At The Intercept, we strive to hold the powerful accountable with truthful and aggressive reporting. We seek to be fair in our coverage, which means allowing people or institutions a reasonable window to respond to reporters’ inquiries before publishing a story that contains significant revelations about them. It does not mean mandating “balance” when one perspective on a subject — such as the science of climate change, or the justification for a war crime — is clearly without merit. While we recognize that writers have a point of view, we insist that they be accurate in their reporting; rigorous, comprehensive, and ethical in their methods; and transparent with readers about how they have arrived at their conclusions. And when we make mistakes, we hold ourselves accountable.
Sourcing and Attribution
The Intercept’s guidelines for reporters on the use of anonymous sources are intended to provide transparency about our sourcing whenever possible, while at the same time protecting vulnerable whistleblowers — and others who face significant risk — from retaliation.
We always prefer to attribute information directly to its source. Sometimes, however, the only way an important story can be told is by relying on the accounts of individuals who would face serious repercussions if their identities were revealed. In those cases, the reporter collaborates closely with the rest of our editorial team to ensure that the decision to grant anonymity is justified and that any reported facts are corroborated. We strive to supply readers with as many details as possible to contextualize and establish the credibility of anonymously sourced information without compromising the source.
When we receive documentary materials from a source whose identity we don’t know — such as files shared through our SecureDrop server — we seek to verify that the materials are authentic through additional reporting, including by reaching out to any people or institutions implicated by the disclosures. We will only publish documents, or stories based on them, if we are persuaded that they have public interest value independent of the source’s motivations for leaking them.
Corrections and Updates
To request a correction, send us an email at [email protected]. Our editorial team will carefully review any potential inaccuracy before making changes to a published piece. In the event of a minor factual error, the story will be amended and the change will be noted at the bottom. Significant corrections will be noted in the headline or at the top of the story.
If new details or clarifications are added to a story after its publication, our practice is to include a note describing the update at the end of the piece.
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Staff Communications Principles
At The Intercept, staff members are encouraged to engage in robust, respectful discourse with each other and with members of the public. Personal opinions expressed by individual employees do not represent the official positions of The Intercept, but employees should be aware that their public statements inevitably reflect on the organization, both in the realm of public opinion and that of law. Good judgment, honesty, and integrity should guide interactions both within the workplace and in public venues, including on social media. The Intercept welcomes a diversity of viewpoints in our newsroom and encourages staff members to address disagreements directly with colleagues rather than airing them publicly. Staff members are expected to adhere to both the letter and spirit of these guidelines and maintain civil and respectful discourse with others, including those with whom they disagree, in all social media interactions. Employees should also uphold high journalistic standards for factual accuracy in their social media commentary. There is no place for bigotry or abusive behavior by employees in our workplace or in public. It’s important to keep in mind the responsibility that comes with the power of the platforms we use to communicate and to consider the impact of our words on those less powerful.
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We are committed to publishing stories based on newsworthy leaked material. We’ve taken steps to make sure that people who have decided to become whistleblowers can share information with us as securely as possible. Please click here to learn about your options for passing on tips and documents to The Intercept’s reporters.