Journalistic Standards

 

 

Statement of Principles

PressProgress is a non-profit Canadian news organization that produces original reporting and critical analysis on under-covered topics that matter to our progressive readership and serve the public interest.

Our reporting and analysis always aims to be accurate and reliable, responsibly communicated and dedicated towards making a positive social impact.

 


Priority Areas of Coverage

PressProgress was launched as a counter-balance to the concentration of corporate ownership in Canadian media and the growing influence of right-wing think tanks.

PressProgress is committed to producing accurate, responsibly reported information with a mandate to focus public attention on issues broadly relating to social and economic equality, environmental sustainability and democracy.

We aim to restore balance to Canada’s media landscape by reporting on issues often under-covered by for-profit media organizations and to critically engage with fiscal and social conservative actors and ideas.

Here are a few specific examples of areas of coverage we prioritize:

  • Fact-checking: We scrutinize statements made by politicians and voices in the media and expose bad ideas and misleading claims.
  • Countering online disinformation: We aim to keep Canadians’ social media feeds honest by monitoring and debunking disinformation and right-wing propaganda.
  • Labour reporting: We report on the efforts of workers to unionize. We also provide analysis on the impact of public policy choices on Canadian workers and their communities.
  • 21st century economy: We explore issues relating to the transforming face of workplaces, the growth of precarious and low-wage work and the intersection of economic inequalities with inequalities of race, gender and age.
  • Documenting hate and right-wing extremism: We monitor organized efforts to foment hate and divide Canadians, as well as shine a light on the spread of hateful ideologies from the far-right fringes into mainstream politics and media.

 


Public Interest Commitment

All stories published by PressProgress must meet a basic public interest test.

Our definition of “public interest” includes information that keeps citizens informed about their communities, alerts the public to things that may cause concern or raise questions about something that ought to be subject to democratic debate.

It also includes information that relates to Canada’s public institutions, elected officials, those seeking public office, as well as actors who seek to influence the political process, change laws or shape public opinion.

PressProgress respects the privacy of individuals and businesses and only reports on their activities when they are of clear interest to the public.

Matters of a personal, intimate or salacious nature generally would not align with our journalistic standards unless, under an exceptional circumstance, the public had a clear interest in receiving that information.

 


Labelling of Content

Casual readers who encounter our content come from different backgrounds, hold different understandings of standard journalistic practices and bring different expectations about what news should look like.

To help reduce misunderstandings, PressProgress clearly labels its content in order to communicate to readers what kind of news content they are consuming and to help differentiate between different modes of journalism.

Each article published by PressProgress is accompanied by a content label that is intended to help readers understand the purpose of the information they’re consuming.

Here is a list of content labels we use in our articles:

  • News: Articles that document a significant happening or development that has been previously unreported. These articles typically prioritize verifying and contextualizing newly reported information.
  • Analysis: Articles that offer a critical or contextual examination of a set of established facts or data.
  • Fact-Check: Articles that scrutinize the accuracy of a specific statement or claim.
  • Explainer: Articles that explain an issue or how something works.
  • News Brief: Short articles aggregated from other sources, with additional context and analysis included.
  • Video / Audio: Article relating to a media clip.
  • Exclusive / New: Articles that feature original reporting that is of significant news value.

In an effort to prevent old articles being mistaken as new, PressProgress also adds a yellow label to any story that is more than one month old to alert readers to the age of our articles to caution them before they share it.

 


Trustworthy Practices and Actionable Feedback

The rise of digital technology and social media over the last two decades has led to a corresponding erosion of trust in traditional institutions and skepticism about the information Canadians’ consume on a daily basis.

PressProgress was founded, in part, as a response to misleading information in Canada’s traditional broadcast media. We recognize the increased importance of taking additional steps to demonstrate our commitment to trustworthy practices.

Here are a few steps PressProgress takes to strengthen trust with news readers:

  • Transparency: Our website and individual articles provide the public with information about our news organization, our ownership structure, as well as our journalistic practices, ethical principles and verification practices.
  • Points of contact: Our website and individual articles provide the public with with clearly marked channels to report errors, offer feedback or communicate directly with our team. Our website also includes a general contact page with a user-friendly form allowing the public to contact our team about general questions, media inquiries, donation inquiries or general feedback.
  • Reporting errors: Each individual article includes a clearly-marked button at the bottom of the page for readers to report errors directly to our news team. Following an error submission, readers receive an automated e-mail response acknowledging receipt of their e-mail and additional info on how to contact PressProgress.
  • Correction notices: When a correction has been issued, a correction notice along with a brief explanation is included on individual articles.
  • Article labels: Individual articles are labelled in order to communicate the purpose of the article and help readers differentiate between different modes of journalism.
  • Labelling old articles: Individual articles are programmed to display a yellow label indicating that it is more than one month old in order to prevent old articles from being shared by readers who mistake them as new.
  • Secure tips: Our website includes a secure tips page that solicits story ideas from the public and offers a secure channel to send confidential information through untraceable and anonymous messages.

 


Verification and Sourcing

A commitment to truth, accuracy and expertise is one of the core principles that guides the journalism of PressProgress.

Here are a few of the steps we take to verify and demonstrate the accuracy of our information:

  • Independent verification: We take reasonable and responsible steps to independently verify the accuracy of information we publish. This may involve extensive research, double-checking information, corroborating with source documents or consulting individuals with expertise or direct information on the subject-matter. We may also share background or technical details of a story with a primary source or outside experts before publication to verify its accuracy.
  • Independent verification of media clips: We exercise due diligence to verify the authenticity of any media clips or images we obtain and ensure they have not been altered or manipulated.
  • Editorial review: Our articles are typically reviewed by one or two editors before they are published. This review scrutinizes the strength of the reporting, double-checks facts and numbers, evaluates the quality and credibility of sources and makes edits with an eye to strengthening the quality and readability of the story.
  • Additional review: Depending on the unique circumstances of each story, PressProgress may subject stories to a more rigorously structured fact-checking process or seek legal advice on our reporting before it is published

Here are some of our policies on sources:

  • Credible sources: We only rely on credible sources of information for our reporting and analysis, prioritizing information sourced from public records, academic sources and first-hand accounts from individuals with relevant expertise or experience to speak on a given subject.
  • Open sourcing: Wherever possible, we show full or partial excerpts of the primary documents or media clips relied on in our reporting. We also offer supplementary links so readers can assess the quality of the information we rely on in our reporting for themselves or learn more about related topics.
  • Original sourcing: When a significant item of information is exclusively reported by PressProgress, we identify ourselves as the original source of that information and may provide a brief explanation as to how we obtained and verified that information.
  • Unnamed sources: We may cite unnamed sources when that information is important, credible and can’t be obtained any other way. When we do use an unnamed source, we will take additional steps to verify or corroborate their information and do not use unnamed sources to share gossip or pure opinion. Anonymity is granted to allow sources to speak openly about sensitive topics, particularly if they could face consequences or threats of retribution for speaking with a journalist.

 


Corrections and Clarifications

Our commitment to accuracy is backed-up by policies aimed at strengthening the quality of the information we publish – and that includes a system for correcting the record in a timely manner if and when inaccuracies or errors are discovered.

Here’s how PressProgress issues corrections and clarifications:

Correction requests: To notify PressProgress about any concerns relating to the accuracy of our reporting, use the “report an error” form that appears at the bottom of each article or contact our editorial team directly by e-mail at this e-mail address:

corrections@pressprogress.ca

Please note that as a policy, we will not consider requests for corrections unless they are submitted through either of the two formal channels listed above. In particular, we do not have the capacity to monitor, assess or respond to correction requests issued on social media.

When submitting a correction request, please:

  • Communicate your concern clearly and succinctly.
  • Identify the error and provide an explanation for why it is inaccurate along with any relevant information that helps us independently verify your claims.
  • Focus your request on material facts rather than matters of opinion.
  • Be polite and do not include off-topic diatribes or abusive and accusatory language, as this will undermine the credibility of your correction request and could be interpreted as a vexatious or unserious request.

Correction review: After receiving a formal request for correction, our editors will review the request, assess the claims and make an independent determination as to whether or not to update the story or issue a correction.

If our review determines there were any inaccuracies in our reporting, we will take action to correct the record as quickly as possible.

We do not have the capacity to respond directly to each correction request and will only do so if we require additional information.

Correction Notices: We generally issue several types of correction notices that are determined on a case-by-case basis according to the following criteria:

  • Clarifications: We may issue this notice at the bottom of an article when the information is factually correct, but it may have been ambiguously worded, open to multiple interpretations or required additional details.
  • Corrections: We may issue this notice at the bottom of an article in situations where information that is relevant and material to a key factual point in the article is inaccurate.
  • Editor’s Note or update: We may issue an “editor’s note” or “update” notice at the bottom of an article to inform readers of new developments or newly surfaced information that is relevant or material to our reporting shortly following publication of the story. We would include these notices on the top of the page if a significant revision has been made to a published article as a result of newly surfaced information or a major development in the story.
  • Retractions: We would only consider removing an article under extraordinary circumstances if the central focus of a story was substantially false. Retracted articles would be replaced with a note indicating it was removed.
  • Minor revisions: We may make small revisions to address typos, grammatical errors, unclear language and other changes after an article has been published without issuing any formal notice in situations where the information is of low significance or is immaterial to key factual points in our reporting.

 


Brand-as-Byline Policy

Bylines, or the author names that appear on an news article, are issued to reporters on the basis of making substantial contributions to an original report.

Traditionally, many newspaper articles did not carry bylines until the 20th century. Today, some mainstream publications like The Economist carry on this tradition.

Unlike larger Canadian news organizations, PressProgress does not use bylines as a matter of policy because our reporting typically relies on the collaborative efforts of a small team of reporters and editors – our published work represents our collective voice.

Editors and reporters for PressProgress are listed on our masthead.

All news content published by PressProgress is the original work of PressProgress’ dedicated team and is produced according to PressProgress‘ ethics statement and journalistic standards. PressProgress does not publish material produced by anyone external to our news organization.

 


Responsible Social Media Practices

As a digital journalism project, one of PressProgress‘ core ethical principles is that information should be made accessible to popular audiences.

Here are a few examples of steps we take to strengthen trust in the quality of the information we publish on our social media channels:

  • Content posted on PressProgress’ social channels relies on the same editorial and verification processes as information published in our news articles.
  • All content posted on our social channels include the PressProgress logo in order to identify PressProgress as the original source of the content and to limit the possibility of content being repurposed and used out-of-context.
  • As a matter of policy, PressProgress does not share, retweet or amplify original content produced by third parties that has not been independently verified.
  • We will share, retweet or amplify third parties when they reference our work, provided that they are describing facts published in our article or are offering fair commentary based on the facts.
  • Quotations, factual claims or statistics that appears on social content will be accompanied by citations indicating the source of that information.
  • Social content will include links to independently verified PressProgress articles or credible sources containing corroborating information wherever possible.

For more info on our social media practices, please see our privacy policy.