BuzzFeed Friday published its Editorial Standards And Ethics Guide, and most of the guidelines will look familiar to journalists.
Spanning traditional topics like conflict of interest and newer media guidelines like selfie-snapping, BuzzFeed’s ethical standards look like those upheld by many journalism organizations, with a few twists. Here are some excerpts:
On the deletion of stories:
Editorial posts should never be deleted for reasons related to their content, or because a subject or stakeholder has asked you to do so.
On paying for interviews:
We do not pay sources for interviews. If an interview incurs costs to a source through travel or work compensation lost, we may be able to reimburse them, but check with your editor before agreeing to do so.
On providing advance questions:
Giving a subject a general sense of the direction of the interview is fine, but we should decline to provide questions to subjects in advance of an in-person interview.
On the use of graphic content:
Generally speaking, we will embed or link to the graphic content we are writing about. We have technical tools that give our readers the opportunity to opt in to view graphic content.
Swearing is OK:
Profanity: We speak the language of the internet — which is often hilarious and often profane. As such, profanity is permitted on BuzzFeed; but see the BuzzFeed Style Guide for more information on how to style it responsibly.
Don’t snap selfies with celebrities:
Selfies are fantastic and you should take them as often as possible with friends and loved ones. But when celebrity visitors come to a BuzzFeed office, please don’t ask for photographs unless the staffer who brought them in has checked that it’s OK.
On public activism:
But when it comes to activism, BuzzFeed editorial must follow the lead of our editors and reporters who come out of a tradition of rigorous, neutral journalism that puts facts and news first. If we don’t, it makes it harder for those reporters to do their jobs.
On political speech:
While we understand that many BuzzFeed editorial staffers are passionate and thoughtful and hold personal views on policy issues or candidates, we must maintain one blanket rule for all of editorial: Political partisanship may not be expressed in public forums, including Twitter and Facebook.
On potential conflicts of interest:
Our investors have no influence on our reporting, and reporters should not take any special note of investors’ views or interests.