The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black



We at the Scarlet & Black strive to be a reflection of our community, an important source of fact-based information, a leader when possible and to do this work so that faculty, staff, students and those interested in Grinnell have access to a true representation of our community. 

We aim to never misrepresent who we are, nor the people whom we interview. We remain dedicated to providing honest coverage of events, trends and issues that affect Grinnell residents. We strive to balance the public’s need for information. It is against our practice to cause harm with inaccurate, incomplete or misleading reporting that does not include context that addresses the public’s right to know, and in any case of mistakes or misjudgment, we will denote and rectify any errors as quickly as possible. 

We will not operate in conflicts of interest, but if it is unavoidable in news coverage, we will be transparent about that conflict and will note it in our published stories. For example, the S&B staff is represented by the Union for Grinnell Student Dining Workers, but we are dedicated to providing fair coverage of union events, including collective bargaining with Grinnell College. As a student newspaper on a small campus, reporting on issues in the community inevitably touches our own lives as students and members of that community, but we remain dedicated to accurate and fair coverage. 

We respect the responsibility we hold, and we do not take lightly the influence we have by publishing about our community. Above all, we are dedicated to learning and improving our journalistic practices. 

Additionally, we adhere in general to the principles outlined in the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, as well as the National Press Photographers Association. An abridged list can be found below:


Seek Truth and Report It

Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:

  • Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story. 
  • Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources. 
  • Consider sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Explain why anonymity was granted. 
  • Support the open and civil exchange of views. 
  • Provide access to source material when it is relevant and appropriate. 
  • Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience. Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear. 
  • Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting. 
  • Never plagiarize. Always attribute. 


Minimize Harm

Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.

Journalists should:

  • Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness. 
  • Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage. Use heightened sensitivity when dealing with juveniles, victims of sex crimes and sources or subjects who are inexperienced or unable to give consent. Consider cultural differences in approach and treatment. 


Act Independently

The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.

Journalists should:

  • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts. 


Be Accountable and Transparent

Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.

Journalists should:

  • Explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content. 
  • Respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness.
  • Acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently. Explain corrections and clarifications carefully and clearly. 
  • Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations. 
  • Abide by the same high standards they expect of others. 


Visual journalists operate as trustees of the public. Our primary role is to report visually on the significant events and varied viewpoints in our common world. Our primary goal is the faithful and comprehensive depiction of the subject at hand. As visual journalists, we have the responsibility to document society and to preserve its history through images.

Visual journalists and those who manage visual news productions are accountable for upholding the following standards in their daily work:

  • Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.
  • Be complete, and provide context when photographing or recording subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to avoid presenting one’s own biases in the work.
  • Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects, and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see.
  • Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.
  • Strive to be unobtrusive and humble in dealing with subjects.


First published on April 10, 2023 at 7:45 a.m.

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