The Brag Media Editorial Code was created to preserve our values and integrity. It offers transparency for our readers and serves as a reference of The Brag Media’s values and responsibilities for our employees, contractors, management, and clients.The Editorial Code is more a True North than a list of rules. It serves as a reminder of the business’ principles and can be called upon when met with tough judgement calls as an individual or company as a whole.
Code of Ethics and Balanced Reporting
Journalists at The Brag Media commit to following the code of ethics below;
- Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis.
- Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply.
- Do not place unnecessary emphasis on personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, family relationships, religious belief, or physical or intellectual disability.
- Aim to attribute information to its source. Where a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering the source’s motives and any alternative attributable source. Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances.
- Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.
- Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism. Do not improperly use a journalistic position for personal gain.
- Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice.
- Present pictures and sound which are true and accurate. Any manipulation likely to mislead should be disclosed.
- Do not plagiarise.
- Do your utmost to achieve fair correction of errors.
We Are Not The Morality Police
When it comes to our reporting approach for The Brag Media, we are not out to cancel anyone, we do not think we are the judge and jury of the world.
It is the brand of many other publications or high profile personalities to call people out, act self-righteous and to be the one to decide who is and isn’t worthy of a public career. We are not that, we are different. We are balanced and report on facts.
Our approach is best summed up by Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone (USA) when talking about the media’s reporting on Donald Trump:
“All you get is ‘Trump is a shit head’ on one side, and ‘Trump is a hero’ on the other side and that’s not the news… After each story you report, you are supposed to wipe your memory clean and start over. Just because someone was bad the last time you covered them, doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to be the bad guy this time you cover them. You have to constantly assess your assumptions.”
So in addition to the code of ethics, if our journalists have an honest negative opinion about a person, company or topic, we will only include it in the article if we can reference where this opinion has been proven correct or is supported by fact.
Rectifying Mistakes in Content
Mistakes happen, especially in the fast-paced news cycle of digital reporting. However, The Brag Media has policies around ensuring that when mistakes are made, they are rectified and quickly as possible.
These corrections are made in the form of:
- Updated articles, either at the top of the piece of at the bottom, making it very clear what has been updated and why
- Updates to an article within the piece or via a new article, as new information comes to light
Complaints and corrections can be made to [email protected].
Division Between Business and Editorial
While The Brag Media is funded by commercial partnerships and advertiser-funded business models, our initial allegiance is to our readers and the general public interest. Therefore, despite our commercial models, we would never prevent a story that is of public interest and that we know will resonate with our readers, from being published.
Our branded content ties in seamlessly with the rest of the content across The Brag Media’s publications. This is because it is largely created by the same content creators. The Brag Media does not have native content writers and non-native content writers, our core editorial team often contributes to brand-funded content.
Junkets, conflicts of interest and freebies
It should go without saying that The Brag Media staff and its contractors do not use their alliance with the company to obtain goods and services for free. However, being gifted goods and services, or using their positions for the purpose of product reviews or criticism-style content is okay.
Brands should understand that sending staff or the company products or services does not warrant or guarantee coverage. In fact, staff have been instructed not to guarantee content based around free goods and services unless it has been discussed previously with the Managing Editor. Should a conflict of interest arise and a content piece has been approved by The Brag Media, that conflict of interest should be noted within the content.
Our Duty To Freelance Contractors
The Brag Media will always be transparent and straightforward with our local and international freelancers regrading feedback and payment rates. This means they will know where they stand regarding the fees we offer freelancers, and we will always strive to pay our freelancers promptly, and in most cases instantly via OutVoice payment technology.
Australian Media Laws
It is the responsibility of The Brag Media, its staff and the writers it contracts, to maintain informed of Australian media laws and updates to those laws, including but not limited to defamation, contempt of court and copyright.
Giving Credit Where Credit’s Due
At The Brag Media, we believe in giving credit where credit’s due. If we’re not the first publication to break a story, we must attribute and back link to the publication that did so. This also applies to attributing sources, information, and quotes. If it wasn’t sourced by us, we must correctly attribute and back link. Our writers are also encouraged to attribute the writer as well as the publication where possible.
Reporting In The Public Interest
The Brag Media and its writers can use the company’s lawyer when determining whether to investigate or publish a story where contentious factors are involved. We aim to strike the right balance between public interest and the likeliness of the story to cause damage to the story’s subjects. In cases where Australia’s defamation laws are a factor, writers seek the counsel of The Brag Media’s lawyer and follow their advice accordingly, in collaboration with the Managing Editor.
Safety and Due Diligence When Reporting on Serious Issues
Issues and incidents related to suicide, violence, substance abuse and mental health are often covered across The Brag Media titles. When covering these serious issues, it is our responsibility to ensure a correct content warning or trigger warning is included at the top of the article and in the social media post, and that relevant resources are included at the bottom of the article.
Gaining Confirmation to Verify Information
When possible, The Brag Media goes to the correct lengths in an effort to verify a story, statement, or source. We trust that other publications have gained their information in a professional manner that exercises creativity, but we should show integrity ourselves by confirming the information on our end, and adding in extra information where possible. This is often done by reaching out directly to the source and conducting an interview, as well as conducting further research to add to the piece.
If a decision has been made to protect a source, due to the safety of that source – either in relation to their employer or a genuine fear of physical harm – writers must outline the reason to keep a source anonymous or the choice to use a pseudonym. Internally this choice is to be made by the Managing Editor.
In cases not relating to the aforementioned however, we aim to name our sources as we believe it gives more credibility to our work and shows journalistic integrity.
The Right of Reply
As per the MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics, writers will do the utmost to offer a right of reply to relevant parties in an article. If an official response has not been received at time of publication, the article should reflect that the opportunity to respond was given.
According to Article 3 of the MEAA Code of Ethics, journalists must “… aim to attribute information to its source. Where a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering the source’s motives and any alternative attributable source. Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances.”
The Australian Press Council’s fifth general principle states: “… information obtained by dishonest or unfair means, or the publication of which would involve a breach of confidence, should not be published unless there is an over-riding public interest.”
The Brag Media writers should always get clear consent from an interview subject before recording them. If an interview subject says “off the record” before saying something, writers should honour that what they said afterward is ‘off the record’ and gain clarification when the subject is back on the record.
All quotes within articles should not be changed in a way that changes the quote’s meaning, however it is acceptable for minor amendments for clarification purposes. Please refer to The Brag Media style guide for more information on how to attribute quotes and for the acceptable alterations to quotes (e.g. the use of square brackets).