This Code is designed to supplement The Influence Foundation’s Editorial Independence and Donor Transparency policies. The Influence Foundation (TIF) is a not-for-profit, charitable corporation, incorporated in New York in 2017. Our mission is to provide public education on and advocate through journalism for rational and compassionate approaches to drug use, drug policy and human rights.
The primary way in which the organization seeks to achieve this purpose is through operating Filter, TIF’s online journalistic publication, which is dedicated to the coverage of drug use, drug policy, human rights, harm reduction and related political, legal, cultural and scientific topics. Filter publishes a mix of investigative reports, analyses, essays, interviews, news items, original videos and other media content. It seeks to advocate for open-minded and evidence-based approaches to its subjects, and to encourage tolerance and rationality in conversations about these topics.
This mission inspires the values and guidelines set out in this Code of Ethics, which borrows generously from the policies set by other nonprofit news organizations like ProPublica, Marshall Project, Chalkbeat, the Texas Tribune and the Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal. This Code is not set in stone. We appreciate that circumstances may arise that may not be covered under this Code, in which case we will continue to learn and revise the Code.
TIF is financially supported by diversified sources, as detailed in our Donor Transparency Policy and listed on our funders page. We will disclose these relationships when we publish stories written by people who have supported us financially, or stories that use them as sources. Our donors and sponsors do not influence our writing, except to the extent that restricted grants may specify areas of coverage—though not any viewpoints expressed in that coverage—as detailed in our Editorial Independence Policy. Though donors may not be ideologically aligned with TIF, they support TIF’s mission.
1. Truthfulness and Accuracy
Reporting on Filter will be truthful and accurate. It is imperative that our readers can have faith that the information they are receiving is verified. We will therefore endeavor, as much as possible, to fact-check, and to cite primary sources of information. Any reader who identifies a factual error in Filter’s reporting can contact us according to our Corrections Policy. We will endeavor to promptly address and correct any error.
Filter will refrain, when possible, from using anonymous sources. If circumstances demand that we use anonymous sources, we will indicate why anonymity was necessary.
In addition to ensuring that our stories are accurate, Filter also takes seriously its commitment to fairness. Filter will endeavor, wherever possible, to allow the subjects of any allegations made in its reporting to contest those allegations. Filter will never intentionally omit facts of major importance or significance. Filter also strives, to the best of its ability, to identify any bias a source may have. Filter has no hidden agenda for the articles it publishes to advocate and educate. Any promotional materials, photos, audio, graphics or quotations will not be used in a misleading manner.
Filter will not stereotype anyone based upon race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
Filter’s writers may not author articles in which they have any personal or financial interest unless that interest is publicly disclosed. Additionally, any donors who contribute to TIF do so with the understanding that such donation does not entitle them to receive any preferential treatment, to have any special relationship with anyone at TIF or Filter, or to have any say in the nature of articles that are published. TIF/Filter will never knowingly misrepresent itself to obtain a story or source; we will always identify ourselves as The Influence Foundation or Filter.
3. Comprehensiveness and Plagiarism
Filter will always endeavor to verify its sources and to confirm facts. Filter takes seriously its duty to thoroughly research any topic before a story is published. Filter will endeavor, whenever possible, to seek verification from multiple sources to confirm claims. Filter will not knowingly convey any misleading or inaccurate information. In cases where personal details must be changed to preserve the necessary anonymity of a source, this will be disclosed.
Filter will not plagiarize. All Filter articles are the intellectual property of The Influence Foundation, except when Filter republishes articles from other sources, with permission, in which case this is disclosed. If Filter quotes or uses information from other sources, it will accordingly cite such sources and give due credit.
4. Gifts and Political Activities
Representatives of The Influence Foundation and Filter will not offer to sources, indirectly or directly, any gifts, entertainment, or reimbursements of expenses of more than nominal value. TIF/Filter representatives will also refuse all physical gifts of more than nominal value and any monetary gifts offered by sources. Any source who has donated $500 or more to The Influence Foundation will be identified as such in any article in which they appear.
While Filter’s articles, in expressing the opinions of the authors, may be viewed as political in nature or as favoring one political viewpoint over another, The Influence Foundation does not endorse any political party or candidate. Filter’s articles will not engage in direct calls to vote in a particular way, or to engage in any other direct political action.
The Influence Foundation will endeavor to promptly and thoroughly investigate and address any complaint regarding an alleged violation of this Code. Any questions or complaints should be addressed to Editor [at] Filtermag.org.
[This Code was adopted by the board of The Influence Foundation on July 23, 2019.]