Editorial Guidelines

Policy applies to Outside90 Pty Ltd t/a Podular Media and its employees.

Employees full-time, part-time and casual employees and contractors, contributors, consultants and volunteers.

1.0 Accuracy and Reporting

1.1  Publications or podcasts should take reasonable steps to ensure they are accurate and not misleading.

1.2  Publications or podcasts are free to editorialise, campaign and take stances on issues provided they take reasonable steps to fulfil the requirements of 1.3 and 1.4.

1.3  Comment, conjecture and opinion are acceptable in reports to provide perspective on an issue, or explain the significance of an issue, or to allow listeners to recognise what the publication’s standpoint is on the matter being reported.

1.4  However, this does not allow us to knowingly publish inaccurate or misleading information and publications should correct significant inaccuracies or misleading material once they have been recognised as detailed in Section 2.0 – Mistakes.

1.5  Try always to tell all sides of the story when reporting on disputes and with such stories, reasonable steps should be taken to contact adversely named parties.

1.6 Podcasters should rely only on credible sources.

1.7  Direct quotations should not be altered except to delete offensive language, protect against defamation, or to make minor changes for clarity.

1.8  Plagiarism is theft.

1.9  Information sourced from social media should be verified for accuracy.

2.0 Mistakes

2.1 Subject to legal advice, a correction or other adequate remedial action should be provided promptly if published material is significantly inaccurate.

2.2 Podular Media supports self-regulation of the publishing industry and is a constituent member of the Australian Press Council.

2.3 Editors should publish Council adjudications on complaints about their publication in accordance with the publishers-Council agreement as detailed in the Council’s Constitution.

3.0 Misrepresentation

3.1 Employees should not use false names when representing Podular Media.

3.2 Employees should not try to obtain information, photographs or video by deception.

3.3 Any exceptions require the approval of CEO, Adrian Houghton.

4.0 Covert activities

4.1 Covert operations by employees must be approved in advance by CEO, Adrian Houghton. 

4.2 Approval will be given only where the material cannot knowingly be obtained by other means and the authorised covert operation must be justified on public interest grounds.

4.3 The public interest includes, ensuring the public’s right to reliable information and to not be misled; protecting and enhancing public safety and health; due administration of justice, government and national security; exposing, detecting or preventing crime, the threat of crime, dishonesty, serious misconduct, incompetence, impropriety or unethical behaviour; disclosing a person or organisation’s failure or likely failure to comply with any obligations; and disclosing a miscarriage of justice.

4.4 Where appropriate when publishing, the nature and reasons for operating covertly should be disclosed to listeners.

4.5 Rules surrounding permission to tape telephone conversations differ between states and territories. If unsure, seek specific legal advice before taping any conversations. Be aware that approval must be sought if recording is to be used as audio in any digital capacity.

5.0 Confidential sources

5.1 A promise of confidentiality to a source must, of course, be honoured. However, employees should be aware of the possible consequences. For example, a judge may order the source to be identified. Defiance of this order could lead to conviction for contempt of court, with the consequence of being imprisoned or being sanctioned with a heavy fine.

6.0 Payment for information

6.1 Payment should not be made for interviews or information. If a request for payment or other reward or compensation is made, agreement must not be given without the approval of CEO, Adrian Houghton. 

7.0 Conflict of interest 

7.1 A conflict of interest arises when personal interests or divided loyalties interfere with the ability to make sound, objective business decisions on behalf of the company. Staff may join and participate in lawful political or community organisations or activities but must avoid potential conflicts of interest with their employment.

7.2 Employees as defined by this policy must report as soon as possible potential personal conflicts of interest to CEO, Adrian Houghton. Failure to notify them may result in dismissal.

7.3 Any employee wishing to perform paid or unpaid work for a rival media outlet must receive written approval in advance from CEO, Adrian Houghton.

8.0 Financial Reporting

8.1 It is illegal for employees to make personal gain from financial information received in advance of general publication. It is illegal to pass this information to others.

8.2 Employees must not report about shares, securities or companies in which they, their family or close friends have a financial interest without disclosing before publication that interest to CEO, Adrian Houghton. 

8.3 Employees should declare an interest to the CEO, Adrian Houghton, if they have traded or intend to trade, directly or indirectly, in shares or securities about which they have reported recently or intend to report on soon.

8.4 Employees should not write about prospectuses before their lodgement without confirming relevant regulations including those of a stock exchange are not breached.

9.0 Travel

9.1 Only CEO, Adrian Houghton, is authorised to accept offers of free or discounted travel, accommodation etc for a project.

9.2 CEO, Adrian Houghton has the right to decide whether to accept an offer, who should be assigned and whether a report is published as a consequence. These conditions must be made clear to whoever made the offer.

9.3 Employees must never solicit discount travel or accommodation for themselves; nor misrepresent their role within reporting news or publishing a podcast to secure any form of travel discount or accommodation.

9.4 All international travel must be approved in advance by the CEO, Adrian Houghton.

10.0 Personal gain, gifts

10.1 Employees must not request or accept any money, travel, goods, discounts, entertainment or inducements of any kind outside the normal scope of business hospitality.

10.2 Bribes are to be rejected promptly and the CEO, Adrian Houghton, should be informed immediately of any offer or request to pay a bribe, including a facilitation payment or other inappropriate payments.

10.3 Gifts of cash (any sum) are never acceptable.

10.4 Employees must never solicit or request any gift or benefit for themselves or anyone else in connection with their employment.

10.5 Employees must never use their employment with Podular Media as a means of gaining any form of entitlement or benefit from a commercial organisation.

10.6 Employees must not accept gifts above a nominal value of $100. If a gift has more than a nominal value, it may only be accepted after approval of the CEO, Adrian Houghton.

11.0 Interviews/Requests for information or documentation in third party litigation

11.1 In general, Podular Media expects employees to co-operate with authorities in investigations. But requests by police or other authorities for work-related interviews must be referred to the CEO, Adrian Houghton.

11.2 No employee should speak in that capacity to another media organisation or at a public event without permission of the CEO, Adrian Houghton.

12.0 Privacy

12.1 All individuals, including public figures, have a right to privacy. But public figures necessarily sacrifice their right to privacy, where public scrutiny is in the public interest.

12.2 Publication of sensitive personal information — such as taxation details, Family Court records and health and welfare matters — may be prohibited by law. Seek legal advice as to how the law applies for the purposes of conducting journalism.

13.0 Harassment

13.1 Do not harass or try to intimidate people when seeking information or photographs.

13.2 Do not photograph or film people on private property without their consent unless it is in the public interest to do so. If asked by the resident to leave private property, do so promptly.

13.3 Do not persist unreasonably in telephoning, pursuing, questioning or door-stopping someone after an authorised person has asked you to stop.

14.0 Grief and distress

14.1 Employees should always behave with sensitivity and courtesy toward the public, and in particular towards those involved in tragic events. No one should be put under pressure to be photographed, filmed or interviewed. Initial approaches might best be made through friends or relatives. We should respect the wishes of the bereaved or grieving.

15.0 Hospitals, other facilities

15.1  Do not go into non-public areas of hospitals, welfare institutions, funeral parlours, churches etc, without either identifying yourself to relevant authorities or without permission of the people affected or their intermediaries unless appropriate prior approval has been obtained under the requirements of 4.0 Covert Activities for such operations.

16.0 Children

16.1  Children should not be prompted in interviews, or offered inducements to cooperate.

16.2 Do not identify children in crime and court reports without state specific legal advice.

16.3 Do not approach children inside schools without the permission of a school authority.

17.0 Discrimination

17.1 Do not make pejorative reference to a person’s race, nationality, colour, religion, marital status, sex, sexual preferences, or physical or mental illness or disability. No details of a person’s race, nationality, colour, religion, marital status, sex, sexual preferences, or physical or mental illness or disability should be included in a report unless they are relevant.

18.0 Suicide

18.1 Do not reveal graphic details of a suspected suicide or graphic details of the method and location of a suicide unless the public interest in doing so clearly outweighs the risk, if any, of causing further suicides. Always consult CEO, Adrian Houghton.

18.2  Avoid making judgements about the method of death which suggest suicide is an acceptable means of resolving problems, particularly among young people.

18.3 Do not sensationalise, glamorise or trivialise suicides. Adopt sensitivity and moderation in news gathering and in any contact with those who might be affected.

18.4  Where possible, include in such reports the contact number of support groups where people with problems may seek help.

19.0 Illegal drugs

19.1 Do not report recipes for drug manufacture details of distribution or descriptions of the use of other harmful substances unless justified by public interest considerations or at the request of authorities.

20.0 Weapons and threats

20.1 Do not report threats to use bombs or other weapons or threats of extortion unless public interest justifies it, or  when the authorities request you to do so, or when it is necessary to explain public disruption caused by the authorities’ reaction to such a threat.

20.2 Do not report details of the manufacture or methods of using explosives, ammunition, firearms, fireworks, crossbows, booby traps or any potentially lethal device unless public interest justifies it, or  when the authorities request you to do so.

21.0 Photographic enhancement and manipulation policy

21.1 Enhancement of photographs is acceptable. However, this should be limited to simple procedures to improve reproduction quality, ie auto enhancement.

21.2 Colour alteration, over sharpening and image manipulation is prohibited.

21.3 Subject to 23.1, wire services images from non-News Group sources should not be altered unless approved by the CEO, Adrian Houghton, to delete matter which might cause offence. Any alteration should be explained in the caption.

21.4 Freelance, occasional and on-the-spot contributors must give an undertaking in writing their images have not been altered. Except in special circumstances and on approval of the CEO, Adrian Houghton, the source should be credited.

21.5 Any image that has had the subject altered or added to should be clearly acknowledged in the caption as “Digitally Altered Image”.

22.0 Other Obligations

22.1 Do not bring the reputation of Podular Media, your colleagues or masthead into disrepute.

22.2 Respect the confidences and sensitivities of your colleagues at all times.

22.3 Familiarise yourself with all of Podular Media’s employee conduct policies.

22.4 Employees must protect company assets from theft, carelessness, waste and misuse and respect the property rights of others.

23.0 Breaches of policy

23.1 Complaints involving alleged breaches of this policy will be investigated by the CEO, Adrian Houghton. Proven breaches will be dealt with in accordance with the company’s disciplinary procedures.

Complaints Handling Policy

Podular Media abides by the principles of the Australian Press Council and, which are reiterated at the end of this section for clarity and transparency.

Complaints Process

1. We acknowledge the rights of our listeners and social media followers make complaints in writing about inaccurate, misleading or unethical commentary on matters related to our podcasts. A written complaint or response can be a letter or email.

2. We will make every reasonable effort to resolve complaints, except where a complaint is clearly frivolous, without sufficient grounds or not made in good faith.

3. We will ensure that:

(a) Complaints will be received by CEO, Adrian Houghton, in normal office hours and receipt is acknowledged in writing.

(b) Complaints will be conscientiously considered, investigated if necessary, and responded to substantively as soon as possible.

(c) Complaints about editorial content will be investigated by CEO, Adrian Houghton.

(d) Complaints will be responded to in writing within 30 days of receipt.

(e) If the complainant is unhappy with the resolution of their complaint, Podular Media will refer to the complainant to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

4. CEO, Adrian Houghton will maintain a record of complaints and responses for at least two years from the date of the complaint.

5. The record of complaints and responses will be made available to the Commonwealth Ombudsman upon request.

Australian Press Council Statement of General Principles

Podcasters and are free to publish as they wish by reporting facts and expressing opinions, provided they take reasonable steps to comply with the following Principles and the Council’s other Standards of Practice:

Accuracy and clarity

1. Ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading, and is distinguishable from other material such as opinion.

2. Provide a correction or other adequate remedial action if published material is significantly inaccurate or misleading.

Fairness and balance

3. Ensure that factual material is presented with reasonable fairness and balance, and that writers’ expressions of opinion are not based on significantly inaccurate factual material or omission of key facts.

4. Ensure that where material refers adversely to a person, a fair opportunity is given for subsequent publication of a reply if that is reasonably necessary to address a possible breach of General Principle 3.

Privacy and avoidance of harm

5. Avoid intruding on a person’s reasonable expectations of privacy, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

6. Avoid causing or contributing materially to substantial offence, distress or prejudice, or a substantial risk to health or safety, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

Integrity and transparency

7. Avoid publishing material which has been gathered by deceptive or unfair means, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

8. Ensure that conflicts of interests are avoided or adequately disclosed, and that they do not influence published material.