1. Background and General Principles

1.1 The core purpose of NovoNews (NN) is to publish high-quality, independent, public interest news journalism for the Newcastle City region and its surrounding suburbs with a concurrent desire to strengthen the area’s sense of community.

1.2 The origins of our publications are unique with a strong focus on local issues, broad coverage of news, community events, announcements, and feature/editorial publications ideally, a high ratio (of 60% or more) of news content to advertising material.

1.3 In addition to these guidelines, NN endeavours to develop and publish all content in accordance with Australian Press Council guidelines.

2. Relevance, Readability and Structure

2.1 To qualify for publication for NN’s print edition, articles must have specific relevance to the suburbs covered, that is, they must be about activities or events that have happened, or which are happening in (or involve people from) those areas, or which will likely be of interest or importance to readers in those areas.

2.2 Our news is not national in nature and, therefore, national issues will generally not be canvassed, except if it affects one of the areas covered by NN.

2.3 Our platform actively encourages all groups and individuals in the Newcastle City area to make public contributions of news, opinions, and items of interest for publication, including Letters to the Editor, opinion pieces, editorial pieces, and reviews.

2.4 All Letters to the Editor will include a full name, suburb and date sent to be published and will be subject to these guidelines and our final editorial discretion.

2.5 NN ensures that all content is readable including coherent writing, good spelling and grammar, with a focus on avoiding common flaws such as long and convoluted sentences, no sequiturs and/or words and phrases with ambiguous meaning.

2.6 Our journalists seek to identify the component of the news report that is most “newsworthy” and capture this in the introduction of the story (which will typically be displayed in bold font) and typically used to determine the best heading for the story in the final layout.

2.7 All stories are reviewed for completeness and sensibility, presented in a logical sequence of statements and arguments and, where appropriate, cross-referenced with prior stories on the same or similar topic.

3. Accuracy and Balance

3.1 NN seeks to ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading, and distinguishable from other material that contains opinion or promotional content.

3.2 Where possible, all public announcements, amounts, dates, and specific events are crosschecked or validated by reliable sources or documents.

3.3 NN is a news publisher and does not put itself forward as an expert or authority on any matter – accordingly, the contents of stories incorporate the facts of a story, including what others have written or said, with attribution, in relation to it.

3.4 More generally, NN journalists report news without fear or prejudice and are not permitted to incorporate their own political or ideological biases and opinions, but instead are required to present material with reasonable fairness and balance including multiple external perspectives.

4. Source Lines and Attribution

4.1 NN will only provide “source lines” after a story where the story has been largely gathered from another source, including media releases with minimal changes – the source line, in this case, includes the nature of the source, [e.g. Media Release], the date issued and the name of the issuer and does not include the journalist’s name. However NN does conduct check sources are bona-fide organisations and accurate.

4.2 Where stories are based on, or refer extensively to, external material including reports, surveys, media releases or other news services, but otherwise include a significant amount of journalist-generated content, a reference to source(s) is typically set out within the story itself so that it is clear which information has been obtained from that source and the story will conclude with the (lead) journalist’s name.

4.3 It is not a requirement for NN to provide a full reference to the source material to enable readers to locate that source material and/or otherwise validate the information included in the story, but journalists may do so if and where appropriate.

4.4 Comments from people interviewed in respect of a story are included selectively at journalists discretion and attributed via double quotation marks, noting that it is common practice for journalists to revise the language used, upon confirming the meaning of the comments with the person interviewed, to ensure succinctness, clarity, and coherency.

4.5. Journalists typically avoid partial quotes or quotes embedded into a broader sentence which may distort a reader’s interpretation of the meaning of the comment.

4.6 Anonymous material is never published except in exceptional circumstances and only where approved by the Editor in Chief and only after journalists have verified the existence of a source as a real person.

4.9 NN recognises that some people may seek to manipulate public opinion to their own ends and may attempt to hide behind anonymity and, accordingly, wherever a source refers to a statement or action (or inaction) of others, particularly government authorities or businesses, journalists will contact the authority or business representative to validate the information.

5. Images

5.1 Where possible, all stories submitted for editing are accompanied by a (high-resolution) image that captures the essence of the story in whole or in part, preferably in landscape format.

5.2 Images are generally accompanied by a suitable caption, including the names of people who are clearly the subject of the image.

5.3 Journalists are required to check the source of the image and verify that it may be published without limitation or cost and, where required, include a credit to the photographer .

6. Digital publication

6.1 Digital publication of articles do not always synchronize with stories in the print editions for reasons relating to timing, duplication or, in some cases, specific exclusion.

6.2 Digital publication is by default on our website unless otherwise agreed.

6.3 All articles will have an appropriate image associated with them.

6.4 Each article will include appropriate metadata such as geographic location, category, subject tags, URLs to reference material, etc.

6.5 Corrections to digital articles are possible and encouraged in the case of spelling, grammar etc and any substantial omissions or additions (relative to an earlier print version) will be noted and dated at the base of the revised article.

6.6 Advertising content may be embedded or otherwise incorporated into the digital version of a story at the Publisher’s sole discretion.

7. Errors

7.1. Where an error is made, NN will provide a correction (and apology where appropriate) in subsequent editions and in any online version of the story.

7.2. Highly offensive, discriminatory, or defamatory content is not permitted -where content refers adversely to a person or other entity, journalists are required to invite a response from the person affected and/or to provide a fair opportunity for reply.

8. Privacy and Anonymity

8.1. NN seeks to comply with all Australian laws and regulations with respect to protecting people’s privacy and, more generally, we seek to avoid excessive intrusion into people’s private affairs or causing distress or harm, except where there is a clear public-interest case.

8.2. NN seeks to avoid publishing material gathered by deceptive or unfair means and ensure that any conflicts of interests are avoided or adequately disclosed.

8.3. In gathering news, employees of NN will seek to identify themselves at the outset of any interaction and will only use other people’s personal information for the purpose of delivering public interest journalism except in some specific circumstance, for instance, where journalists are seeking to expose crime, misconduct, public deception, or some other matter in the public interest.

8.4. Where personal information is used for the purposes described in 8.3 above, journalists may only do so in consultation with the Editor-in-Chief (or Publisher).

8.5. NN’s privacy guidelines apply to public figures, although we note that public figures necessarily sacrifice their right to privacy, where public scrutiny is in the public interest.

8.6. NN uses its best endeavours to ensure personal information collected is accurate, complete and up-to-date and is stored in a way that prevents it from misuse, loss, or unauthorised access.

8.7. The identity of confidential sources is not revealed, and as far as legally practicable, we will ensure that any personal information derived from such sources does not identify the source.

See also our online Privacy Policy