Policies

Policies last updated: April 9, 2019

Privacy

We may collect certain non-personally identifiable information when you visit any of our web sites such as the type of browser you are using, the type of operating system you are using, and the domain name of your Internet service provider.

For the purpose of receiving email alerts, we do collect your email address which enters into our master email database. We will never release your email address to anyone, except in the case of disclosing your email address in response to any legal process.

We use non-personally identifiable information that we collect to improve the design and content of our site and to enable us to personalize your Internet experience. We also may use this information to analyze site usage, as well as to offer you products, programs, or services.

We may disclose personally identifiable information, such as an email address, in response to any legal process. We also may disclose such information in response to a law enforcement agency’s request, or where we believe it is necessary to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding illegal activities, suspected fraud, situations involving potential threats to the physical safety of any person, and applicable laws or as otherwise required or permitted by law or consistent with legal requirements. In addition, we may transfer personally identifiable information about you if we are acquired by, sold to, or merged with another company.

Agents and contractors who have access to personally identifiable information are required to protect this information in a manner that is consistent with this Privacy Policy by, for example, not using the information for any purpose other than to carry out the services they are performing for us.

Some of our sites contain links to other sites whose information practices may be different than ours. You should consult the other sites’ privacy notices as we have no control over information presented by third-parties.

We may update this Privacy Policy at any time without notice. It is your responsibility to check back often for any revisions to this policy.

Unnamed sources

Trust and credibility with our readers and our community are foundational to the journalistic mission of the Long Beach Post. Occasionally, in the course of our reporting, it may be necessary for our reporters to rely on unnamed sources.

This is an infrequent practice, taken with great caution, to provide information that is important to the public—and essential to a story—only when such information is unavailable by other means.

Reporters should make every effort to verify the information provided and only grant anonymity in an article if there is a compelling reason to do so, such as fear of retaliation.

The identity of unnamed sources are always known to the Post. Besides the reporter, at least one high-ranking editor or department head must also know the identity of the source and must approve inclusion in the story.

We do not publish information without knowing where it came from, and we should make every effort to explain as much as possible to readers about the source without revealing his or her identity.

Reporters and editors should be satisfied that unnamed sources have a factual basis for the information they’re providing before publishing it.

Unnamed sources should not be granted anonymity simply to speculate about something, attack someone or promote a point of view.

A sponsored story is a paid advertisement from a Long Beach Post Partner. Sponsored stories are clearly marked with a “Sponsored” tag. All sponsored stories go through editorial review to ensure they are factually correct and meet the Post‘s standards for ethical journalism.

Re-publishing Stories

All content published on this website is the copyright of the Long Beach Post. However, the first 150 words, rounded up to the end of the sentence, of any story from the Long Beach Post may be republished without the need for permission, as long as the following elements are included:

  • the original headline
  • the author’s byline
  • the original publication date
  • a link to the original story, in the format “Read more on the Long Beach Post“, or similar.

Contributions

Reader contributions support the Long Beach Post’s continuing mission to provide independent, fact-based journalism focused on the city of Long Beach. Please note that the Long Beach Post is a for-profit entity, and as such your contribution is not tax-deductible. If you have any questions about contributing to the Long Beach Post, please contact us at [email protected].

Refund Policy

If you have made an error in making your contribution or change your mind about contributing to the Long Beach Post, we will honor your request for a refund made within 30 days of your contribution.

To request a refund, call (562) 437-5814 or email [email protected] and provide the full name and email address associated with your donation. Refunds are returned using the original method of payment. If you made your donation by credit card, your refund will be credited to that same credit card.

Long Beach Post Ethics Policy

Below is a copy of the Long Beach Post Ethics Policy, which all employees are required to sign.

INTRODUCTION

The Long Beach Post is committed to the principles of accuracy, transparency, integrity, fairness and thoroughness, which form the basis of the Code of Ethics established by the Society of Professional Journalists.

These principles guide every decision we make, as maintaining the public’s trust is paramount to what we do.

Any time an employee encounters a situation that could damage the reputation of the Long Beach Post, that individual should inform a supervisor. We realize that this can be difficult and uncomfortable, but credibility is our most precious asset. It must be protected.

FAIRNESS

We will do our jobs with fairness, accuracy and independence, which means we seek opposing views, as well as responses from those whose conduct is questioned in news stories or those who may be cast in a negative light.

If a person named in a story can’t be reached, we should say that, being mindful of the tone in which this is presented. We are expected to keep our egos out of how we frame a person’s response or in how we describe their actions, always seeking a second opinion in these matters.

In the case of breaking news, we must balance immediacy with fairness to the people involved. Transparency is key. We should say where we are in the reporting process, with tags like “More to come” or “This is a developing story.” [See also “Breaking News Guidelines.”]

We do not let anonymous sources call someone’s character into question. In the case of named sources, we include criticism when it is relevant to the story, but we should always first consider the news value of such commentary, and to whom it is directed. Public officials, elected officials, celebrities and others in power open themselves to such criticism by the nature of their positions. Criticism of private citizens — those who have not sought out the spotlight — should be treated with more scrutiny and care.

ACCURACY

We seek information from credible sources, whether from documents or people. Whenever possible we seek original source material to support our reporting, as well as interviews with

people as close to the issue as possible. We do not present unverified information from social media, the police scanner, a member of the public or other questionable sources as fact; if such information is useful or necessary in a story, we describe the potential problems with this information in the story, and/or indicate in a prominent place that it has not been verified.

Errors should be acknowledged immediately. The incorrect information should be corrected in the story, and a tag added to the bottom of the story that reads: “This story has been updated to reflect … “. Clearly state the mistake and what has been fixed, however we should not repeat the misinformation if it can be avoided. Above all, however, clarity is key.

We generally do not remove stories, photos or other content from the web or social media. Decisions to do so should be made at the senior management level, with appropriate consultation. We must balance the reason for the request with the public’s right to know, being sensitive to individuals who may be harmed, either physically or emotionally, professionally, financially or reputationally, by our coverage.

We should identify ourselves as reporters, editors, photographers, videographers—or whatever our role is with the Long Beach Post—to our sources and the public at large. We may allow exceptions, following the guidance as outlined in the SPJ code of ethics: “Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.”

Journalists must not plagiarize, whether it is the wholesale lifting of someone else’s writing, or the publication of a press release without attribution. Plagiarism will result in serious disciplinary action, and may include termination.

INTEGRITY

Ground rules should be established at the beginning of an interview as to what it means to go off-the-record, to go on background, or to shield a source’s identity, whether the information is used or not. Ensure that sources understand the terminology. Avoid ambiguity.

When using people as sources, we use the individual’s first and last name, and any other identifying information that is relevant to the story. Information used from anonymous sources must be discussed with an editor, and we must state in the story or photo the reason the person’s identity is being shielded. Anonymous sources must never be the sole basis for any story. In order to use anonymous sources, two conditions must be met: the harm in disclosing the person’s identity is clear (their personal safety or employment is at risk, for example); and the individual is only person, or one of only a few people, who could provide the information.

The Long Beach Post does not pay for information, nor give any source anything of value in exchange for information.

Covering crime and breaking news

Employees of the Long Beach Post are not permitted to break the law in the course of doing their job. We should never interfere with public safety officials. If an employee feels that he or she has been illegally barred from an area, or denied access to any information that is public, the employee should remain calm and professional, and alert an editor.

When a person has been arrested, that person’s name may be published. However, it is our responsibility to follow the case through the legal process, publishing updates if the person is ultimately not charged or is found not guilty. It is also our responsibility to attempt to contact the person, and/or his or her attorney, for comment.

We should use caution when physically describing individuals in stories. Often, police will release only basic information when they are seeking a missing person or a criminal suspect. We should only use this information if it is specific enough to be helpful to the public. If the information is so vague as to not be useful, we should refrain from using physical descriptions. An editor should be consulted in these matters.

In most cases, we do not name victims of sexual assault, nor do we identify juvenile criminal suspects, unless that individual is charged as an adult.

Social media

We should always be transparent on social media, identifying ourselves on branded accounts as the Long Beach Post, or identifying ourselves as reporters/editors/photographers who work for the Long Beach Post.

We should refrain from taking positions or expressing opinions on political, religious, economic, social or other charged issues (even on personal social media accounts), unless it is our job to do so (columnists, opinion writers, etc.), and in that case we should clearly identify ourselves as such.

Retweets generally are not considered endorsements, but may be perceived as such. Be aware of how retweets will be seen when presented without comment. We should strive to provide context when retweeting or sharing others’ social media posts.

Reporters should always source material posted on social media, and should indicate whether they are physically present at events they are posting about.

Reporters are expected to maintain professional decorum on both professional and personal social media accounts. This includes: avoiding vulgarity and profanity, and posting sexually explicit photos or videos. In these matters, it is best to consult with an editor.

Visuals

Photographers, videographers and all other multimedia journalists are held to the same standards of integrity, accuracy, transparency and fairness as reporters.

Images should not be manipulated to show something, or delete something, that distorts the original image. We should avoid staged photos, unless it is a portrait shot or illustration in which it is abundantly clear the image was set up.

Be sensitive in how we show vulnerable groups, such as those with developmental disabilities, children, victims of crimes and others. We should always use care in depicting dead bodies, bloody crime scenes or other violence, profanity or nudity, again evaluating the news value of these images in consultation with an editor.

Opinion columns, blogs and reviews

Blogs can and should employ a more colloquial style, with looser language and a strong sense of individual voice. However vulgarity and profanity are not permitted.

Blogs can take many forms, including: reporter’s notebook, journals, short profiles, news analysis, appreciations, columns and reviews. If the individual writing a blog is a news reporter, opinion should be avoided.

Columns and reviews can be written in the first-person, and can include opinion. This opinion, however, should be supported through research and reporting. We should always give the other side a chance to respond, whether in the column or itself or as a separate response posted near the original piece.

In the case of all of our published written material, including opinions and blogs, we should avoid racist, sexist, homophobic depictions — or any content that marginalizes or stereotypes specific groups — even under the guise of sarcasm or satire, which often does not translate in the digital world.

TRANSPARENCY

Advertisements

Ads that appear in the format of news stories or photos (sometimes called “native ads”), should be clearly labelled as “sponsored content,” preferably with a hyperlink that explains what this means. These stories/ads should not be written by the anyone in the news department, in order to keep separation between news and the business interests of the Long Beach Post.

Decisions as to what should be covered in the news section should be made independent of any monetary or business interests of the Long Beach Post. We do not “charge” for news coverage; we cover what is newsworthy. We can and should, however, share news coverage plans with the advertising/business side.

Conflicts of interest

The Long Beach Post and its employees should strive to remain independent of all outside interests, avoiding even the appearance of a conflict.

When we report on John Molina and the Pacific 6 investment group, we should say in the body of the story that we are funded by this group, but that they have no direct role in news decisions (similar to how the Washington Post handles stories about Amazon and Jeff Bezos).

Employees should not have a financial stake in anything they cover, including stock holdings, employment and other work that would involve payment. This also applies to a spouse or close relative of the employee.

Employees of the Long Beach Post can participate in various groups, such as religious groups, nonprofits and other hobby or recreational groups. We should avoid, however, any political office or positions of power that would be put us in conflict with our role at the company.

Participating in political marches, rallies and other such events should be avoided, as well as giving endorsements or campaign contributions to those seeking office. It is best to first clear these affiliations and activities by an editor or supervisor.

We pay our own way. We avoid taking free meals, gifts, money or other valuables, generally anything worth more than $25. Costs associated with activities we cover should be expensed and covered by the Long Beach Post, with approval from a supervisor. Exceptions to this can of course be made, such as eating a meal at someone’s home if it would be rude not to do so. Use caution, and consult with an editor or supervisor when appropriate.

Employees should not use their affiliation with the Long Beach Post to gain access to any event (unless they are covering it), to curry favor in a personal matter, to facilitate a purchase or transaction, to get better or faster service, and certainly not to threaten anyone.