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Operating Standards

The Southern Utah News is unique. As a locally owned and award-winning independent publication, the SUN has provided news to southern Utah and the Arizona strip continuously since 1953. We’re a small town newspaper with big ideas, dedicated to bringing our readers accurate and timely news written by reporters who live in the communities they cover. Everyone at the SUN wears more than one hat, working together to ensure that each issue is written, edited, and delivered to the highest standard of excellence.

Here at the SUN, we know two things: First, people will always want and need local news. Second, no matter how people choose to get their news the SUN is committed to being the area’s leading local news provider. Our success in the future depends on the principles that have determined our success so far: People must believe in us and trust what we do.

Masthead

Owner: Gant Company, LLC

Publisher: Brooke Knighton

Editor: Ty Gant

Layout & Printing: Larry Sorenson

Advertising & Sales: Samantha LeFevre

Office Manager: Madison Spencer

Digital Content Editor: Don Jennings

Reporters: Neal Brown, Phil Clark, Tracy Hiscock, Helene Jorgensen, Jerry Melrose

 

Mission and Vision

Mission

Southern Utah News will provide people with the news and information they need to understand their world, govern themselves effectively and improve their lives.

Core values

We believe that an informed public is central to our society’s guarantee of freedom. We are first and foremost a local news organization, dedicated to serve as the community’s archivist, conscience and public commons.

 

We believe that journalistic integrity is the cornerstone of our enterprise. 

We believe that we are in partnership with our readers. We will ask for, listen to, and act on their ideas.

 

We will maintain standards of excellence and strive to delight customers with innovative content.​

 

Professional Standards

 

Application of Standards

The statements in this document apply to employees of the Southern Utah News, freelance reporters, and contributing writers for both the print and online version of the SUN.

Participation in Civic Affairs

The credibility of our reporting requires that we avoid any conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such conflicts, that might raise questions about the newspaper’s impartiality. Our staff’s participation in partisan political causes, community affairs, or social actions could compromise or appear to compromise the SUN’s ability to report fairly. SUN staff and reporters will exercise care before becoming involved in activities such as these and may be required to withdraw from certain stories.

Business Interests

Staff members will not enter business relationships with news sources, use inside knowledge for personal gain or give anyone outside the newspaper knowledge of any proposed or pending story that could provide financial advantage. The standard is that a staff member will not seek or accept any advantage not afforded to the general public.

Gifts & Gratuities

The Southern Utah News pays its own way on all assignments for news coverage. The standard is that no employee or freelancer shall accept business-connected gifts that may influence, or appear to influence, their reporting.

Integrity of Our Reporting

  • SUN staff and reporters will not invent details or embellish facts in their stories.

  • SUN staff and reporters will not use fictitious quotes, phantom sources or composite people in their reporting.

  • SUN staff and reporters will not misrepresent themselves when gathering and reporting the news.

 

Quotes

The SUN will not edit direct quotes to correct grammar or slang. In the case that a direct quote may embarrass a speaker we will paraphrase the information.

Plagiarism and Giving Credit

The SUN will attribute all material we use from other newspapers, other media or any other sources. The SUN will credit other media that develop exclusive stories included in our coverage.

Integrity of Photographs

Visual reporting provides important content to the reader. The SUN’s policy in picture creation, editing and use is: If the final product misleads or deceives the reader, even if it is an unaltered image, it will not be used.

Sources

The SUN sometimes relies on external sources for information. Information provided by external sources will always be fact-checked. To the fullest extent possible, the SUN will provide readers with complete information on the sources of the news it prints, including identification by name, position and other information relevant to the story. If a source asks to go “off the record,” to talk “on background,” or to speak “not for attribution,” our reporters will confirm with the source before proceeding.

 

Some reporting may require the use of unnamed sources. Authorization to do so will be given only when the following conditions have been met:

  • SUN management determines that there is a need for the public to know the information provided and no on-the-record means of obtaining it exists.

  • SUN management knows the identity of the unnamed source.

  • The reader is told as much as possible about the unnamed source and the reason for anonymity, balanced with our obligation to protect the confidentiality of our sources.

  • Extensive efforts have been made to corroborate the accuracy of the information provided by the unnamed source.

 

Nothing in these guidelines is intended to block the occasional need to shield identity for reasons of privacy, compassion or good taste. (Examples include victims of crimes and people whose jobs or personal safety would be endangered by identification.) In these cases, the final decision whether to print the material rests with SUN management.

Diversity of Sources

The SUN is committed to reflecting the diversity of the communities we serve, giving voice to people from various segments of our coverage area and working to reflect the diversity of gender, race, ethnic and economic background, sexual orientation, religion and political leanings in our reporting.

Dealing with the Public

SUN staff members and reporters will respond to communication from readers in a timely and professional manner, both as part of reporting and in day-to-day operations.

Copyright and Ownership of Materials

The Southern Utah News owns all rights, including the copyrights, to all materials prepared or obtained by its employees while they are working on company time or producing work specifically for the company.

Publication Contests & Awards

The content of our paper will be created because it has intrinsic news value or serves the community’s interest, not because it promises the chance of recognition from an outside source.

Content Policies

 

SUN reporters and editors will collaborate to give readers the quality content they deserve. The goal of everyone who works at the Southern Utah News is to make each edition the best it can be. It is the duty of the SUN’s editor and reporters to make sure that every story is complete, accurate and well-written before it is published.

Photo Reporting

The goal of each photo assignment is to provide honest and accurate news photographs that provide information in context. SUN photographers will work with the staff to best represent the news content of each assignment.

Good Taste

The SUN’s policy is to exercise good taste in publishing content that contains words that may be offensive to our readers. Columnists may from time to time use mildly coarse language to portray informal exchanges at the editor's discretion.

Gratuitous details will be avoided in describing sensitive scenes or settings.

Reporters and editors will avoid the use of innuendo in stories or headlines.

Care will be taken to avoid publication of photos of a sensitive nature when they have no news value.

Corrections Policy

To request a correction, contact the SUN at (435) 644-2900 or info@sunews.net.

The SUN corrects all mistakes. When we learn about an error, we will publish a correction or clarification online and in print that is clear and concise as soon as possible.

The SUN accepts responsibility for routine errors of our own making, and do not identify the internal source.

Reporting Cause of Death

SUN reporters and staff will make every effort to confirm the cause of death in news stories and news obituaries. If, for some reason, the cause of death cannot be determined, we will report that it was not disclosed.

Identification of Race

The SUN does not identify race or ethnic background unless the information is relevant. We do not mention a person’s race in describing criminal suspects or fugitives unless the rest of the description is detailed enough to be meaningful.

Identification of Victims

Depending on the circumstance, the SUN may identify victims of crimes by name and a general description of where they live. The SUN does not normally use the names of employees when we give an account of a store robbery or a bank robbery unless there’s a specific reason to do, such as quoting a victim or witness by name.

The SUN does not identify victims in sexual assault cases unless they wish to be identified. Decisions about identifying sexual assault victims in those cases will be discussed with and approved by SUN management.

Identifying Places in Emergency Services Stories

The SUN reports exact addresses in emergency services stories as they are available, except at the request of authorities for reasons of security. Names of businesses or prominent institutions will be published if it’s relevant to the story.

Naming Juveniles in Crime and Court Stories

The SUN will follow applicable Utah law in identifying or reporting on juveniles in crime and court stories.

Digital Content

The SUN’s digital content adheres to the same policies and guidelines as our print content.

  • The SUN’s website (sunews.net) publishes six stories from each week’s edition of the newspaper, as well as a full copy of each week’s classifieds and community calendar. Links to these items are the shared to the SUN’s Facebook Business Page. From time to time the SUN may also produce original content for the website that does not run in the paper.

  • The SUN does not remove content from our website, except for the routine rotation of community calendar events, classified ads, and advertisements. Exceptions to this policy may include content that the SUN management determines to be defamatory, illegal or unsafe.

  • The SUN’s online content is archived as part of the public record.

 

Social Media

  • The SUN uses its Facebook Business Page to break news, promote our work and connect with readers.

  • The same standards of professionalism, integrity and taste apply to social media as to all SUN content.

  • We encourage discussion by the followers of our social media accounts. We monitor content and expect commenters to abide by accepted standards of decency and courtesy. Comments that contain profanity, obscenities, racial or ethnic slurs, potentially libelous statements or personal attacks will be deleted and repeat offenders banned without notice. We also will ban commenters who repeatedly goad others. Debate is encouraged, but harassment is not tolerated.

  • If we make an error in the chatter of a Facebook post, we will correct it by editing the original post, marking it “corrected” and commenting on the post explaining the nature of the correction.

  • As much as possible, we reply to readers who ask questions or leave messages on social media.

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