Policies and Standards
- Mission Statement
- Ethics Policy
- Policy on Sources
- Verification and Fact-checking Standards
- Corrections Policy
- Diversity Policy
- Diversity Staffing Report
- Reader Engagement and Feedback
- Commenting Rules
- Ownership Structure and Publications
- The Trust Project
Additional Information and Policies:
Our mission is to inform Bay Area communities by telling accurate and compelling stories that make an impact.
The Bay Area News Group is committed to the highest ethical standards. Fairness and accuracy are among our core values. But nothing stands above the need to maintain our integrity. The public’s trust — our most important asset — depends on it.
The Bay Area News Group’s ethics policy covers fairness and accuracy in reporting; use of unidentified sources; quotations and attribution; bylines, datelines and credit lines; meals, tickets and travel; and gifts and sample products.
The ethics policy also addresses credibility and conflicts of interest. Staff members should avoid online and real-world activities that could conflict with their jobs. The policy covers financial holdings; freelancing; use of company property while freelancing; radio and television; honorariums; connections; and relationships.
To read our full editorial ethics policy please click here.
Policy on sources
We attribute information to unnamed sources only when news value warrants and it cannot be obtained any other way.
When forced to rely on unnamed sources, we avoid letting them be the sole basis for a story. We do not allow unnamed sources to make personal attacks.
We describe the unnamed source in as much detail as possible to indicate the source’s credibility. Simply attributing a comment to “a source” is inadequate.
Additionally, whenever possible readers are told the reason the source requested or was given anonymity.
A reporter must identify any unnamed source to his or her editor, and the editor must bring the story to a senior editor for discussion and approval.
To the extent possible, we apply our own standards regarding unnamed sources when we publish stories produced by other news organizations, wire services, blogs or independent journalists. If these stories conflict with our policy on unattributed sources, we try to contact the originating news agency for more information. When we rely on information distributed via social media, we verify the identity of the poster.
Quotations and attribution
Quotations are always to be the exact words that someone spoke, with the exception of minor corrections in grammar and syntax. Parentheses and ellipses within quotations are rarely appropriate and can almost always be avoided.
We generally explain when a quote was received in a manner other than an interview: via e-mail, in a prepared statement, in a televised press conference. If we conduct an interview through a translator, we identify quotes received in that manner.
We do not make it sound as if a source made a statement to our reporter if it came to us through a third party.
Verification and fact-checking standards
The Bay Area News Group commits to do its best to publish accurate information across all of its content. We take many steps to ensure accuracy:
We investigate claims with skepticism; question assumptions; challenge conventional wisdom; confirm information with subject-matter experts; and seek to corroborate what sources tell us by talking with other informed people or consulting documents. We verify content, such as technical terms and statistics, against source documents or make clear who is providing the information. We may share relevant components of a story with a primary source or an outside expert to verify them.
We stand by the information as accurate, and if it’s not, we will change it as quickly as possible and be transparent with our readers about the magnitude of the error.
We welcome feedback from our readers and sources regarding the information that we publish. If you would like to reach our editors regarding coverage, you can find their contact information on our Contact Us page.
The Bay Area News Group corrects all significant errors that are brought to the attention of the editors.
Updating digital stories
Stories that are posted online throughout the day will be fixed immediately after an error has been found. This includes fixes of minor errors such as misspellings or the wrong age or title of a person. We do not note that a story has been updated unless there is a particular reason to note the addition of new information or other change. Each story includes the time stamp of original publication and the time stamp when it was last updated. A story’s time stamp will signal to readers that they are reading a developing story.
Stories that contain a material error — an error that would significantly affect a reader’s understanding of a story — and have been published online for a significant period of time will have a correction appended as soon as the correction is approved by editors.
Corrections & clarifications
Material errors shall be acknowledged promptly in a straightforward correction, not disguised or glossed over in a follow-up story. We will prepare and publish a correction for any error that would significantly affect a reader’s understanding of a story. A correction means an acknowledgement of error and correction of an item, not just fixing the content of an item. Corrections and clarifications can be found at https://swadeadday.com/lanews/news/corrections/.
The text of the correction will identify the error and provide the correct information. We may repeat the error in a correction if doing so helps to provide clarity.
It is the policy of The Bay Area News Group to identify the source of an error, attributing it to a reporting error, an editor’s error, or an error caused by a source.
A correction will include the date of the error and the location of the article, if it appeared in print. In print, corrections generally run on page A4.
The Bay Area News Group generally does not “unpublish” content or remove details such as names from our websites and archives other than for legal reasons, but it does correct and update articles as necessary if there is a significant factual error. On a case-by-case basis, a committee of editors will review individual requests to modify published content, considering whether circumstances have changed since publication. In rare cases such reviews may lead to modifications; for example, we have removed articles from our website in cases where an individual was arrested, but the charges were later dropped.
Contacting us about an error
If you believe we made an error in The Mercury News let us know at [email protected]. If you believe we made an error in the East Bay Times let us know at [email protected]. If you believe we made an error in a Silicon Valley Community Newspapers publication let us know at [email protected].
You can also use this online form to report an error.
Inclusiveness is at the heart of thinking and acting as journalists. The complex issues we face as a society require respect for different viewpoints. Race, class, generation, gender and geography all affect point of view. Reflecting these differences in our reporting leads to better, more nuanced stories and a better-informed community.
We are interested in hearing from different ethnic, civic and business groups in the communities we serve. Please let us know about stories in your neighborhood.
Diversity staffing report
We seek diverse voices in our management and reporting staff. Our staffing data is available via the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) website. You can see data tables here: http://asne.org/content.asp?admin=Y&contentid=123.
Reader engagement and feedback
Our readers are a frontline witness to life in this area – public safety, politics, housing, social movements, schools, culture – and your insights can help shape our news agenda. We invite your comments and complaints on news stories, suggestions for issues and events to cover or sources to consult, and your participation in our policy conversations and town hall meetings that follow news developments. We believe that news organizations have a responsibility to engage with the public on the values, issues and ideas of the day, and that we have much to gain in return.
Please find all our contact information — including how to submit news tips — on our Contact Us page.
We are pleased to invite readers to comment on articles on our websites. Our goal is to provide a place where readers can comment on the article and interact with each other.
We ask that everyone participating follow these basic rules:
• Do not use obscene, vulgar or otherwise offensive language. It does nothing to advance the discussion.
• Treat everyone with respect. That means no personal attacks or name-calling; no threatening or wishing harm on another person; no disclosure of anyone else’s personal information; no impersonating another commenter. A comment that seems intended solely to irritate others will be deleted.
• Stay on point. Readers are interested in what you have to say about the article or the substance of other comments. Engaging in unrelated rants just clutters the commenting thread.
• Don’t post the same comment multiple times. That clutters the thread, too — and it may lead to the moderation algorithm blocking your comments as spam.
• Don’t post on our site under multiple accounts. Pick one and stick to it.
• Don’t engage in spammy or copyright-violating behavior. Don’t post comments solely to direct readers to another website or blog. Don’t post the work of others that is protected by copyright.
If you see a post that violates our terms of service, click “flag” on the comment. This will not delete a comment but will alert the moderators of the objection. Don’t flag a comment just because you disagree with the person’s point of view.
We do our best to review these reports for moderation in a timely manner. Remember that our comment moderation is subjective — you may find something objectionable when we don’t, or vice versa.
We do not fact-check comments as a matter of course, but if a moderator becomes aware of misinformation, it will be deleted.
- Sharon Ryan, President and Publisher – Responsible for all aspects of the Bay Area News Group
- Lisa Buckingham, Senior Vice President/Chief Financial Officer
- Michael Turpin, Executive Vice President/Chief Revenue Officer – Responsible for retail and classified advertising
- Frank Pine, Executive Editor – Responsible for all news coverage
- Bert Robinson, Senior Editor – Responsible for Bay Area and statewide news coverage
- Randall Keith, Managing Editor/Digital – Responsible for digital news content
News Executives/Department Heads
- Frank Pine, Executive Editor
- Bert Robinson, Senior Editor
- Randall Keith, Managing Editor/Digital
- Sarah Dussault, Assistant Managing Editor/Visuals
- Mike Frankel, Assistant Managing Editor/Bay Area Focus
- Rebecca Salner, Assistant Managing Editor/Living in the Bay Area
- Bud Geracie, Executive Sports Editor
- Jackie Burrell, Features Editor
- Ed Clendaniel, Editorial Page Editor – The Mercury News
- Dan Borenstein, Editorial Page Editor – East Bay Times
- Mario Dianda, Editor, Local News
Additional contact information including email addresses and phone numbers can be found on our Contact Us page.
The Mercury News and East Bay Times are committed to transparency in our ownership structure. We cite potential conflicts of interest on the same page as the relevant work.
The Mercury News and East Bay Times are part of the Bay Area News Group (BANG). In April 2016, Bay Area News Group consolidated its several major daily newspapers into two regional publications: The Mercury News, which serves Silicon Valley and the Peninsula; and the East Bay Times, which serves Oakland, Alameda County and Contra Costa County. Further coverage is provided by additional Bay Area News Group publications including the Marin Independent Journal and dozens of community weeklies.
All of the Bay Area News Group publications are owned by MediaNews Group, which is based in Denver, Colorado. MediaNews Group is a privately-owned company. The majority owner is Alden Global Capital, a a privately held investment firm based in New York City. As a private company, MediaNews Group makes business decisions that keep shareholders in mind, but editorial decisions are independent.
The company’s largest properties include The Orange County Register, The Denver Post, The Mercury News, East Bay Times, Riverside Press-Enterprise, Los Angeles Daily News and St. Paul Pioneer Press. Other MediaNews Group publications are listed at http://www.medianewsgroup.com/our-brands/.
Bay Area News Group publications
- The Mercury News (established 1851)
- East Bay Times (established 1952, formerly Contra Costa Times)
- Marin Independent Journal (established 1948)
Santa Clara County — weekly publications:
- Almaden Resident
- Cambrian Resident
- Campbell Reporter
- Cupertino Courier
- Los Gatos Weekly Times
- Milpitas Post
- Palo Alto Daily News
- Rose Garden Resident
- Saratoga News
- Sunnyvale Sun
- Willow Glen Resident
Contra Costa County — weekly publications:
- Antioch News
- Brentwood News
- Concord Transcript
- Lamorinda Sun
- Oakley News
- Pittsburg News
- Pleasant Hill–Martinez Record
- Walnut Creek Journal
Alameda County — weekly publications:
- Alameda Journal
- The Argus (Fremont)
- Berkeley Voice
- The Daily Review (Hayward)
- El Cerrito Journal
- Oakland Tribune
In compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act, MediaNews Group discloses the information we collect. The full list can be found here: https://www.medianewsgroup.com/ca-privacy-policy/
Requests for data related to the CCPA or requests for data to be deleted should be sent to [email protected].
They can also be mailed to:
PO Box 909
San Jose, CA 95106
The Trust Project
The Bay Area News Group is a member of The Trust Project, an international coalition of reputable media organizations working together to promote truthful, verified news with fairness and accuracy. Through ongoing global collaboration with the public, news leaders, search and social platforms, the consortium is defining a standard for quality journalism that can be easily recognized anywhere.
The Bay Area News Group is committed to using the standards and protocols of the Trust Project, such as transparent ownership and mission statements, ethics and reporting policies, clear labelling of story types and links to detailed author information on articles. These indicators are standardized across Trust-member websites and are machine-readable, meaning they can be recognized and certified by search engines and social media sites.
One of the Trust Project protocols involves clear labeling to help readers distinguish news — verified information based in the impartial reporting of facts — from opinion — articles based on personal interpretation of facts. The glossary below contains definitions for the various types of content found on our websites.
News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.
Analysis: Based on factual reporting, although it incorporates the expertise of the author and may offer interpretations and conclusions.
Investigative: In-depth examination of a single subject requiring extensive research.
Explainer: Provides context, definition and detail on a specific topic.
Obituary: Reports the death of an individual, providing an account of the person’s life including their achievements, any controversies in which they were involved, and reminiscences by people who knew them.
Opinion: Advocates for ideas and draws conclusions based on the author’s interpretation of facts and data.
Review: An assessment or critique of a service, product, or creative endeavor such as art, literature or a performance.
Sponsored: Produced on behalf of an organization or individual that has paid the news provider for production and/or approved publication.
Underwritten: Produced with financial support from an organization or individual, yet not approved by the underwriter before or after publication. Articles are held to strict journalistic standards, but are funded by entities interested in being associated with or expanding attention to a particular topic.
Advertiser Content: Supplied by an organization or individual that has paid the news provider for its placement. As a result, while it may be written in the style of the publication, it is not impartial journalism.
Affiliate Content: Produced by the advertising department to earn commission from products/services being mentioned and/or promoted. Amazon, Skim Links, etc .As a result, while it may be written in the style of the publication, it is not impartial journalism.
Branded Content: Produced by the paper’s own advertising department to attract advertising. May or may not include product placement. As a result, while it may be written in the style of the publication, it is not impartial journalism.