From August 1, 2014 to October 1, 2014 we will be posting stories on the Horn of Africa in lead-up to our discussion, hosted by Evan Solomon (on Oct. 1, 2014 in Ottawa), on what Canada's role should be in the Horn of Africa.
This page outlines the principles, practices, and policies that form the basis of our blog and its content. Editorial staff and contributors will adhere to, and be guided by, these guidelines whenever and however they interact with the blog and its readers. The editorial guidelines are put in place and publicized to show that our staff and we adhere to the highest standards of editorial integrity when publishing content online.
To advance creative solutions to international challenges
- Raise awareness about issues in the Horn of Africa
- Facilitate academic discussion on these issues
- Present different perspectives
- Advance Canadian engagement
- Generate innovative policy ideas
- Become known as a leading information source
- Establish thePANEL as a thought leader in international affairs
Principles of publishing
The blog, and its editorial staff and contributors, adhere to the following ethics (based on the Code of Ethics for Bloggers, Social Media and Content Creators developed by Morten Rand-
- Be critical of everything, even your self. As a content creator, you are part of the creation of free knowledge and discussion. It is your obligation to shed critical light on what goes on in society as well as how contributors, including you, present these events and facts.
- Always give credit where credit is due. Give proper attribution when using, quoting or basing your content on the work of others. In other words, present quotes as quotes, link to original articles, give photo and illustration credit to the original creator etc.
- Tell the truth at all times. With great power comes great responsibility. Words and images are powerful tools that should be used with the utmost care. When publishing content, present the facts as they are, even if you disagree with them.
- Prefer observations over opinions. While everyone has an opinion, its sometimes more helpful and less emotive to make observations. For example, instead of saying “The country’s human rights records are appalling” you might say “The country has been the subject of a number of reports form international organizations, such as the UNHCR and ICG, condemning it for human rights abuses.”
- When it’s opinion, expressly state that it is. When voicing an opinion or interpretation-whether it’s yours or someone else’s - always state it as such. Never present opinion, interpretation or conjecture as fact.
- Reveal your sources unless doing so can harm your sources. Always reveal your sources to ensure transparency unless doing so may put the source in harms way. In ensuring transparency, you lend credibility to your own content as well as provide others with the opportunity to further pursue the facts of the matter should they choose.
- Be critical of your sources and seek independent verification. Even if you are ethical and unbiased, there is no guarantee your sources are. Before presenting information as fact, always check your source’s credibility and seek independent verification of facts. If none can be found, state so clearly.
- Always preserve the intended meaning of a given statement. When quoting or paraphrasing a statement, always ensure that the intended meaning is communicated. Never edit or change a statement in such a way that the intended meaning is changed. In other words, fairly represent what others have said before.
- Give everyone a chance to respond. The very foundation of an open discussion is to give either side an opportunity to voice their opinion. Always provide an opportunity for others to present the case of the opposing side.
- Admit and correct your mistakes immediately. When an inaccuracy or error in your content is discovered by you or someone else, correct it immediately and announce that you have done so to ensure that those who base their opinions and other content creation on the incorrect information have a chance to make corrections as well. It is your duty to uphold the truth and present facts even if doing so means admitting you were wrong.
- Put your fire first. The first few sentences are the most important, make sure that they draw readers in and that they make sense. This is especially important with blogs, as the first few lines of any post are what will be available on most social media sharing sites.
- Be factual. It’s important that you emphasize facts in your posts. Make sure you use facts both to intrigue the reader and also illuminate issues and illustrate arguments.
- Ask questions, and then answer them. It’s great for readers when you pose questions, then you answer them. This helps them easily follow your line of reasoning.
- Be relevant and timely. If something is trending, make a blog entry about it your priority; there’s no sense on focusing on something you’re currently working on just because you are working on it. If it can wait until later, and you have something else that’s trending, work on that hot topic. Be sure, however, to always check with the Content Editor before penning something!
- Be passionate but balanced. While you should never express your own opinions, it’s important to be passionate about the issues about which you blog.
- Suggest solutions. It’s okay to propose solutions to the problems you outline in your posts; just make sure you don’t suggest that they’re the be-all and end-all. A good way to do this is say things like, “One solution might be to jettison the old constitution and create a new one.”
- Include images. Images help draw readers in. Where possible, include a couple images that enhance your post, but be sure to give credit at the end of the post.
- Simple, clear writing
- Plain language
- Avoid jargon
- No first person