Table of Contents, Bad News and Good Judgment

Introduction: Connecting with readers

Chapter 1: Foundation of the community press
Reporting all the news — good and bad — is the community newspaper’s mission.

Chapter 2: Developing a policy and making it known
Making the right decisions regarding sensitive stories is easier if you have policies in place.

Chapter 3: Reporting suicides
Coverage of suicides requires careful reporting and writing.

Chapter 4: Reporting sexual abuse cases
Aggressiveness is a prized reporter’s skill, but journalists must show respect to the subjects of their stories.

Chapter 5: Reporting suspensions of high school athletes
Sports coverage is vital to a community newspaper, and suspensions of athletes cannot be ignored.

Chapter 6: Publishing photos of fatal accident scenes
Accidents are news and must be reported. But editors need to be sensitive to how photos of accidents appear in the newspaper.

Chapter 7: Covering business
Editors should establish and communicate policies early about what is news and what is advertising.

Chapter 8: Everyday decisions
Editorials, obituaries, police reports and many other everyday elements of newspapers require carefully made ethics policies.

Chapter 9: Gathering the tough news
Newspapers have the right to see sensitive public records, but laying the groundwork in advance will make their pursuit much easier.

Chapter 10: Rights and responsibilities
Four case studies illustrate the balancing act between informing the public and affecting the people involved.

Chapter 11: Explaining newsroom decisions
Policies need to be explained to readers to be effective. This chapter includes a collection of columns written about one newspaper’s decision-making process.

Chapter 12: Sample policies
This chapter offers a collection of policies about a variety of sensitive issues that can be adapted to fit any newspaper.