Editorial guidelines

Background and General Principles

The core purpose of Central Coast Newspapers (CCN) is to publish high-quality, independent, public interest news journalism for the Central Coast region and its constituent catchment areas with a desire to strengthen the area’s sense of community.

The origins of our publications are unique with a strong focus on local issues, broad coverage of news, community announcements and public notices (beyond local police and court reports) and a high ratio (60% or more) of news content to advertising material.

In addition to these guidelines, CCN develops and publishes all content in accordance Australian Press Council guidelines.

Relevance and readability

To qualify for publication, articles must have specific relevance to the postcode areas covered by each newspaper, that is, they must be about activities or events that have happened, or which are happening in (or involve people from) those areas.

The newspapers are not national in nature, so national (or global) issues will generally not be canvassed, except as they affect one of the areas covered by one of the papers.

Our papers actively encourage all groups and individuals on the Central Coast to contribute their news, opinions and items of interest for publication, including Letters to the Editor displayed in our “Forum” section – all Letters to the Editor must include a full name and suburb to be published and are subject to these guidelines and our final editorial discretion.

To ensure that each newspaper serves its purpose, all content must be readable including coherent writing, good spelling and grammar.

Accuracy, fairness and balance

CCN seeks to ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading, and distinguishable from other material that contains opinion or promotional content.

In most cases, CCN provide “source lines” to all news items to identify the primary sources of information and to show readers where they go to validate the information or seek additional information, where this is not otherwise embedded within the story itself.

Where an error is made, CCN will provide a correction (and apology where appropriate) in subsequent editions.

CCN journalists are required to report news without fear or prejudice and are not permitted to incorporate their own (social, political) biases and opinions. More generally, we seek to ensure factual material is presented with reasonable fairness and balance including multiple external perspectives.

Highly offensive, discriminatory or defamatory content is not permitted. Where content refers adversely to a person or other entity, journalists are required to invite a response from the person affected and/or to provide a fair opportunity for reply.

Privacy

CCN seeks to comply with all Australian laws and regulations with respect to protecting people’s privacy and, more generally, we seek to avoid excessive intrusion into people’s private affairs or causing distress or harm, except where there is a clear public-interest case.

We also seek to avoid publishing material gathered by deceptive or unfair means and ensure that any conflicts of interests are avoided or adequately disclosed.

In gathering news, we generally seek to identify ourselves at the outset of any interactions and only use personal information for the purpose of delivering public interest journalism except in some circumstance, for instance, where journalist are seeking to expose crime, misconduct, public deception or some other matter in the public interest.

Our privacy guidelines apply to public figures although we note that public figures necessarily sacrifice their right to privacy, where public scrutiny is in the public interest.

We undertake our best endeavours to ensure that the personal information we collect is accurate, complete and up-to-date and is stored in a way that prevents it from misuse, loss, or unauthorised access.

See also our online Privacy Policy via www.coastcommunitynews.com.au

Anonymity of sources

The identity of confidential sources are not revealed, and as far as practicable, we will ensure that any personal information derived from such sources does not identify the source.