Mongabay’s editorial standards rely upon guidelines and policies from many professional journalism associations, news outlets, and wire services, including:
- Society of Professional Journalists
- Institute of Nonprofit News
- Associated Press News Values
- National Association of Science Writers
These sources remain to be primary reference materials used to inform editorial decisions and ethical behavior at Mongabay. Additional research of the Ethical Journalism Networks’ Accountable Journalism Database was used to reference many additional international standards. In cases where policy from another source is adopted, attribution is provided.
Principles of editorial decision-making
Mongabay’s highest obligation is to accurately convey facts and reality in our reporting. A commitment to evidence in the pursuit of the truth is the foundation of Mongabay’s credibility and reliability as a news source.
To maintain our trustworthiness, Mongabay cites sources, checks facts, and identifies bias as well as conflicts of interest in our reporting. While gathering information, Mongabay maintains a professional skepticism and seeks out original, primary sources whenever feasible. If primary sources are not accessible, Mongabay works to verify the authenticity and credibility of secondary sources of information.
Mongabay takes accountability for mistakes or imprecision in our published reporting by expediently correcting errors and transparently documenting the changes made within the articles. Mongabay staff and contributors must never knowingly distort facts or introduce false information.
Mongabay encourages staff, contributors, and audience members to refer to the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics as a basis for interpreting the following policies and guidance about Mongabay’s journalistic practices.
Mongabay works in the public interest by creating and advancing knowledge about matters that can impact everyone, notably the conservation of nature, the value of biodiversity, and the role of healthy ecosystems in sustaining humanity. As this purpose involves holding powerful individuals and institutions accountable for their actions, Mongabay must maintain the independence of its journalism from outside influence.
Mongabay subscribes to standards of editorial independence and donor transparency adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News. Mongabay retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of the organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue to ensure editorial judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors or any other revenue source. We do not give supporters the right to assign, review, or edit content.
Mongabay also maintains independence from our sources. We don’t allow completed reports to be shared with sources for review. Relevant portions of reports may be communicated to verify facts or inform response when Mongabay requests comment.
To support editorial independence, Mongabay maintains a diversity of donors and financing streams for our journalism and commits to transparency in every aspect of our funding by publishing updated information on Mongabay.org and disclosing potential conflicts of interest within articles. Mongabay does accept gifts, grants, and sponsorships from individuals, organizations and foundations to fund our general operations, coverage of specific topics and special projects.
Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates as a public trust, we do not pay certain taxes. We may receive funds from standard government programs offered to nonprofits or similar businesses. We will not accept donations from sources that present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our editorial independence.
Mongabay supports a healthy exchange of views and includes a diversity of information sources in its coverage. Mongabay is not an advocacy organization and seeks to convey all relevant points of view in our reporting. Disagreement alone is never a just rationale to exclude a particular viewpoint. As a journalism organization, Mongabay depends upon and asserts a right to freedom of expression and access to information through its very existence.
The fairness of reporting depends upon effectively conveying the context in which news events are taking place. Mongabay recognizes false balance as a form of media bias. In accordance with the National Association of Science Writers’ ethics policies, Mongabay acknowledges and communicates when scientific methods have established facts that are no longer questioned by the majority of reputable scientists involved.
Content published on Mongabay’s platforms is clearly distinguished between news, opinion, and analysis. If an organization or individual is criticized or accused of wrongdoing in our reporting, Mongabay will offer a genuine opportunity to respond prior to publication and will describe our effort to obtain comment if none is provided.
Mongabay’s news is inspired by nature, and a reverence for natural wonder is an intrinsic part of our mission to raise awareness of the Earth’s most critical ecosystems. We recognize place and geography as an important dimension of Mongabay’s journalism and prioritize coverage of locations, wildlife, and people underrepresented or marginalized in news reporting.
We reject the notion that humans are separate from nature and seek to explore both the multitude of connections between people and the environment and the undeniable impact of human action on planetary health and sustainability. Mongabay’s reverence for nature extends to respect for all living things.