The first Draft of a Cited Charter: What do you think?

As I wrote earlier, this continues my practice of radical transparency as we try to expand and improve Cited. I’ve got a first draft of something for you.

For various reasons, it’s important that a news organization codify its principles. For one, it signals to our listeners and to our partners what they should expect out of us.

According to The Elements of Journalismlawyers once “advised news companies against codifying their principles in writing for fear that they would be used against them in court.”

However, today it has become increasingly important to say who you are in this world of shifting media standards. Cited is not the same as other academic-inspired programming, including UBC Public Affairs, Malcolm Gladwell books, or this blog. It’s something else. Here’s the first draft of me trying to put that down into words. What do you think? What’s missing?

Cited will:

  1. Enrich the public discussion with evidence-based journalism that is supported by the strongest research. Our primary goal is to empower citizens by providing them the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about how to govern their communities.
  2. Incorporate a diversity of voices from outside higher education, never producing journalism that rests on the authority of scholarly expertise alone. We respect, admire, and value the experience and expertise of ordinary citizens, and we do not believe that professors hold any special authority over them.
  3. Open the doors of higher education by producing journalism that is entertaining, informative, relevant and free to everyone. This journalism will not be limited to the research itself, but also include work on the priorities, methods, funding, and governance of higher education. We believe that citizens of all socio-economic backgrounds have a right to know more about the world of higher education, and that we have an obligation to make this world as accessible and inclusive as possible.
  4. Follow the highest of journalistic standards, including those set out by the Society for Professional Journalists and the TAO of Journalism pledge. We believe in accurate, independent, open, transparent, and accountable journalism.
  5. Maintain the integrity of our programming by refusing any partnership that would compromise our independence. Our first loyalty will always be to citizens, not to funders, research institutes, individual scholars, universities, or the broader academic community.
  6. Provide a forum for a diversity of viewpoints, no matter how uncomfortable those viewpoints might be. We are commitment to the academic freedom and freedom of speech of our guests and commenters, and we will defend these freedoms should they be challenged.
Hat tip to a few inspirations: SPJ, TAO, Elements of Journalism, and The Conversation.