Code of Ethics
Rest of World maintains full ownership and authority over its editorial content and strategy. Like any news organization, we maintain a firewall between our editorial and business teams. That means business decisions and fundraising initiatives never influence our news coverage decisions. As a nonprofit media organization, we will consider donations to help support coverage of specific topics that may be aligned with our own mission, but Rest of World maintains full editorial control of the stories and projects that are published within those topics. Rest of World editorial leadership retains all rights to decisions to redistribute our content on social media platforms, or through other media organizations.
Rest of World subscribes to the traditional codes of ethical journalism: We strive to publish fair, accurate, and thorough reporting by journalists held to the highest professional standards. Our duty, first and foremost, is to our readers and the public. We continuously review, adjust, and improve our internal editorial standards and ethics guidelines to meet the needs of a challenging and continuously evolving media industry.
Our work is guided by five commitments:
- Our journalists should be honest and courageous in their reporting and gathering of information. We do thorough reporting, never cut corners, and prioritize fairness and accuracy.
- We treat our sources, subjects, and readers with respect. While pursuing stories, we consider the implications of what we publish to the people involved in our reporting.
- We uplift diverse voices in our stories by prioritizing journalists who are native to the communities they cover and seeking sources whose voices are less represented in journalism.
- We value editorial independence and avoid any real or perceived conflicts of interest in our work.
- We hold ourselves accountable for our work, acknowledge when we make mistakes, and issue corrections promptly and prominently.
Disclosures & promises
We will not misrepresent or conceal our identity as journalists in pursuit of a story.
Rest of World reporters are barred from taking any substantive gifts or compensation from sources, and vice versa, in return for information for a story or any kind of coverage. Reporters may also not promise sources positive coverage in exchange for their participation in a story, or make other similar promises.
On and off the record
After reporters disclose themselves as journalists working on a story, they should assume conversations are on the record, meaning they can freely disclose what someone said and attribute it to them directly. If a source asks to speak off the record and the reporter agrees, that information should not be used in a story. Reporters should generally inform sources that going off the record requires prior consent from both parties. They should not allow sources to retroactively declare information off the record.
Rest of World reporters will speak with their editors before granting anonymity in their stories. Editors should ask to know the true identity of an unidentified source, so that they can work with reporters on how to best use the information they provide. Fact-checkers may also ask about the identity of an anonymous source to verify a story’s accuracy.
As a best practice, reporters should disclose in stories the reason for anonymity and describe the person’s role as best as they can (“According to a Facebook content moderator who asked to remain anonymous because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly”). Reporters should keep in mind the overarching goals of fairness, accuracy, transparency, and honesty. We do not refer to a single person as “sources” or represent multiple people as a composite character without disclosing that. We also don’t use a pseudonym unless a source requests to be identified by one.
Using unnamed sources demands trust from readers. Reporters should generally reserve the practice for people who are likely to be put in physical danger, lose their job, or otherwise experience undue hardship for sharing newsworthy information. Examples include dissidents living under repressive regimes, corporate whistleblowers, and victims of sexual abuse or harassment. In some circumstances, Rest of World may also grant anonymity to less vulnerable sources who are sharing information in the public interest. Corporate spokespeople who are paid to represent a company generally do not meet the requirements for granting anonymity.
Rest of World will publish corrections to errors as soon as we become aware of the issue and have verified the correction. To contact us with corrections, please email the Rest of World team at email@example.com.
You can find a full list of our stories with corrections here.
Social media use
Rest of World staff will maintain professionalism and care while sharing their thoughts and voice on social media platforms. All outside contributors who produce work for Rest of World speak on their own behalf. Their opinions do not reflect the position of the organization. We do not tolerate any behavior that encourages harassment on social media.