Ethics

Our statement of ethics is adapted from the Society of Professional Journalists, of which many of us are proud members in good standing.

We strongly believe that a free press is essential to a free state, and so we support the First Amendment to the Constitution, journalist shield laws that protect sources, laws that defend the right to know, such as Maine's Freedom of Access laws, and open meeting laws, as well as the federal Freedom of Information Act.

  • Reporting Truth: The role of journalists is to seek truth and report it. We will test the accuracy of information from all sources, seek out subjects of news stories and give them the opportunity to respond to allegations. We will identify sources wherever possible, and question sources' motives before promising anonymity. We will make certain that headlines and promotional material, graphics and photos are untouched except for cropping, and are representative of the story. We will use only original material or label non-original material clearly. We will support free access, and support open exchange of ideas. We will distinguish clearly news reporting from analysis and opinion.
  • Minimizing Harm: We will show sensitivity to groups that may be adversely affected by news reporting, especially those afflicted by grief or tragedy. We will protect the privacy of children under the age of 14 completely. We will not print the names of juvenile offenders or victims of sexual crimes. We will be extremely cautious about naming alleged offenders before trial, balancing the right of the public to know against the right of the alleged offender to receive a fair trial. 
  • Acting Independently: Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know. We will avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. We will remain free of associations and activities that may compromise our integrity or damage our credibility. We will hold no public office. Any in-kind donation will be clearly identified, including tickets to cultural events, restaurant meals for reviews, travel, and other related expenses. We will always disclose any conflict of interest.
  • Being Accountable: We will encourage dialogue with our readers, through commentary on our stories, letters to the editor and opportunities to respond to any news article through an opinion piece. We will correct factual errors promptly, expose poor journalistic practices in others, and hold ourselves to the same high standard that we hold others.
  • Acting In The Public Interest: We will serve the public interest in terms of both the types of stories we produce, as well as public events in which we participate. We expect to host candidate debates and other forums as an adjunct to our editorial mission.
  • Sunshine Ethics: Readers will know who and what the funding sources for the New Maine Times are at all times. As a nonprofit, the New Maine Times derives its funding from three sources:
    • Direct donations from readers like you
    • Corporate underwriting of specific missions such as Maine Money, Sustainable Maine, and Maine Culture
    • Foundational support    

We also accept in-kind support. We will post any and all funding or in-kind support received from any source on our Web site. You will be able to look at our funders and donors and decide for yourselves whether we are fulfilling our ethical obligation to you to create an inviolate separation between funding sources and editorial mission.