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Code of Ethics

Essential Public Media has a deep commitment to truth, fairness, independence, objectivity and accuracy in all of its programming. This Code of Ethics has been assembled to establish guidelines for upholding those standards by all staff, independent journalists, student fellows and broadcasters at Essential Public Media. It draws upon the Code of Ethics from other news organizations, including NPR, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, and the Editorial Integrity for Public Media project.

Conflict of Interest

Essential Public Media must uphold the trust of the public by not overlapping individual interest with professional responsibilities. Essential Public Media staff members must immediately disclose potential conflicts to their supervisor.

Essential Public Media journalists may not accept any form of compensation from the individuals, institutions or organizations they cover. Essential Public Media will pay for travel expenses of staff when covering a story.

Journalists covering a story must pay for their meals whenever possible, unless provided at conferences, conventions, where it is done out of ease for the entire press corps.

Essential Public Media may only accept complimentary passes to events if attendance will provide material or background for reviews, stories, or future programs or lead to a more substantial understanding of a particular topic, beat or organization. Essential Public Media journalists are never obligated to complete any story on any organizations providing invitations or passes to events. To avoid perceived conflicts, Essential Public Media journalists will, whenever possible, exercise enterprise to contact possible sources, finding sources independent of events and special interests.
Essential Public Media journalists may not sign political petitions either for candidates or proposed ballot referenda.

Personal bias has no place in our reporting. Commentary and opinion must be clearly labeled as such. Essential Public Media journalists may provide objective analysis, but must refrain from sharing their opinions on news stories in any venue or forum.


Essential Public Media receives funding from multiple sources to assist in the fulfillment of its mission to provide coverage that is truthful, fair and independent. To that end, Essential Public Media will maintain a clear firewall between journalists and funders. Editorial decision-making with funders or their representatives is strictly forbidden.

We acknowledge in the course of reporting, Essential Public Media journalists may come across an organization or major donor that funds the station. To the best of our ability, we will identify the relationship on air. Programming content will never be affected by organizations affiliated with Essential Public Media.

Special series developed in partnership with Essential Public Media and an outside organization must be clearly identified on air. In every case, Essential Public Media maintains editorial autonomy for decisions related to story selection, program guests and overall content. Funding credits are a service provided to organizations supporting Essential Public Media. Sponsorship will not be used in any way to determine, restrict, or manipulate content on Essential Public Media.

Essential Public Media will not air funding announcements that contain any advocacy language for any cause, group or individual nor accept underwriting dollars from organizations whose primary function is advocacy.

Essential Public Media journalists do not pay for information from sources or interviews with newsmakers. Essential Public Media journalists and programming staff may not contribute financially or through volunteering to any political cause or organization whose purpose is political. It is the responsibility of the staff to be aware of the organization’s intent, and to take appropriate action.

For more information, please contact 90.5 WESA General Manager, DeAnne Hamilton, at 412-697-2952 or the Director of Content and Programming, Tammy Terwelp, at 412-697-2944.