Vergesource’s Editorial Ethics & Guidelines
Vergesource has evolved and will continue to evolve as it builds a portfolio of modern editorial networks and partners across multiple mediums driving the future of journalism and entertainment. Our Vergesource Values remain our cornerstones at all times. In an industry that is constantly evolving, we will thrive on change and innovate to improve. We will always hold ourselves and our teammates to high standards and build an environment that cultivates passion, benefits collaboration, and respects all voices and identities.
Through the Vergesource editorial guidelines we aim to give our teams clear guidance about what to avoid and the public knowledge of what to expect. Simultaneously, we recognize the impossibility of reducing the complexity of real life to a simple checklist or rulebook and encourage conversation and dialogue with colleagues and supervisors about concrete situations as superior to trying to craft an ethics policy that would address every conceivable dilemma.
As the needs of our newsrooms and audiences change, our guidelines will adapt in kind to ensure that Vergesource’s work is always deserving of our audiences’ trust. Supplemental guidelines for the specific needs of each Vergesource editorial network may appear on each network’s site.
Subscriptions, Advertising and Revenue Partnerships
Vergesource is home to editorial networks and other lines of business that financially enable those networks. This includes Vergesource divisions responsible for selling consumer subscriptions, advertising and editorial sponsorships on our properties; advertising across our marketplace Concert; branded content created in partnership with our in-house advertising brand studio Vergesource Creative; and podcast advertising across the Vergesource Podcast Network. In no case, however, does the operation of these lines of business interfere with the integrity of our editorial teams or influence the content they create.
In each case, the nature of Vergesource’s content in relation to advertisers and sponsors is clearly marked or announced as “Presented by,” “Paid Content For” or “Advertiser Content,” if and as applicable.
“Presented by” content is created independently by our editorial networks but is made possible through the direct support of advertisers. That content is clearly disclosed on the Vergesource network websites, channels, podcasts and social media accounts where it appears as “Presented by” the applicable sponsor. With “Presented by” content, our sponsors may select which content they wish to support, however we do not allow our Vergesource Sales teams, or our sponsors to control or interfere with the editorial integrity of our editorial teams and the content they create.
“Paid Content For” is used to describe content that has been created with funding from an advertiser and is produced in conjunction with Vergesource Creative. Advertisers may be involved in the creation of this content by collaborating on general topics or themes and/or in other similarly limited ways. In each case, however, where content is designated by “Paid Content For,” Vergesource Creative determines the final content and the advertiser has absolutely no control, review, or approval rights.
“Advertiser Content” is content featured on a Vergesource network website, channel podcast, and/or social media account that is paid for by a particular advertiser and developed by the Vergesource Sales teams and Vergesource Creative in collaboration with the advertiser (independent from our editorial teams). That content is clearly disclosed as “Advertiser Content” wherever it appears.
Some of our content contains affiliate links, which means we will receive a commission for purchases made via those links; when our editorial or commerce teams have manually added affiliate links to our articles, we will include a disclosure within the content.
Advertisements do not reflect the views of Vergesource or our editorial teams.
Conflicts of Interest, Activism and Disclosures
Vergesource’s newsrooms have broad editorial independence, and our staff and contributors take that independence seriously. They will refrain from participating in activity that would compromise their journalistic coverage of an issue. When an editorial team member or contributor has a conflict of interest, they will be recused from coverage and/or publicly disclose that conflict. Conflicts of interest can include a personal or family relationship, personal financial investment or donations, or working for or promoting an organization that they’re covering.
Vergesource also has a number of investors. Our investors do not influence our reporting and do not have any involvement with our internal reporting process.
Financial Contributions and Grants
Some Vergesource editorial networks accept financial contributions from individual audience members, but these contributions do not have any particular impact on coverage. Our editorial networks also occasionally accept funding from grant organizations or significant individual fiscal sponsors to support specific coverage areas. We do not allow those fiscal sponsors or grant organizations to control or interfere with the integrity and independence of our editorial teams and the content they create. Where applicable, content will be disclosed as being supported by significant fiscal sponsors and/or grant organizations.
Corrections, Updates and Deletions
Vergesource makes every effort for content to be completely accurate upon publication. If a correction is required, however, we are transparent and update a story if new information either adds to or invalidates the original story. We will issue corrections for a factual error or if a typo in the copy could cause audiences to misunderstand the story.
We almost always leave all editorial content live, with notes and corrections as needed. We may, in rare instances, remove content from our websites, social media pages, or related platforms for legal reasons or extenuating circumstances. Removal will never be at the direction of, or be influenced by, our advertisers.
Gifts and Giveaways
We do not accept gifts or other consideration from companies as a condition or incentive to write a review or story, whether favorable or unfavorable. Any gifts accepted will be of minor value, and in no way compromise or guarantee editorial coverage of the event, product, or service.
Occasionally, Vergesource will conduct contests and giveaways for our audiences. We will post rules for each contest and giveaway that will be binding for those who decide to participate. While giveaways or contests may be sponsored by an advertiser or partner, they are not, and should never be, considered endorsements of the entities involved or their products.
Vergesource hires our editorial employees for their strong, expert voices, and values their ability to build positive communities and influence on our social media platforms and their own. All employees are expected to follow Vergesource’s social media policy as well as the policies of their teams and other applicable guidelines.
Vergesource obtains news and content from a variety of sources. Some of our sources do not wish to be named, and we grant anonymity when we know our sources to be credible and reliable, and that their story would otherwise not be told. We make best efforts to confirm the veracity of the information provided by anonymous sources and will not include any information we have not thoroughly vetted. It is our policy not to pay sources.
Vergesource acknowledges that online and offline harassment are a real and growing problem, and that it can have potentially life-changing consequences for those targeted by it. We take seriously the impact this can have on our employees and contractors, and will use suitable measures to protect them.
If an employee of Vergesource is found to be involved in conducting or encouraging the harassment of an individual, we will take appropriate action.
Summary of Vergesource Advertising & Sales Policies
- Advertising must comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and community standards regarding online advertisements.
- Advertising may not display content that is false, misleading, fraudulent, or deceptive.
- Advertising may not distribute spam, harmful code, or other disruptive content.
- Advertising must be honest and transparent about their identity and their products.
Ad Content Restrictions, Generally
Ads run across Vergesource sites may not:
- Stereotype, inaccurately portray, or attack an individual or group on the basis of age, national origin, race, ethnicity, color, religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, medical condition, family status, or disability
- Promote or glorify violence, crime, or obscenity
- Be offensive or disturbing or likely to cause outrage, general disapproval, or negative opinion within the community
- Constitute, facilitate or promote illegal products, services or activities
- Contain material that is fraudulent, defamatory, or harassing to any individual or group
- Portray minors (or persons who appear to be underage) in a manner that is sexually suggestive or otherwise age-inappropriate
Political and Advocacy Advertising, Specifically
Vergesource permits political advertising (candidate and party specific advertising, and issue or advocacy-related advertising) through direct sales channels. Political advertising must comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
We will not accept political advertising that:
- Misleads, spreads false information, is deceptive or misrepresentative
- Incites violence, intimidates, harasses, or threatens
- Promotes discrimination or inequity
- Serves or supports an individual or organizations that have demonstrated repeated or sustained behavior counter to our advertising policies
- Does not clearly identify who paid for the ad
- Does not clearly state whether or not it was authorized by a candidate and/or organization
- Does not comply with all applicable federal election laws, FEC regulations and other applicable state and local laws and regulations
We reserve the right to verify the original funding source of any advertisement in any medium submitted to Vergesource. We also reserve the right to reject any advertisement at our sole discretion.
Note: It is our policy not to permit any political or advocacy advertising on any open exchange across any platform because we do not have the ability to control these ads or run them through the policy above. Even with this policy, due to the nature of the open exchange, there will be instances in which political advertising does get placed on our sites. When this occurs, we will block these ads when they are brought to our attention as they are against our policy.
Policies as of August 2020; we will continue to update this page