Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Editorial standards and complaints

The New England Times is a proud member of the Local & Independent News Association (LINA) and have adopted the editorial standards of LINA.

The LINA editorial standards are:

1. Independence At all times, editorial content will not be influenced by any financial contributions or other considerations from outside entities.
Whenever advertising or other sponsored content is published, that content will be clearly labelled to distinguish it from the member’s own independent editorial content.

2. Accuracy Members aim to ensure that all editorial content is accurate and is presented in context.

3. Fairness Members are committed to the following hallmarks of fairness:

  • Providing a reasonable opportunity to respond where allegations or criticisms are made
  • Attributing information to its source wherever possible
  • Not plagiarising or misrepresenting the work of others
  • Informing those we approach or contact that we are journalists

4. Diversity Members aim to be relevant to the community they serve, and to include an appropriately wide diversity of voices, views and issues.

5. Harm and Offence While some content may offend, disturb or annoy, members aim to avoid unnecessary, excessive or gratuitous harm and offence to the extent compatible with their role as a source of public interest news.

6. Privacy Members have a privacy policy relating to the protection and management of any personally identifiable information gathered and/or shared via their platforms.

In addition, they are committed to ensuring that any content which intrudes into the private lives of individuals is appropriate and proportionate when balanced with the public interest in the disclosure of information and freedom of expression.

7. Moderation of comments

The publication encourages contributions and comments on stories. However, those comments should contribute to a civil conversation and they should not be abusive, contain personal attacks, be inflammatory, racist or profane. The publication reserves the right to make the decisions about which comments violate these ground rules and the broader editorial guidelines of LINA, and will moderate comments at its discretion.

8. Advertising

LINA members may accept advertising or sponsored content in a number of forms, including through paid business listings and display advertisements.
Where such advertising is accepted, it will be clearly labelled to distinguish it from editorial content.

9. Accountability and Corrections

Members make all reasonable efforts to abide by LINA’s editorial standards, and invite any community members who feel the standards have been breached to complain in writing.

Material complaints will be taken seriously, and any breaches of these standards will be acknowledged and corrections made.

Complaints Policy

We are committed to seeking and receiving feedback and complaints about our content and publication.

Any concerns raised in feedback or complaints will be normally be resolved within 28 days.

Individuals making complaints will be:

·      listened to, treated with respect by staff and actively involved in the complaint process where possible and appropriate, and

·      provided with reasons for our decision/s and any options for redress or review.

We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that people making complaints are not adversely affected because a complaint has been made by them or on their behalf.

We accept anonymous complaints if there is a compelling reason to do so and will carry out a confidential investigation of the issues raised where there is enough information provided.

If a person prefers or needs another person or organisation (e.g. advocate, family member, legal or community representative, member of Parliament) to assist or represent them in the making and/ or resolution of their complaint, we will communicate with them through their representative if this is their wish.

We will protect the identity of people making complaints where this is practical and appropriate.

Personal information that identifies individuals will only be disclosed or used by us as permitted under the relevant privacy laws, secrecy provisions and any relevant confidentiality obligations.

Complaining to us is free.

Objectivity and fairness

We will address each complaint with integrity and in an equitable, objective and unbiased manner.

We will ensure that the person handling a complaint is different from any staff member or journalist whose conduct or content is being complained about.

Complaints involving external parties

Where a complaint involves external parties, we will work with the other party/s where possible to ensure that communication with the person making a complaint and/or their representative is clear and coordinated.

Subject to privacy and confidentiality considerations, communication and information sharing between the parties will also be organised to facilitate a timely response to the complaint.

Managing unreasonable conduct by people making complaints

We are committed to being accessible and responsive to all people who approach us with feedback or complaints. At the same time our success depends on:

·      our ability to do our work and perform our functions in the most effective and efficient way possible

·      the health, safety and security of our staff, and

·      our ability to allocate our resources fairly across all the complaints we receive.

When people behave unreasonably in their dealings with us, their conduct can significantly affect the operation of our publication. As a result, we will take proactive and decisive action to manage any conduct that negatively and unreasonably affects us and will support our staff to do the same in accordance with this policy.

Complaint resolution

Our publication may assess the complaint as requiring no further action (for example, in cases where the complaint may be considered trivial, serial, or vexatious).

While we will consider the basis of all complaints, we may choose not to respond to complaints based solely on disagreement with the subject of a news story. We will respond to concerns about the delivery of our news content (for example, in cases where the complaint highlights inaccuracy, transparency concerns or incorrect image attribution).

Following consideration of the complaint and any investigation into the issues raised, we will contact the person making the complaint and advise them:

·      The remedy or resolution/s that we have agreed upon, if any,  such as a “take-down”, withdrawal, removal, clarification or apology, and

·      The reason/s for our decision.

We will keep records about how the complaint was managed, the outcome and resulting actions of the complaint, and a copy of the original story or social media post if relevant.

You can submit a complaint by emailing editor@netimes.com.au.