Statement of Principles

The following manifesto appears in the Malheur Enterprise, the Vale-based weekly newspaper that has served Southeastern Oregon since 1909. The statement is reproduced here with the permission of its author, Les Zaitz, editor and publisher of the Enterprise and one of Oregon’s most highly respected journalists.  His high standards match those of

We want to be open and clear with readers about the standards that guide our work every day. We strive to meet every one of these. We never intentionally disregard these principles. When we fail, bad information, speed, or inadequate experience is to blame.

 ACCURACY – We strive to be certain that every fact – every number, every date, every name, every quote – is true. We will never knowingly publish false or inaccurate information. We will honestly and quickly correct any factual error.

CLARITY — We want our reporting to be understandable, free of jargon and vagueness. You can expect us to gather the necessary information and develop sufficient expertise to produce stories clear about issues, agencies, and people.

 FAIRNESS — Our stories will honestly represent views and issues, never mischaracterizing or distorting facts and developments. We want those we write about to feel they were fairly treated.

 FACT-CHECKING — We follow our own customized fact-checking protocol to guard against error. That includes a requirement to reach out to subjects of stories as possible to verify the accuracy of our intended reporting.

 BIAS — We know full well that readers now come to news reports suspicious that they might encounter a deliberate tilt by the news organization. Our intent is that you never detect a political, economic, or social bent in the stories we serve to you.

 FACTS OVER FANCY — Our primary job is to gather the news. We devote every dollar we can to reporting. That means we don’t divert time and money into making our stories glitzy or stunning in design. We are certain you would prefer accurate news over flashy presentations.

 PROFESSIONALISM — We can get better, and we will. We will always – always – work to sharpen our journalistic skills. We will become better interviewers, data analysts, and writers. Our professionals are intent on getting as good as they can, not for awards but to better serve your needs.

 CITIZENSHIP — We don’t consider ourselves distant observers. We take pride in the community – its people, institutions, and traditions. We engage in issues that matter. We identify problems, but we will always seek solutions as well. Like you, we want our community to improve, to be welcoming and safe, to be economically vibrant.

 WITHOUT FEAR — Our reporting can and will put us at odds with people who hold power or those who can and do abuse the public in some fashion. We will pursue difficult stories because they are important. We will not be scared off of or intimidated from doing any necessary story – ever.

 WITHOUT FAVOR — We owe allegiance only to you, our reader. We are beholden only to the truth.

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