Abby Jeffers


Ethics Code

Integrity, honesty, fairness and compassion direct my work and personal life. My goal is 100% accuracy with historical and societal context provided through diligent and unbiased research, utilizing vetted resources. I believe in accountability, transparency and independence in reporting and in life. 

Trauma-informed and compassionate journalism is very important to me. That is not to say that I believe in being soft on hard news or going easy on corruption, traumatic situations or any other form of news; rather, I want to protect victims and audiences alike by remaining aware of potential triggers while also reporting accurately and completely. Sensationalizing news and causing additional, unnecessary trauma to audiences in order to attract a larger audience is unethical. I believe that more journalists should consider the harm caused to all parties before publishing information that could traumatize or otherwise hurt sources, subjects or audiences.

I avoid conflicts of interest and, when necessary, disclose prior engagements or conflicts and avoid covering those subjects as much as possible. I do not accept gifts from sources, and as a music reviewer, I only accept advance digital copies of music when it is absolutely necessary. I accept media passes to concerts that I review, but I do not accept free tickets to concerts for personal use. I also do not pay for information or for sources. Moreover, when I interact with advertisers, I ensure that advertisements are clearly marked and distinguished from news or review coverage, and I do not allow advertisers to dictate anything on the editorial side.

I have worked with Bobcats Helping Bobcats and Swipe Out Hunger to advertise and promote food insecurity and basic needs efforts since fall 2018, and to avoid bias or conflicts of interest, I will not cover issues relating to food insecurity, housing insecurity or other basic needs for any media outlet.

I also do not cover organizations with whom I currently or have previously worked, including Ohio University Housing and Residence Life, the Kaleidoscope Youth Center and any media outlets for which I have written.

In 2019, I published an essay on my identity as a queer person and a Christian, and in an effort to remain transparent, I spent years struggling with the compatibility of those two identities, but I have since resolved that inner conflict. Still, I will not cover my former church or its members, with whom I had conflicts, and in all stories about religion and sexual orientation or gender identity, I will provide sources from all sides of any conflict. 

I am also a music journalist, and I write music reviews. To avoid potential bias, I will not write music news about the artists whose music I have reviewed.

Finally, I support honesty, openness and transparency within news organizations. I believe that increasing the amount of information that news organizations share about their practices will only increase the public’s trust in the media, and explaining difficult ethical situations to audiences can help readers empathize and understand the newspaper’s decisions.

I hold myself and my colleagues accountable to this code of ethics, and I strive to constantly develop a better, more comprehensive set of ethical standards for myself and others.

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