Media Outlet The Colorado Sun Legal Entity The Colorado Sun Date of first publication 17/11/2022 Date of Latest Change 04/10/2022

12. Responsibility for Sources

A Media Outlet shall ensure that the sources used for its journalism are dealt with responsibly and their anonymity protected when justified.

12.1. Anonymity

The procedures for granting anonymity to sources shall be covered by the Editorial Guidelines. The reason for anonymity should be clarified for the public.

Are there guidelines on the procedures to be followed for granting anonymity to sources?


Are the reasons for granting anonymity made clear to the public?


If you want to publish additional information, please provide it here.

We rarely use anonymous sources. When we do we, we call out the reason. "The Sun does not name victims of sexual assault," or "The Sun is not using her name because she is at risk of deportation"

12.2. Privacy Rights

Editorial guidelines should protect the privacy rights of individuals and their safety.

Are there guidelines to ensure that the privacy rights and safety of individuals are protected in your journalistic activity?


If you want to publish additional information, please provide it here.

VII. Compassion
We are not ghouls, bullies or vultures. All of us at The Colorado Sun got into journalism because we care about people, and we see our journalism as an important public service that we can contribute to our state. Those values, though, must be reflected in how we pursue stories and how we treat people while we do. The chase for news — even really, really important news — never justifies unconscionable actions. We must show compassion at all times.

Respect and harm
This is an ironclad promise: We treat the people we cover with basic human respect, and we seek to avoid causing undue harm in their lives. This is especially true when dealing with victims of crime or tragedy or with other people in distressing situations. Often, we encounter people at their worst moments in life. It is important to tell these stories, but it is also important to keep in mind that, when we’ve finished our reporting, we get to return home and our subjects may not. So we listen sincerely when people express their concerns about the news media’s behavior, and we take actions to change our coverage approach when appropriate because we shouldn’t make their situations any more miserable.

Many times, this is more difficult than it seems. Victims and others may be upset simply by the media’s presence or by a polite request for comment. This is understandable, and it should not prevent us from telling the stories that need to be told. But we must also keep in mind our duties to be professional, decent and compassionate.

We never threaten to report information that is upsetting to someone (such as details from an autopsy report or a police investigation) unless that person grants us an interview, and we never agree to withhold relevant, newsworthy information from a story in exchange for an interview or access.

We must remain mindful of the impact our coverage may have in the community at large. The urge to tell a gripping narrative should never outweigh the compassion we show to subjects. When reporting on suicides or mass murders, for instance, we take care not to tell the stories in ways that could inspire copycats, using the best evidence and guidelines available to make our decisions.

Individuals accused of wrongdoing
Respect is most easily shown to people experiencing hardship through no fault of their own, but we must remember that it extends to all people we cover. We are not vigilantes. We do not have to show sympathy for people accused of wrongdoing or provide them or their supporters with unlimited space in stories to excuse their actions. But we must treat them with the same fairness we would show anyone else as part of the practice of ethical journalism, while also making clear the consequences of those individuals’ alleged actions and telling the stories of those who were harmed by them.

This may seem inappropriate: Why should journalists treat accused murderers, swindlers and liars with fairness? Because history is filled with examples of journalists following public sentiment and condemning individuals who later turned out to be innocent or, at least, misrepresented.

And, even in cases where an individual is guilty, criminal trials have been overturned based on jurors’ exposure to prejudicial media coverage — thus impacting our public systems of accountability while also extending the wait for justice. This is not how we want to go down in history.

It does no one any good for journalists to rush to judgment or to lead the charge for condemnation. Even in the face of public pressure, we must adhere to our journalistic standards.

Treatment of public officials and media-savvy sources
Public officials and others who frequently interact with the media are entitled to be treated with respect, compassion and fairness just the same as anyone else. There are times, though, when media-savvy sources attempt to manipulate or stifle our coverage by accusing us of acting unethically when we are simply doing our job. We don’t let them get away with it.

Knocking on someone’s door or calling someone on the telephone to seek comment is good, persistent journalism and not unethical — so long as it is done during appropriate hours of the day and limited to a reasonable number of tries.

Our dogged reporting efforts must also be done in proportion to the magnitude of the story and the stature of the subject. In all situations, a person elected or seeking election to serve the public is not entitled to more privacy or deference than a member of the general public.

12.3. Independence and Sources

There should be guidelines on establishing relations with sources which protect the independence of the journalism.

Are there guidelines to ensure the independence of journalism relative to the sources for content?


12.4. Diversity of Sources

Editorial guidelines should ensure that a diversity of sources are consulted in producing journalistic content with adequate time for response.

Do the guidelines ensure that a diversity of sources is used in the production of your journalistic content?