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Zenger News Service Ethics and Principles


We present the truth in the clearest and most complete way we can. We do not fabricate anything in our news reporting, in photographs, video, or audio recordings. We do not use pseudonyms, composite characters, or fictional names, ages, places or dates in stories.


We do not misrepresent the words, views or actions of any person, agency or institution. We do not publish quotations out of context or ambush the subjects of stories immediately before publishing.


We do not republish the work of others without attribution. We use software to detect plagiarism. We employ a zero-tolerance policy and permanently separate ourselves from anyone who violates it.


We do not misrepresent ourselves in order to report stories. We clearly identify ourselves as journalists on assignment.


We do not use obscenities, racial epithets or other slurs that target people’s immutable personal characteristics—unless a story can’t be told without them and they are included in a direct quotation or visual. We do not identify victims of sexual assault unless they are adults who grant explicit permission. We do not identify minor children who are accused of committing crimes or are witnesses to them.


We do not pay sources for interviews, photographs or any other thing. We never accept anything of value from sources in exchange for publishing stories. We do not grant favorable treatment to advertisers. Our reporters and editors do not write about public companies in which we or members of our immediate families own shares of stock. If immediate family members engage in activity that would present conflicts of interest for journalists, we acknowledge it to editors—and, if appropriate, to the public.


We avoid engaging in political activity, including making political donations and expressing opinions about public issues online or in other public forums. We do not engage in lobbying, public relations, or paid advocacy. We do not perform work of any kind for government agencies, or for institutions we write about.


We do not publish deceptive photos or other visuals. Our photographs are not altered in any material way, including blurring or eliminating backgrounds; removing “red eye”; significantly altering density, contrast, color balance, or saturation levels; and hiding the faces of adults.

We may remove dust and scratches from digital images, crop photos, or turn color images into grayscale. We may blur or pixelate nudity if it is acknowledged in a caption.

We do not publish staged, posed, or re-enacted photos that illustrate news events. We may publish fashion photography, portraits, or other pre-arranged group photos if the images’ captions clearly explain the circumstances.


We do not edit footage in a way that results in audio or video that is deceptive or changes how a news event is factually documented. We publish audio only if it is a genuine news actuality or interview, without manipulation. We may improve the technical quality of audio and video, including by color-correcting for white balance, eliminating extraneous noises and unusually long pauses, adjusting audio levels and equalization, and fixing technical faults. We may edit our journalists’ voiceovers.


Our infographics and other created visuals acknowledge the sources of data we use.