs of the source clear. Rewriting quotes is allowed if they are otherwise too difficult to read, but this must be done with respect for the source’s opinions, and with their permission unless it concerns corrections that are purely of a grammatical nature.

The media should special consideration to people who cannot be expected to foresee the consequences of their statements, for example because of their youth, age or limited experience with speaking to the media.

Sources’ rights

Journalists have a duty to inform sources of how their quotes or personal information will be used.

Sources who request to see and pre-approve their own quotes may be allowed to do so.

In cases where the content of an article is expected to be controversial, or if there are other reasons to take extra care, the journalist can, but must not, submit the completed article to be looked over as per request.

It is the journalist’s responsibility to have a clear agreement with sources on what can and what cannot be corrected.

As a general rule, sources can correct their own quotes, though this should be done in collaboration with the journalist so that readability and overall meaning isn’t lost. Factual error also has to be corrected if the source can demonstrate that what has been written is, in all likelihood, wrong or incorrect.

The source does not, however, have any influence on the header, subheader, body and citations from other sources or the overall angle.

According to the ethical code, information that can harm, violate or damage the reputation of anyone will be carefully considered before it is published, first and foremost by submitting it to the person whom it concerns.

It should be submitted in a manner that allows the person in question a reasonable amount of time to ensure that it is isn’t published frivolously.

In practise, this means that the journalist should do all they can to get a statement from all parties concerned, when possible, in any given case.

What is considered ‘reasonable time’ is determined on an individual basis, but complicated cases that the journalist spends a long time researching will, as a general rule, mean more time.

The journalist must always inform the criticised party of the reply deadline.

It must be clearly stated in the article if a comment could not be gotten from the criticised party and why.

Accusations and answers should, within reason, be connected and presented in the same way. This is particularly important with demeaning or damaging statements.

The criticised party’s reply cannot, in other words, be put at the end of the article, but should be clear from the beginning of the article and/or in the subheader.

Anonymous sources

The University Post does not use anonymous sources.

It can, however, in rare cases, be necessary to cite a source anonymously. The general rule in this case is that the story needs to have a significant public interest, and that it was impossible to procure the statements or documentation through normal journalistic methods.

The University Post never pays for information or for interviews.

Gifts and the role of journalist

Companies, interest groups or political organisations may not buy positive editorial mention in the University Post in exchange for buying banner ad space, donating gifts or other financial contributions.

The editor can give a journalist permission to take part in a sponsored field trip, granted that the trip’s purpose and program is relevant, and that journalistic freedom is guaranteed.

Furthermore, staff can only receive contributions that are necessary to complete their given tasks. This includes review copies of books necessary to write an article, or refreshments at press meetings, conferences etc.

Members of the editorial must refuse gifts other than small advertising articles and writing paraphernalia etc. Seasonal, jubilee and birthday gifts from the University Post’s partners are exempted.

Staff must stay clear of any disposition, including private-financial, that can generate suspicion about whether or not the journalist is independent and objective in their coverage of any given case.

The University Post respects its staff’s constitutionally ensured rights to be members of a political party or other organisations, but to run for or be elected for a position of trust can mean that the journalist cannot cover certain journalistic subjects for a period of time, if the editor assesses that the two roles are incompatible.

This also applies to student journalists. For example a journalist who is a member of the students’ organisation, and who runs for an elected position at the university, cannot at the same time write a journalistic article about the elections at the University of Copenhagen. They are, however, free to submit opinion pieces.

Respecting privacy

The University Post does not publish information that violates people’s privacy unless it is clearly in the public interest.

Suicide, suicide attempts and other personal misfortune, for example, will not be mentioned unless it is in public interest. In that case, any mention of it will be as gentle as possible.

As a general rule names and other personal details of suspects, accused parties or defendants will not be published.

Use of images

The University Post strives to publish photographs and illustrations that aesthetically and justifiably suit its articles. News articles are generally always illustrated with images that suit the content.

The University Post does not publish images that can be assumed to shock readers or generally offend without significant journalistic reasons. The editor determines whether or not to publish images with violent content.

If an image is changed in any way this must be made clear in the caption. Also if it is an archive photo.

The University Post photographs people in public places without asking for individual permission, but in the case of close-ups people have an option to opt out.

If a person if in a ‘non-public place’ permission is required to take the picture.

Online debate and archives

The debate section of universitypost.dk is in most cases unedited.

Removal of content

Articles in universitypost.dk’s archives can be edited or removed if they contain sensitive or private information, and if it is deemed reasonable to do so.

Corrections

Corrections of significant factual errors in articles on universitypost.dk and uniavisen.dk must be publicised at the foot of the article, clearly stating what has been corrected and when.

Any questions to this ethical code of conduct? Write to Editor of University Post, Mike Young on miy@adm.ku.dk.

universitypost@adm.ku.dk

Seneste