Los Angeles Times Media Group Ethics Guidelines
We conduct our own reporting, but when we rely on the work of others, we credit them. When wire reports are used, we should clearly attribute the source in the narrative.
Facts garnered from reliable reference material may not always have to be attributed. But care should be taken to cross-check facts and to use a variety of such sources.
Juveniles and victims of sex crimes
The Times does not identify the alleged victims of sex crimes or persons under 18 who are charged with crimes. Exceptions occasionally arise. The decision to name individuals in such cases rests with the editor or a managing editor or an editor designated by them.
In general, The Times does not identify suspects of criminal investigations who have not been charged or arrested. On occasion, the prominence of the suspect or the importance of the case will warrant an exception. In those instances, we must take great care that our sourcing is reliable and that law enforcement officials have a reasonable basis for considering the individual a suspect. If someone we have identified as a suspect ultimately is not charged, we should make that known in follow-up coverage. The follow-up should be played comparably to the original reporting if possible.
The Times expects its editorial staff to behave with dignity and professionalism. We do nothing while gathering the news that we would be ashamed to see in print or on television. We do not let the behavior of the pack set standards for us.
In general, we identify ourselves as staff members when covering news events. There are some instances when offering such identification is impossible, impractical or counterproductive, but in no case should a staff member lie about his or her affiliation with The Times. We should deal honorably with people and institutions we cover, just as we expect them to deal honorably with us.
Journalists may not use their affiliation with The Times to resolve personal disputes or seek special treatment or personal benefits.
Corrections and clarifications
When we make mistakes, we quickly and forthrightly correct the record. Readers and staff members who bring mistakes to our attention deserve our gratitude. A staff member who receives a complaint about the accuracy of our work should inform an editor. No staff member should decide on his or her own that a complaint does not warrant a correction. (Note: The Times' corrections guidelines spell out in greater detail our procedures for handling complaints, corrections and retraction demands.)
PHOTOS and GRAPHICS
Photographs and graphics must inform, not mislead. Any attempt to confuse readers or misrepresent visual information is prohibited.
In photographing news, we do not stage or reenact events. Photographers may direct subjects of portraits, fashion shoots or studio work. In presenting such images, we must avoid creating the impression that they were captured spontaneously.
We do not add color, create photomontages, remove objects or flop images. We do not digitally alter images beyond making minor adjustments for color correction, exposure correction and removal of dust spots or scratches required to ensure faithful reproduction of the original image. Exaggerated use of burning, dodging or color saturation is not permitted.
On occasion, we publish artistic or graphic renderings that include altered photographs. Such renderings should be clearly labeled "photo illustration." Before creating a photo illustration, photographers, photo editors and designers must obtain approval from a senior editor for photography.
Complex graphic illustrations should be similarly labeled.