Tearline operates under a strict ethics policy that ensures our editorial independence and the integrity of our journalism. All of our editorial staff are required to abide by the following guidelines, many of which exceed standards in our industry.
Earning and keeping the trust of our audience is, and always will be, at the core of Tearline’s mission. In a world where information is distributed across countless platforms and formats, it’s more important than ever to promote clear ethical guidelines that allow audiences to know where that information comes from and whether it can be trusted.
Our most valuable asset is the independence that allows us to publish stories without fear.
Tearline is routinely critical of the people and companies we cover, and we’re most proud of our work when we tell stories that people in power would prefer not to see the light of day. We are able to enjoy this independence because every member of our editorial team is required to follow a strict code of conduct.
Here are the core guidelines in our code of conduct:
In addition to standards that preserve our independence, Tearline’s reporters are expected to abide by industry-standard ethical guidelines for reporting. This means that our editorial team takes great care to learn the truth and report it, protect sources, minimise the risk of harm, and strive for accuracy and honesty in everything we publish. We use the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics as a baseline for the professional conduct of our editorial staff.
Tearline maintains high standards for sourcing. Our reporters will always carefully explain our sourcing practices to you and strive to protect your confidentiality when appropriate. If you are a communications professional or talking to us in your official capacity, we will abide by the following definitions.
“On the record” is the default for talking to reporters and editors at Tearline. You say things, we record them, and we can report who you are and quote what you said. We will expect corporate communications professionals and people speaking to us in an official capacity to be on the record in almost every single case, and you will have to tell us why you want to change this default every single time.
“On background” means you can talk to us and we will not specifically identify you, instead using a descriptor like “company spokesperson.” If you are a corporate communications professional speaking to us in your official capacity, we will not in any circumstances attribute you as “a source familiar.”
Going “on background” is an agreement between you and the reporters or editors you speak to at Tearline. The general rules of an agreement apply: you may offer to go on background, and we will accept or deny your request. If we do not specifically accept, there is no agreement.
A reminder: you have to ask, and we have to agree. Every single time.
“Off the record” is simple: you talk to us, and we agree not to use anything we hear in any of our reporting unless we can source it otherwise. Like “on background”, off the record is an agreement. If we don’t agree, you are not off the record. We do not readily agree to off-the-record conversations with corporate communications professionals or people speaking in their official capacities without specific reasons.
Tearline advertises space on our properties. Any feature on Tearline sponsored by a particular company or advertiser is clearly marked as “Presented by,” “Paid Content For” or “Advertiser Content From”. Advertisements do not necessarily reflect the views of Tearline and do not infringe on the creative agency of our editorial team. Our editorial team does not directly accept money or other consideration from individuals or entities as a condition or incentive to write a review or story, whether favourable or unfavourable.
“Presented by” content is created independently by our editorial team but is made possible through the direct support of advertisers. That content is clearly disclosed on the Tearline website, newsletters and social media accounts where it appears as “Presented by” the applicable sponsor. With “Presented by” content, our sponsors may select which content they wish to support. However, we do not allow our sponsors to control or interfere with the editorial integrity of our editorial teams and the content they create.
“Paid Content For” is used to describe content that has been created with funding from an advertiser and is produced in conjunction with Tearline. Advertisers may be involved in the creation of this content by collaborating on general topics or themes and/or in other similarly limited ways. In each case, however, where content is designated by “Paid Content For,” Tearline determines the final content and the advertiser has absolutely no control, review, or approval rights.
“Advertiser Content From” is content featured on the Tearline website and/or social media account that either (1) is paid for by a particular advertiser and developed by the Tearline team in collaboration with the advertiser, or (2) produced by an advertiser. In both cases, the content is clearly disclosed as “Advertiser Content From” wherever it appears. Tearline will only feature advertiser content where the team has tested the product first hand.
Some of our content contains affiliate links, which means we will receive a commission for purchases made via those links; where our team have included affiliate links to our articles, we will include a disclosure.
Tearline is a multimedia brand that is distributed across many platforms, including our own site on the web and social media. Our editorial standards apply to all of our platforms. Tearline does, on occasion, distribute sponsored editorial content and paid branded content through our distributed platforms. They are clearly labelled as "Presented by" (for editorial sponsorships), "Paid Content For” (for branded content), or “Advertiser Content From” (for advertiser content) in the post and further labelled using platform-specific tools such as the Facebook handshake.
Despite making every effort to be accurate in our reporting, sometimes we get something wrong. If we discover a mistake in a story, our editors will promptly issue a correction that removes the inaccurate information and adds a notice of correction that explains the error. In some cases, like if an inaccuracy is contained in a video, we may have to remove the original piece of content and replace it with a version in which the error is omitted.
Sometimes more information about a story we’ve published becomes available that either continues the narrative or clarifies the original story, but it is not a correction. In these cases, we may add and/or change elements of the original story. These updates will be clearly noted at the bottom of the story, indicating the time of the change and a note describing what was changed.
Additionally, we may remove content if we believe it infringes on the intellectual property rights of a third party, otherwise violates any third-party rights, or breaches any applicable law or regulation.
We’re always interested in hearing from you if you have a concern about our ethical standards. If you see something that doesn’t look right on Tearline, please let us know.
Policies as of Feb 2023; we will continue to update this page.