Ethics and transparency

Workshop ethics policies/overview

Transparency: The Workshop is committed to operating in a transparent, open fashion that other news organizations can use as a model. We believe transparency will foster more credibility for our journalistic projects and help create confidence on the part of our partners and our funders. To that end, we will provide disclosure of our operations and practices beyond that which is required by law or custom.

Journalistic ethics: High-quality journalism devoted to providing oversight of powerful public and private institutions is vital to a free society. We define “high-quality” to include not only excellent tradecraft but also excellence in decision-making that reflects the ideals of transparency and accountability to all our stakeholders.

Workshop ethics policies/details

Accuracy: Our highest value is accuracy. This does not merely mean that we get our facts straight but also that we expect our work to provide context, meaning and understanding. We reject the notion that “fairness and balance” require us to give equal weight to opposing sides. Instead, we seek to fairly represent the full range of ideas and opinions that exists around complex matters in public affairs. We promise to correct documented factual and contextual errors in a timely, public manner that, to the extent practicable, is as prominent as the original presentation that contained an error.

Transparency: Just as we seek to shed light on the activities of powerful institutions, we believe we must be willing to share information about ourselves. To that end, we pledge to provide:

  • Access to data and documents that support our stories, where possible.
  • Explanations of methodologies.
  • Contact information for journalists who report and edit for IRW.
  • Biographical information for IRW journalists.
  • Information regarding funding.

Journalistic practice: We strive to create an environment in which our practices are above reproach.

  • We will not tolerate fabrication or plagiarism.
  • We will avoid real and perceived conflicts of interest.
  • We will not permit our funders to exercise editorial control over content.
  • We will not publicly participate in electoral politics, including making political contributions, displaying evidence of support of one candidate, volunteering in a political campaign.
  • We will not accept gifts from sources.
  • We will pay our own way.
  • We will avoid deceptive reporting practices.
  • We will clearly identify ourselves as journalists to sources and potential sources.
  • We will not use surreptitious audio and video recording devices without a finding by the executive editor that all other means of obtaining information have been tried and exhausted and that the information is vital to a story of high public interest and value.
  • Because of our values of transparency and accountability, we will seek to limit the use of unidentified sources. It is our goal to have every source in every story fully identified. No story quoting unidentified sources will be published unless at least one editor is aware of the identity of the sources.
  • In deciding whether to grant confidentiality, the executive editor may ask to meet with the source and may seek advice from legal counsel.
  • When a grant of confidentiality is made, all IRW personnel will be bound by its terms and may not be released from its terms without clear consent from the source involved.

Financial disclosures

The Workshop does not file a Form 990 because it is part of American University. We do, however, disclose information about our finances, including executive compensation.