Vertical Media GmbH has decided to make his principles and guidelines for business conduct and journalistic independence transparent. The following principles and guidelines reflect the stance of the media company in all areas. They are the basis for the work of all employees in all parts of the company and ensure the quality of all the products formed at Vertical Media. Click here for the company’s principles.
Guidelines for journalistic independence at Vertical Media
The staff at Vertical Media GmbH are committed to publishing independent and critical journalism. In order to make this transparent, the following guidelines for journalistic work were made.
The guidelines to journalistic independence for Vertical Media GmbH were developed in 2013 and apply to all publications from the publishing house. The guidelines present and extend the understanding of Vertical Media GmbH and are in alliance with the publishing principles of the Pressekodex from the German Press Council.
The guidelines create the parameters for independent and critical journalism. For the adherence to and implementation of the guidelines in day-to-day business, the whole editorial team is responsible, though the Editor-in-Chief bears additional responsibility. The guidelines address the distinction between advertisements and editorial texts, ensure independence from shareholders, emphasise the separation of the private and business interests of the journalists, prevent personal advantage and outline how to deal with sources.
In Principle 7 of the Pressekodex, publishers and journalists are encouraged to make a clear distinction between journalistic texts and content with advertising purposes. Principle 7 provides more information about the advertising regulations for paid publications.
The journalists at Vertical Media GmbH ensure, along with the publishing house, that a clear distinction between advertisements and editorial content is made. Advertisements are not allowed to use their design (the image in general or components of it) to give the impression that they are editorial content stemming from the publication.
This applies to merchandising, sales and media partnerships, all social media channels used by Vertical Media GmbH, and the newsletter. Advertisements, promotional formats, or other advertising products from the media house will be identified in the following ways:
- On our own behalf
- Media cooperation
- Powered/Sponsored by
All journalists must avoid attempts to influence editorial content by advertising customers or interested parties. Further, they must make no agreements that could affect their journalistic independence. The editorial staff are also prohibited from making advertising customers editorial promises.
Private and commercial interests
The responsibility of the press to the public is to ensure that published material is by no account influenced by the private or business interests of third parties, nor by the personal or business interests of the journalist.
This article is addressed and defined in Principles 6 and 7 of the Pressekodex.
The journalists at Vertical Media GmbH
- Do not report about individuals that are close to them, such as family, in text or pictures. Exceptions can at times be made when the facts of the article are cleared with management.
- Do not use their editorial work to gain advantages for themselves or for others.
- Agree to remain true to their journalistic responsibilities when the neutrality of an article is threatened, for example through their membership to a department or a mandate in an association, party or union or other institutions, a relationship to people or institutions, a holding in a business or through permitted additional work. If this is not possible, the report will be written by another journalist.
- Follow the legal and ethical obligations in regards to insider information set out by the Deutsche Presserat in the publication “Journalistic code of conduct for insider and other information with potential affects on security”.
- Are obligated to make all editorial decisions independent from political, economic or other influences. The editorial team does not bend to pressure from any third party.
- Strive for objectivity and neutrality through language and range of news.
Invitations, presents and press trips
Principle 15 of the Pressekodex concentrates on the threat to independent journalistic work through accepting personal advantages. Even the appearance that the impartiality of the journalist’s decision-making could be affected through the granting of initiations or presents is to be avoided.
The journalists at Vertical Media GmbH
- Are obligated to ensure that all costs (e.g. travel costs, hotels) that arise through their work are carried by the editorial department. Exceptions to this rule must always be discussed and cleared by the Editor-in-Chief. This must also be made clear in any coverage of the event the journalist publishes.
- Are compelled not to accept any presents that have a personal advantage. If acceptance is unavoidable, the present must be given to the publishing house, which will then distribute the gift to a charitable cause.
Dealings with sources
To ensure that the reputation of journalism and the press in general is upheld, journalists at Vertical Media GmbH must make the duty of care to all sources the highest priority. In addition to the legal rules, Principle 2 of the Pressekodex also includes points for working with sources.
The journalists at Vertical Media GmbH ensure, even in cases with time pressure, that they gain authorisation for interviews or quotes from the contact either in oral or written form. Exceptions apply only when there are other documented arrangements.
All information from sources is checked for accuracy and truth with great diligence. The information may never be twisted or altered to have another meaning in the article. The journalists at Vertical Media GmbH are obliged to check all sources, along with pictures.
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Vertical Media and Copyright
How does our copyright law affect our readers, other bloggers and users of VentureVillage? Our parent company, online publishing house Vertical Media, iexplains its stance on the matter
Copyright– what does it mean for you, our readers?
Countless publishing houses have been vocally involved in the debate on copyright law and been quick to draw positions on the subject. VentureVillage’s publisher, Vertical Media, has consciously avoided joining in on the political discussion in ublic, as have a number of other publishing houses. We felt that openly taking part could have endangered the independent journalism of the Vertical Media staff.
Our company was inspired by the open position taken by the Heise publishing house and we also want to react to the questions coming in to us on our copyright law. We have decided to take this opportunity to make our position on copyright transparent. What are we allowed to do with links and quotes and what aren’t we allowed to do?
Freedom of reporting
As a trade publishing house for the digital economy, we want to make one thing clear: at the core of good online journalism is the freedom of the press and the ability for journalists to wok independently. This always applies at VentureVillage, regardless of the economic interests of our parent company.
Good online journalism also lives from information from social networks, from quotes on other media sources and from attributing articles on other websites. This is what both our readers and we ourselves profit from as this is the only way well-rounded debate on controversial topics is fostered.
But this doesn’t change our copyright law. Short texts and snippets from our online magazine can from now on be used by other sites as long as they link to our publication. There is no need to ask permission or to buy a licence. This is the only way that online journalism can use the advantages of the internet, only by fostering collaboration can we form an online network.
Sharing is the lifeblood of the internet
The use of our titles, or of teasers, is allowed when a link to the article on our site is included and we are named in full. This allows the original producer of these thoughts to be duly credited. One thing remains clear: as in the past, we won’t accept third parties taking over sizable text passages or whole article, nor do we allow the use of our work as advertising material (without prior agreement).
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All images in this article are subject to the Creative-Commons-Lizenz (credit - no editing, CC BY-ND , link to the legally-binding license agreement). Excluded are pictures that are labelled differently, including from Panthermedia, Fotolia, Pixelio, Morguefile, along with press photos or publishers' own visual material.