The Desk holds many of the same standards of practice and ethics of accurate and accountable journalism as its peers who cover the intersections of business, technology, media. Adhering to these principles has allowed The Desk to publish unrivaled and reliable news stories related to companies, products and services since the website launched in 2013.
Everyone at The Desk — from our publisher to our contributors — are expected to abide by the same set of standards of practice and ethics, which is critical to our editorial independence, our reputation and our trust with readers.
Our standards of practice are as follows:
1.) We do not accept anything of material value in exchange for favorable coverage.
This means we will not promise to review a company, a service or a product in a certain way in exchange for something of material value or future goodwill, and we exercise our independent discretion when it comes to whether to rate or review a company, product or service positively or negatively.
2.) We strive to be fair in all our reporting.
This requires an objective approach to newsgathering and reporting on companies, products and services. It does not mean we must offer “both sides” of a story, particularly if one side might misrepresent a topic or issue, but it does mean that our reporting should seek out as many perspectives as reasonable and possible.
3.) We thoroughly disclose our conflicts.
Our editorial contributors and employees are not prohibited from having financial positions (“owning stock) in the companies that they cover, but they are strongly discouraged from doing so. Contributors and employees must disclose any material ownership of or employment with a company at the time of a story’s publication, and must also disclose any nominal facts about that position or employment (i.e., if the contributor or employee sits on the board of a company that is covered).
4.) We do not make promises that we cannot guarantee, and we keep the promises that we do make.
From time to time, a company may send us an announcement regarding a future product, service, employee hiring or some other matter, when the condition that the information not be published until a certain day or time (also known as an “embargo”). We do accept embargoed news releases, and strive to ensure that the material is not published until the agreed upon date and time, though we reserve the right to publish the information earlier if the information becomes public beforehand.
That said, we don’t allow others to dictate our coverage of a company, product or service. We don’t promise favorable coverage in exchange for something of material value or future goodwill. And we don’t allow the subjects of our reporting to wholesale “preview” our articles, stories or columns prior to publication.
5.) We protect our confidential sources.
Like other publications, we rely on sources to provide us with accurate and reliable information to help further our newsgathering and reporting. We may, at our discretion, grant anonymity to sources in limited cases, and we will strive to protect those sources from disclosure. We typically only provide anonymity to sources when there is a high degree of likelihood that a source will face actual harm, retribution or other danger if their identity is disclosed.
6.) We do not pay for news tips.
Just as we accept nothing of material value in exchange for favorable reporting, we do not provide anything of material value in exchange for newsworthy information from sources (but we may pay for editorial contributions like photographs, video, columns and freelance stories in the form of a license), and we will not agree to provide anything of material value in exchange for information.
7.) Our conversations with sources are “on the record,” unless otherwise agreed to.
Sources who provide us with an interview or information should consider any statements to be “on the record,” in that they are reportable and attributable, without limitation. Any divergence from this — including “on background,” “not for attribution” and “off the record” — must be agreed upon by both the reporter and the source prior to any information exchange or interview — in other words, if you say it, we can report it, unless there’s a prior agreement otherwise. Impromptu assertions from sources that a statement is “on background” or “off the record” does not constitute an agreement.
We treat information obtained “on background” the same as information that is obtained from an “off the record” conversation. Typically, we will only agree to receive information “on background” or “off the record” if it helps us better learn about a company, product or service in a way that prevents a material omission or error in our reporting. We reserve the right to ask a source if we can report some information from an “on background” or “off the record” conversation in a limited capacity; the source reserves the right to accept or decline this offer.
8.) Our business model is separate from our editorial mission.
The Desk is free to access by readers around the world, across a wide variety of devices, including computers, smartphones, tablets and e-readers. To help offset costs associated with newsgathering and reporting (including licensing, server costs and other expenses), the website uses a mixture of advertising and affiliate links to generate revenue.
The Desk earns a commission from goods and services that are purchased by readers using affiliate links found in some articles, columns and reviews. It costs readers nothing to use these links, and it helps keep The Desk free to access and read now and in the future. Additionally, The Desk uses display advertising networks and related services that help generate supplemental revenue. (At the moment, The Desk does not accept advertisements in the form of sponsored content.) Readers who use ad-blocking technology can support The Desk through a one-time or recurring donation.
Our advertising and affiliate revenue partners do not dictate our editorial coverage, and no consideration is given to advertisers or affiliate partners in terms of the stories pursued and reported by The Desk. We reserve the right to terminate an affiliation agreement, or prevent an advertiser from promoting their company, product or service through our advertising network or service, at any time.
Readers or sources who have questions about our standards of practice and our ethics can send us a message here.