Is the Daily Planet part of the news media or part of the blogosphere? Where do our articles come from? Are they edited? What’s the difference between blog posts and articles? How do we distinguish between reporting and opinion? Here’s the inside story.
In our news columns, we republish news from our community media partners and we publish original TC Daily Planet stories. We also publish a third category of stories in the Free Speech Zone. Here’s what we do with each category:
1) Community media partners – We do not fact check or re-edit articles from our community media partners. If a byline reads, “by Charles Hallman, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder,” it was written for, edited by and originally published by the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, one of our community media partners. Our media partners edit and stand behind their own stories.
2) TC Daily Planet original stories – We edit and fact check original stories published under the TC Daily Planet byline. If a story’s byline reads, “by Sheila Regan, TC Daily Planet,” then that’s our story, written for the Daily Planet. We edit and fact-check our Daily Planet original stories.
We have guidelines for writers, which we send to them when they first inquire about writing for us, and we require them to furnish documentation with each story that they write.
3) We encourage reader contributions in a number of ways, and are working to make the website even more accessible for direct contributions. If an article submitted by a reader looks like something we would want to publish under our byline AND if we have time to edit it, we might publish it as “Special to the TC Daily Planet.” That might involve dialogue with the writer about sources, fact-checking, etc.
Most reader-submitted content ends up in our Free Speech Zone. These are submitted to us by readers, but not edited by the Daily Planet. We offer the Free Speech Zone as a free space for reader submissions, whether or not they meet journalistic standards. Some of these may be substantial news stories, but we just do not have the time to edit everything, and our byline goes only on edited stories. Each Free Speech Zone article is identified in the title, e.g., FREE SPEECH ZONE | LS Power natural gas power plant scheme going down in Chisago County, and carries this explanation in a sidebar:
FREE SPEECH ZONE
The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases.
Some articles do not make it into the Free Speech Zone. We don’t publish advertising or press releases or spam. We don’t publish personal attacks, hate speech, or writing that is possibly libelous or just plain crazy. (Those standards apply to our comment section, too.) Please note: MOST articles and MOST comments do get published.
We also focus on Minnesota content, which means that writers from New York or Los Angeles who send us their columns will be disappointed.
Blogs, opinions and reporting
We publish blogs and opinion articles as well as reported articles. If an article is more opinion than reporting (and that’s a judgment call), it may be published with an “OPINION” tag in the headline: for example, OPINION | Men need to weigh in on rape.
We have some blog partners, who have agreed to allow us to republish some of their posts. We also have a structure that allows any registered user to maintain a blog. From all of the blog posts published every day, we select some to feature on the front page. In the very near future, we will have an updated blog page that will list the most recently published blogs, whether or not they are feaured on the front page.
Finally, sometimes our writers have connections to stories and opinions about the news they cover. We do not disqualify them for that reason, but we do ask for transparency. We publish “Full disclosure” statements, identifying that relationship. Our guidelines tell writers:
We care about fairness and transparency. Personal perspective is good-but please identify your relationship with the story. For example: if you are writing a restaurant review, and the restaurant is owned by your cousin, say so. If you worked on Representative X’s campaign in the past, disclose that.
Want to write for us?
Anyone can submit articles and blogs – just register as a user (blue box, column 1) and then click on “write an article” or “post a blog entry.” If you’d like more participation, come to our classes or to our Monday writers’ groups.