A few weeks ago, I participated in a focus group with a number of healthcare executives. One executive said that when he reads Modern Healthcare, he knows that what he's reading is accurate. He said he never questions the veracity of what we report, and the other executives, one after another, agreed with him. There is no finer music to a journalist's ear.
Modern Healthcare's reputation is built on the credibility of its editorial products and the integrity of the people who work for the magazine and all its related publications. In that spirit, we annually publish our Editorial Code of Ethics. We tell our readers exactly where we stand and how we go about our business of gathering and disseminating news and information.
This year, we've updated the code by adding sections on access to the editorial staff, source attribution and prepublication review, and we expanded our section on advertorials. The revisions are included in the statement below. The updated code also can be found here. Please contact me directly with any comments, criticisms or suggestions on our editorial policies.
-David Burda, editor
Modern Healthcare's Editorial Code of Ethics
The mission of Modern Healthcare and all its publications, both in print and electronically, is to provide readers with essential healthcare business news and information that help them successfully manage their organizations. To ensure the credibility of that news and information, members of the magazine's editorial staff adhere to the following Editorial Code of Ethics:
* Access. The editorial staff determines who has access to the staff. In determining that access, the editorial staff will not discriminate based on a source's status as an advertiser or potential advertiser. Access to the staff will not be a stated or implied condition of a business arrangement with an advertiser or potential advertiser.
* Advertorials. All advertorials will be clearly labeled as a "Special Advertising Section" or "Special Advertising Supplement." The labels will appear on each page of the section or supplement. All advertorials will be distinct in design so readers don't confuse them with editorial content. No member of the editorial staff may be involved in the research, writing, design or production of advertorials.
* Attribution. Modern Healthcare prefers on-the-record sources. Reporters may conduct not-for-attribution or background interviews at their own discretion. Information from those interviews may be published and attributed to persons who are not identified by name or title. Reporters are discouraged from conducting off-the-record interviews when that information may not be used. Reporters may cite confidential sources in a story with the editor's permission, and all confidential sources must be disclosed to the editor. Sources are confidential for the magazine and all its publications, not for the individual reporter.
* Conflicts. Editorial staff members and their family members should avoid conflicts of interest, such as investments in or working for organizations or companies covered by the magazine. Editorial staff members must disclose such conflicts to senior editors for resolution and possible disclosure to readers.
* Favors, food, gifts and trips. Editorial staff members will not accept favors, food or gifts from sources or potential sources unless they are unsolicited and of nominal value. Editorial staff members will not accept free trips from sources or potential sources.
* Freelancing. With permission from senior editors, editorial staff members may work for other publications as long as the other publications do not compete with Modern Healthcare or another publication published by Modern Healthcare's parent company, Crain Communications; the work is done on the staff member's own time; and the work is not commissioned by an organization or company covered by the magazine.
* Plagiarism. Plagiarism is prohibited. Information used from other sources will be appropriately attributed.
* Prepublication review. Prepublication review of draft or completed editorial content by sources is strictly prohibited. The prohibition does not apply to fact-checking. At their discretion, reporters may read quotes back to sources to ensure their accuracy before publication.
* Speaking engagements. No member of the editorial staff may accept a fee or honorarium for any form of speaking engagement, including speeches, panel discussions or hosting an event. The prohibition applies to speaking engagements performed during the workweek as well as those completed after hours or on weekends or holidays. Unsolicited gifts of appreciation and of nominal value may be accepted for speaking engagements. At the discretion of senior editors, reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred by the magazine or the editorial staff member in connection with a speaking engagement may be accepted. Those expenses include food, lodging and travel.
* Sponsored editorial content. One or more advertisers may sponsor editorial content as long as the editorial staff controls the content. Sponsors will have no control over the editorial content. The names and/or logos of sponsors will not appear on the cover of such editorially controlled content. Sponsors may receive an acknowledgment, including logos, on the first available inside editorial page of an editorially controlled special section or supplement.