Editorial, ethical, and donor policies
🔔 These policies are being updated. Please check back soon.
The Global Reporting Centre is committed to using investigative journalism to bring underrepresented and often neglected issues of global significance to the forefront. We believe that journalism is a key pillar upholding the wellbeing of society and are committed to lending our work to revitalizing news deserts around the world.
As an independent nonprofit organization we are committed to upholding the separation of revenue and commercial interests from our news coverage and research. Donors will receive no preferential coverage or sway the direction of our reporting in any way. While we accept donations from individuals and organizations, and seek to form interdisciplinary partnerships with collaborators, all editorial decisions, concerns, and complaints will be handled within the frameworks of our editorial structures.
The GRC will use fair and honest practices in collecting primary information, as well as in its presentation and public access to this data. When exceptional situations arise, we will make the decision-making process clear and transparent to the public.
As a journalistic organization our mandate is to seek and share the truth. We do so through our work while striving to uphold the highest of ethical practices, both in our reporting and editorial process.
This document provides ethical principles and guidelines for journalists working with the Global Reporting Centre. We realize that many of our collaborator’s organizations have their own ethical protocols. If these guidelines clash with those laid out by partner organizations, please raise concerns with the GRC Executive Director or Executive Editor.
The GRC also abides by the SPJ’s Code of Ethics, which lays out the following four principles as the foundation of ethical journalism and encourages their use in its practice by all people in all media: Seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently, and be accountable and transparent. Download the SPJ Code of Ethics (PDF).
Working with Sources
- Provide sources with a clear explanation of the purpose of your reporting project, and a verbal synopsis of the intended story.
- Do not submit pre-written interview questions to sources in advance. You may however submit topic areas, and likely discussion points.
- Reporters should strive to make it clear to sources that their information, interviews, or quotes may be published to large audiences, or may not feature at all in the resulting story. Make no promises of publication.
- Be respectful of the time and energy people invest to help, and let everyone who has assisted in the development of a story know when the final product is due to be published. Alert sources to any key changes – especially those that may be unwelcome, such as an interview being cut, or a shift in story focus – and stress how valuable their input was regardless.
- Make every effort to get sources on the record with their names published. In some circumstances, we may be willing to change the name of the source. In such instances, we should make these conditions and reasons transparent in the reporting.
- In some circumstances, we may agree to a source’s conditions limiting the use of information they give us (off the record). In such instances, we should make these conditions and reasons transparent in the reporting.
- Maintain a relationship of professional distance with sources. Whenever possible, avoid staying in their houses, sharing hotel rooms, or giving or receiving gifts. If gifts must be given or accepted to abide by local custom, they should not exceed USD $25 in value.
- Romantic or sexual relationships with sources are not permitted.
- Never accept payment from sources for reporting their side of the story.
- Make extra effort to ensure that vulnerable (e.g. sick, elderly, young, poor, or illiterate) people fully understand the implications of their participation in a story.
- Avoid reinforcing the stereotypes that can surround poor, sick, elderly, disabled, or indigenous people by insensitive interviewing or framing of their participation in a story.
- Consider the impacts that international publishing of a vulnerable person’s story might have on their health, safety, prosperity, and that of their family.
- When working in a country outside of your own, try to partner with local journalists, rather than hire them for subservient “fixer” roles
- While we try to avoid the correspondent-fixer methodology of global reporting, sometimes it is necessary to hire local professionals to assist with the logistical challenges of reporting a story in a foreign country, on a short-time scale. In such cases, draw up a written agreement or contract with the fixers in advance of their reporting trip. This should include the fixer’s responsibilities, the team’s expectations, how they will be credited, and agreed amount and method of payment for services and expenses.
- Fixers are paid at the market rate for the location, and all payments must be documented with receipts.
- Industry and advocacy groups should not be paid as fixers.
- Try to avoid using sources, or those with any stake in the story, as translators. In exceptional circumstances where this is necessary, reporters should be extra vigilant about checking the accuracy of the translation. Where possible, draw up a written contract or agreement with translators in advance of a reporting trip.
- After fieldwork all translations must be checked for accuracy by a second independent translator upon completion of the first draft.
As an independent nonprofit newsroom, transparency is one of our highest priorities. As such we recognize that the quality of our work is not only a result of our reporting process, but also of our donors and the nature of our relationships with them.
The credibility of our work is directly tied to the credibility of our funding sources, and the GRC Donor Transparency Policy serves as a formal acknowledgement of this fact.
- All donations received by the GRC will be used to further our mission, and support both the general operation of the Centre as well as directly finance our projects.
- Our news and choice of projects are created and pursued independently without influence from our funders. We do not give our donors or partners any rights in the editorial or content creation process.
- Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse our donors, their products, services or opinions.
- We do not accept donations from, political parties, elected officials or candidates actively seeking public office.
- The majority of donor contributions to the GRC are from identified individual donors and foundations. If, however, an anonymous donation over $1,000 is made, the contribution will only be accepted once a review of any potential conflict of interest is conducted. We will not accept any donations from sources who could present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our editorial independence.
- If, under certain circumstances (such as in-kind donations), an individual donor or organization is also involved in the process of our work, we commit to clearly and fully disclosing the relationship.
Donor Acknowledgment and Transparency
We are grateful for our donors for choosing to invest in us and will acknowledge their contributions by the following:
- All donors will be personally acknowledged by the University of British Columbia and the Global Reporting Centre for their donation.
- Donors are subject to the University of British Columbia’s Terms & Privacy
- All donors who have contributed over $5,000 a year will be publicly listed on our website.
- We understand that donors may not wish to have their name publicized for privacy reasons. We respect a donor’s intent and will gladly review such requests (which must be explicitly made) on a case by case basis.
A list of our current donors (above $5,000) for 2021/2022 include:
- Alexandra Wrage
Organizations and Foundations
- Park Foundation
- R & J Stern Family Foundation
- The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation
- Stardust Fund
- Trace International
- Dr Lloyd and Mrs Kay Chapman Charitable Foundation
- Mindset Foundation
- Angus Reid Institute
- The Giustra Foundation
- Vancouver Institute
- Tiny Foundation
- PEN Canada
- Vancouver Institute
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
- University of British Columbia