Standards and Policies

The standards and policies enumerated below are not all-encompassing, but do cover foundational best practices and some of the more common issues and concerns that might arise in connection with journalistic publishing.

These standards and policies are subject to change as technology and relevant legal requirements evolve over time. As such, the information contained herein amounts to a “living document” and is subject to change.

 

Ethical and Professional Rules and Standards

First and foremost, Kokopelli is committed to truth, accuracy and fairness in reporting. To that end, all of our staff members must adhere to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics and the National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics. These codes lay out a foundational framework of professional ethics that we believe all working journalists should follow. 

The four fundamental tenets of the SPJ Code of Ethics are as follows:

  • Seek truth and report it
  • Minimize harm
  • Act independently
  • Be accountable and transparent

Additionally, Kokopelli staff members and NMSU faculty advisers follow and teach all applicable industry best practices as outlined in the Associated Press Statement of News Values and Principles. 

Chief among these values are honesty, balance and impartiality. Moreover, in keeping with AP best practices, Kokopelli reporters and editors strive to avoid inaccuracies, carelessness, bias and distortion, and strive to identify all sources of information. 

In some instances, we may use information provided by anonymous sources, but only when we are confident these sources are reliable and in a position to know, and only when sources insist upon anonymity for verifiably valid reasons.  

Additionally, we pledge to uphold the following rules and standards as outlined in the AP Statement of News Values and Principles:

  • Nothing in our news content – words, photos, graphics, sound or video – may be fabricated or staged. 
  • We will not knowingly introduce rumor, gossip or false information into published material.
  • We do not plagiarize, and strive to follow all relevant copyright laws. 
  • We avoid behavior or activities that create a conflict of interest or otherwise compromise our ability to report the news fairly and accurately, uninfluenced by any person, action or group. 
  • We don’t misidentify or misrepresent ourselves to get a story.
  • We don’t pay newsmakers for interviews or to make photographs of them. 
  • We do not alter quotations, even to correct grammatical errors or word usage, and we are careful not to take quotations out of context. If a quotation is flawed because of grammar or lack of clarity, it may be paraphrased in a way that is completely true to the original quote and must include proper attribution. 
  • We provide source attributions for any information that could reasonably be disputed.
  • If we quote someone from a written document — a report, email or news release — we should say so.
  • We always label opinion pieces, commentary and reviews accordingly to ensure this type of content is not mistaken for straight news reporting. The expression of opinion is protected speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but we strive to maintain clear and complete separation between opinion and news content. 

 

Corrections Policy

Kokopelli staff members will make every effort to correct mistakes quickly, fully, transparently and ungrudgingly. Owning up to mistakes is part of our ethical duty to “be accountable and transparent.”

If we correct an article, headline, photo caption or other published content, we will include a notice in bold-face type at either the top or bottom of the article that explains the change. These corrections are typically the result of misspellings, incorrect dates and other minor inaccuracies. 

If a correction calls into question the entire substance of an article or raises a significant ethical issue, either the editor or publisher will include in bold-face type a detailed explanation of what is at issue. Such a notice should generally appear at the top of the article. 

In some cases, we may also make minor changes to entirely accurate and factual content for the sole purpose of improving clarity or adding detail. A notice of such changes should generally be included at the bottom of the article, but is not absolutely required in every instance.

 

Takedown Policy

All content on this site is intended to provide a historical record of newsworthy issues, events and comments. As such, we generally do not grant takedown requests.

Takedown requests are requests to take down or unpublish previously published content. If the complainant claims that the content in question is inaccurate, Kokopelli staff and advisers will investigate the validity of the request and publish a correction, if necessary.

Situations may arise in which fairness demands an update or follow-up coverage. For example, if Kokopelli reported that a person was charged with a crime but did not report that the charges were later dropped for lack of evidence, a clarifying update would be warranted. 

Kokopelli will honor a takedown request if the person involved is under proven threat of physical harm because of the existence of the published material.

In summary, Kokopelli staff members will carefully consider whether content corrections and/or updates are warranted, but as a general rule we will not remove previously published content unless failing to do so would put the complainant’s personal safety at risk. 

 

Last updated July 2022.