Editorial Guidelines

This page explains the editing policies and guidelines for Prime 9ja Online.

Table of Contents

PRINCIPLES

There’s a difference between providing information and telling Nigerians what is happening in their vast country – and how events beyond our borders affect them.

It’s the goal of our editors and reporters to focus on real people (not just institutions) to show in human terms how events affect our lives.

The world out there is a busy one and every single story needs to convince people that should make out time to read it. If the news report doesn’t strive to be an interesting one or doesn’t tell the reader why they should care, Nigerians will click on another website.

Although our role continues to evolve, the principles guiding our work remain unchanged. Everything that we do must be honest, unbiased, and unflinchingly fair. We deal with facts that are demonstrable and supported by sources that are reliable and responsible. We pursue with equal vigour all sides of a story.

Accuracy is fundamental. The Discovery of a mistake calls for immediate correction. Corrections to stories already published or broadcast must not be grudging or stingy. They must be written in a spirit of genuinely wanting to right a wrong in the fairest and fullest manner.

Our work is urgent. Speed must be a primary objective of a news service committed to round-the-clock deadlines. But being reliable is always more important than being fast.

Good taste is a constant consideration. Some essential news is essentially repellent. Its handling need not be.

STAFF OBLIGATION

Our editors and supervisors are responsible for upholding Prime 9ja Online Media's standards. It is impossible to have specific criteria covering every circumstance while writing and editing news because there is so much individualism involved. The best method to reach the standards that Nigerians have grown to expect from their Nigerian news website is to follow proven techniques.

Among the most important of these practices:

  1. Prior to publicising any story or identifying any person in a story where there is even the slightest possibility of doubt, conduct a thorough investigation. When in doubt, stop doing it. However, never use this justification to abandon a viewpoint without giving it a careful look. The uncertainty must be sincere and come from a thorough investigation of the available information.
  2. Provide evidence that any information that is subject to doubt came from reliable authority and sources. In the case of a refusal, have proof ready for publication.
  3. When reporting on any news involving parties or contentious issues, be fair and impartial. Give each side a fair chance to be heard.
  4. Keep your statements factual and free of editorial commentary. Copy should not include the opinions of reporters. They have made observations. The reader's comprehension of complex subjects depends on both correct backgrounding and authoritative interpretation.
  5. Acknowledge mistakes right away. Significant and alarming public mistrust of the media exists. Inaccuracy, carelessness, disregard for public opinion, automatic cynicism toward those in public life, perceived bias or unfairness, and other crimes implying hubris all contribute to the distrust.
  6. Through meticulous attention to detail and unwavering commitment to fairness, Prime 9ja Online Media can assist in overcoming such public attitudes. We must avoid being hasty to dismiss criticism and grievances, a quality that journalists utterly despise in others.
  7. News stories have the potential to affect both the ordinary citizen and the world's largest corporation. The integrity and sensibility of Prime 9ja Online Media demand that reporters and editors react compassionately and immediately when an error has been made. It makes no difference if the complaint is made by a timid individual working alone or a team of lawyers for a powerful figure.
  8. Every story that is discovered to be inaccurate and requiring a correction must be brought to the supervisory staff's attention.

ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR

One of our responsibilities is to ensure we don't do anything that diminishes the craft or undermines our credibility. Because we bring the unpleasant news about politicians who turn dirty, caretakers who abuse their trust, and business people who ignore ethics for profit, we must follow strict ethical principles and be seen to be doing so.

It's impossible to address all potential ethical issues in one place, but the following guidelines are presented in the spirit of wanting to enhance our work rather than restrict it.

  1. Ethical behaviour is nourished by pride in oneself and the profession of journalism.
  2. Prime 9ja Online Media is self-supporting. Nothing should be accepted by staff that could jeopardize our integrity or credibility.
  3. Prime 9ja Online Media does not pay newsmakers for interviews, to take their pictures or to film or record them.
  4. Prime 9ja Online Media reporters do not misrepresent themselves to get a story. They always identify themselves as journalists.

IMPARTIALITY

Impartiality is a lot like exercising. To improve tone and strength, you must exercise on a regular basis.

Stopping and asking oneself, "Am I being as unbiased, honest, and fair as I can be?" is the ideal exercise for impartiality.