Policies and Ethics

Professional standards and ethics

The Salt Lake Tribune adheres to the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics as well as additional internal standards outlined in The Tribune Professional Standards Guide. In short, The Tribune strives to ensure that its reporting methods are fair and thorough, and its reports accurate and transparent.

Fundraising and Gift Acceptance Policy

The Salt Lake Tribune’s core value is journalistic excellence. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit news organization, The Tribune holds independence and accountability to the public as its guiding principles. The following guidelines describe the values, standards and practices pursued by The Tribune when seeking financial support.

Disclosure of support for The Tribune’s mission

The Salt Lake Tribune is proud of the reputation for independence, accuracy and integrity that it has fostered since 1871. The Tribune’s leadership also understands that becoming a nonprofit and accepting donations places transparency in a new light.

As Utah’s independent voice, The Tribune makes every effort to be transparent about its relationships with readers and supporters. To this end:

  • Donors to The Salt Lake Tribune cannot elect to remain anonymous. A complete list of donors will provided on The Salt Lake Tribune’s website (coming soon).

  • The Salt Lake Tribune will post its IRS Form 990 and other public documents on its website.

  • While The Tribune will seek financial support for its reporting and special projects, no donor or gift will be able to direct The Tribune’s reporting on issues, people or organizations. To ensure this critical independence, The Tribune adheres to the following standards:

  • Governing bodies: The Tribune’s management and staff greatly value the service offered by its board members, advisory board members and donors. The Tribune welcomes news tips from these individuals as from any member of the public. However, The Tribune maintains a strict firewall between the newsroom and any governing bodies, advisers and/or donors. This means that governing bodies, advisers and donors will have no more access to the newsroom or influence on editorial decision-making than any other member of the public. The same rules apply to advertisers and sponsors, as has been the practice historically.

  • Editorial control: The editor of The Salt Lake Tribune has full editorial control on all stories, columns and photographs published by The Tribune. Story ideas, complaints and news tips must be funneled through the editor.

  • Disclosures: When The Tribune writes about any issue involving a board member or major donor, or cites them as an expert source, The Tribune will disclose that relationship to readers. The Tribune will also publicly disclose when a topic it reports on is specifically supported by a board member, major donor or corporate sponsor. Any individual or organization that donates over $5,000 to the Salt Lake Tribune is considered a major donor.

  • Grants: When evaluating whether to seek or accept gifts or sponsorships from individuals, corporations or foundation grants, The Tribune’s development staff ensures that its values and practices are clearly communicated and that the editor retains control of all development and news content decisions.

  • Transparency: The Tribune website will publicly display:

  • Budget information, including fundraising and administrative costs

  • Sources of revenue, including sponsorships, grants and donations

  • Board and advisory council members

  • Federal tax returns (IRS Form 990)

  • Annual reports on the work made possible by public support and its impact.

  • Public acknowledgement of sponsorships

    Community engagement is a core aspect of The Salt Lake Tribune’s nonprofit mission. The Tribune regularly hosts educational events and forums, and will seek the support of individuals, corporations and foundations in order to do so. Sponsors may be publicly acknowledged in the following ways:

  • Logo placement on digital or printed products, such as programs and social media.
  • Logo placement on The Salt Lake Tribune website.
  • Editorial independence

    The Salt Lake Tribune may also seek and accept funding to support or augment specific areas of reporting — such as business, health, environment, science or the arts.

    The Tribune does not accept gifts from any entity or person that seeks or expects control over its work. In other words, no donor—no matter the size of their donation—will have any role in deciding which stories reporters pursue or file, the timing of those stories or their content. Donors are not given access to The Tribune’s editorial work at any time prior to publication. All members of the public, including donors, are welcome to share their feedback about Tribune reporting.

    The Salt Lake Tribune reserves the right to decline funding from any source that is not in alignment with its nonprofit mission. The Tribune does not have a list of individuals, corporations or foundations from whom it would not accept a donation. Instead, the editor, in consultation with others as necessary, considers each situation and opportunity and makes a decision with integrity and the trust of readers and the public in mind.

    As the editor and, when appropriate, the Board of Directors, considers a grant or gift, they also keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • The Salt Lake Tribune will not accept grant funding or donations for an area of coverage that it believes is not a good fit for readers or in line with The Tribune's mission.
  • The Salt Lake Tribune will not accept funding from corporations or individuals whose reputations or actions could call The Tribune's reputation and actions into question, or from those whose actions show a disrespect for the First Amendment and freedom of the press. In any case that raises concerns of this nature, the editor will bring the potential donation to the Board of Directors for discussion and action.
  • The Salt Lake Tribune commenting and moderation policy

    As the editor and, when appropriate, the Board of Directors, considers a grant or gift, they also keep in mind the following guidelines:

    Purpose

    The purpose of comments on Salt Lake Tribune stories is to support discussion and conversation among our readers, yet another way readers can engage with the stories that matter to them.

    Moderation

    The Tribune moderates comments to ensure the conversation is respectful and on topic. We do not allow comments that include personal attacks, threats, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by characters), commercial promotion, spam, fake profiles, multiple accounts, incoherence and SHOUTING.

    In addition, a comment may be removed if it is deemed to be uncivil, inappropriate, racist, sexist, homophobic, bigoted, blatant “trolling” or is not related to the topic at hand. While moderation decisions are subjective, our moderators try to be as consistent as possible. Generally, we will not allow comments to become bogged down with discussions of our moderation policy and activity.

    We encourage opinions and criticisms of our work, however, those criticisms must relate to the articles in question. Personal attacks against Tribune staff will not be permitted and comments of that nature will be deleted.

    The Tribune does not edit comments but it may respond to comments that contain factual inaccuracies.

    Well said labels

    Well Said labels may occasionally be assigned to a comment and represent kudos from Tribune moderators, an acknowledgement of a well-thought out comment that is applicable to the story. They can also function as a way to highlight different opinions on a topic.

    Well Said labels are not an endorsement of an opinion or fact in the comment.

    Terms of Service

    For more information about comments, user contributions and submissions, as well as how The Salt Lake Tribune can use your contributions, read our full Terms of Service.

    Contact us

    If you have questions about the Tribune’s commenting policy, email webmaster@sltrib.com.