Los Angeles Times Media Group Ethics Guidelines
Tickets and admission
Staff members attending cultural and sporting events purely for private enjoyment may not use their affiliation with The Times to gain access or to avoid paying.
Editorial employees should make every effort to pay for admission to cultural events that they cover or that pertain to their coverage area. Press "comps" are to be used only by critics and coverage reporters and editors -- and only for professional, not personal, purposes.
Arts organizations commonly provide critics' press passes in pairs. Because a critic's appreciation of a performance or work of art is enriched by viewing and discussing it with someone else, a critic may accept the additional pass for a colleague, spouse, companion or friend with an editor's approval.
The first professional duty of every Times employee is to the Los Angeles Times. Freelance work must be considered in that light, as it may at times conflict with The Times' interests, affect its reputation or distract staff members from their obligations to the organization.
Subject to those limitations, staff members are free to do outside creative, community or personal work, including writing articles and books, giving speeches or appearing on TV or online venues. But before accepting freelance assignments, staff members must obtain clearance from a supervisor.
Supervisors may deny a proposal if sensitive unpublished material gathered by The Times is likely to be shared with an outside party.
Work for organizations that compete with The Times is not permitted. In disputed cases, the editor and a managing editor will determine who our competitors are.
Journalists may not work for people or organizations they cover or who are regular subjects of Times coverage. Blogs and social media have created potential quandaries for staff members who want to express themselves through those channels. No matter how careful staff members might be to distinguish their personal work from their professional affiliation with The Times, outsiders are likely to see them as intertwined.
As a result, any staff member who seeks to create a personal blog must clear it with a supervisor; approval will be granted only if the proposed blog meets The Times' journalistic standards. When approval is granted, staff members should take care not to write anything in their blogs that would not be acceptable in Times publications. Staff members should observe the same principle when contributing to blogs other than their own or to social media.
An additional word on freelancing, especially as it relates to reporting in Southern California: The entertainment industry is a central area of our coverage, and staff members must take special care not to create the appearance of conflicts should they seek work in that industry. Any screenplay or proposed movie or television deal must be disclosed to an editor before outside interest is solicited. When Hollywood agents or executives contact Times staff to discuss possible deals, those contacts should be promptly disclosed to a supervising editor.
No Times journalist who covers the entertainment industry should ever propose a script or movie idea -- or any other entertainment product -- to anyone working in that industry.
FREELANCERS WORKING FOR THE TIMES
The work of freelance journalists appears in our publications alongside staff-produced content. Freelancers must therefore approach their work without conflicts and must adhere to the same standards of professionalism that The Times requires of its own staff, including these guidelines. It is the responsibility of assigning editors to inquire about a freelancer's potential conflicts of interest before making an assignment.
Conflict-of-interest provisions may apply differently to contributors to the Op-Ed pages. They are expected to bring institutional and personal perspectives to their work. They are not expected to avoid conflicts, but they are expected to disclose them.