The NewsX Code of Conduct

Last Updates On: 14/11/2023.


NewsXis a Community Interest Company (CIC) whose sole purpose for existence is the support of sustainable, independent journalism. This reason for being is enshrined in the NewsX articles of association registered and recorded at Companies House for England and Wales (Company Number 14370436), and as such, the rules and regulations governing the UK media are at the heart of our journalist’s code. Journalism was best defined by John Reith when he laid down the ground rules for independent,public-service broadcasting in the United Kingdom in 1922. He said that from its inception, the BBC should inform, educate and entertain.

But as well as these principles, we have also incorporated elements from the wider global media community to make them as universal as possible: Our journalism should also be free of all other considerations, without fear of consequences or in the hope of favour, and alsothat the truth should be told, however painful.

Code of Conduct

Journalism is a tool for the greater public good, but if not held to a high standard of integrity, which means both accuracy and independence, it flounders.In order to fulfil its mission of supporting NewsX communities, building an affiliateagency network and supporting independent publishers, as well as our news media projects like the news regulator QC, then a reputation founded in the accuracy, fairness and independence as outlined in this code is paramount.

This Code of Conduct is a guide to maintain standards and protect that reputation andapplies to all those working within NewsX, as well as those in the affiliate program, including editorial teams, partner agencies and publishers, and must be agreed upon before gaining NewsX accreditation, access to the software suite, clients, and other services.

Guarantee of Quality

All news produced within the NewsX network is carried out by editorial staff qualified or training for one or more of the editorial roles identified as necessary for the production of quality independent news. To do so, they follow the rules in the NewsX style guide.

Content is produced within a virtual newsroom software, The Fourth Estate News Hub (T4 Hub). Each extrusion of the T4 Hub software is branded and assigned to individual agencies that sit at the heart of NewsXcommunities. T4 Hub manages the daily news list and every aspect of producing and distributing content, including archiving and invoicing. These agencies are in a symbiotic relationship with the NewsX communities that define them, and are the source for content for the NewsX daily news feed.

The integrity of the network is guaranteed by the name (brand aka agency credit) of the individual agencies, by the unique name (byline) of the individual editorial content creators (byline) and by the ability to match the editorial requirements of media partners that use that content, and consumers that choose to be informed by it.

Because every NewsX byline is unique, and can only be assigned to one individual, it is easy to identify and assign credit to every single individual contributor on every story, payments can be assigned correctly, and when due, criticism logged and learned from.

Up to 10 bylinedindividuals will work on a single story with these logged in the database, although only the journalist role, whichguarantees the story, are guaranteed to be credited on publication, as they are the ones that guarantee quality and independence with their name. As with editorial teams, agencies also agree to a professional standard,and to follow the style guide in producing content.

Our Agencies

Within our NewsX network, editorial staff join newsrooms which are linked in with NewsX communities.  These agencies centred around the symbiotic relationship between newsrooms and communities are an organic ecosystem that is constantly growing and evolving.

Within each agency there are a number ofdesks representing different types of content from that community. Desks are generated organically from the constant monitoring of content to see which taxonomical values arefinding favour with publishers, and those desks that continue to grow will then become agencies in their own right, with their own selection of desks.

Agencies and desks that no longer function optimally are dissolved, with members from those teams then free to join other agencies and desks. There is always a demand for news; our system ensures a fluid supply of the content that is in demand at the time.

Our agencies are not allowed to distribute PR or marketing material disguised as news unless it is material provided from the above source without payment that is deemed newsworthy in its own right.

Agencies in our network undertake to use our software in the generation of content in order to guarantee quality and offer transparency in the event of complaints.

Agencies are expected to maintain a simple web page to interact with sources and publishers. It should include such information as details about their professional standards, any funding or mission statements, its target content and policy on making corrections and other matters. Agencies are expected to clearly distinguish between comment, analysis and reporting.


NewsX uniquely has a taxonomy that can be applied unaltered to both content, editorial individuals, and publishers.

This taxonomy ensures the efficient movement of related content and editors to related publishers and also offers big data for efficient management within the NewsX ecosystem.

Each NewsX Community for example, will organically generate desks, which are effectively groupings of related news items managed by a single individual. Successful desks can then expand to become communities in their own rights. Likewise, desks that no longer work effectively can be downgraded to become desks within other agencies.

The taxonomy allows the efficient movement of staff on agencies that have been downgraded or news staff to other agencies that match their taxonomy skill sets.

Our Publishers

Publishers are free to use and modify NewsX content on the condition that bylinesand agency credits are used on exclusive news.

Illustrations, including graphics, pictures, documents, videos and sound files, also need to be properly credited with the correct byline and agency name (as provided by whatever NewsX affiliate was involved using their short code).

With exclusive content that is rewritten, or non exclusive content where the language and word order is not changed,  the NewsX reporter will need to be bylined. We also urge publishers to also use the agency credit  at the bottom of the copy:

Newsflash:  “NX/NF”

Asia Wire Report; “NX/AWR”

A full list of agency abbreviations / acronyms  can be found here.

Each short form ID needs to be unique to each agency.

Editorial Staff:

Media publishers need professionally produced content to maintain credibility and build followers. For many reasons, the relationship between freelancers and news desks has been eroded, and this code of conduct has been drafted as a framework on which our members (individuals, agencies and publishers) may begin the process of rebuilding.

The NewsX mission is to empower and support independent professional journalists and help them produce strong and accurate news content, working with publishers to rebuild global respect for the profession.

Trustworthy reporting makes positive contributions across all aspects of society when it challenges, questions, offers fresh perspectives, and is subject to professional standards and an ethical code.

This Code of Practice is a tool to help independent journalists maintain a principled stance and achieve the standards of conduct and professionalism that will drive public respect for their industry and earn acknowledgement from publishers seeking accurate and independent copy.

It is a living document and will continue to update and grown over time. Accredited journalists must remain aware of updates to the code by regularly checking the website for changes or signing up for notifications.

Agencies need to have qualified professionals who take responsibility for the content and ensure in turn that the professionals in their own organisations are properly trained to carry out all of the 10 roles needed in the generation of a typical article.

NewsX provides editorial teams with a NewsX email address, verification for their social media which they need to maintain to build relationships with the public and partners about their work, press accreditation and verification as NewsX content producers, training in editorial production roles and other services.

But above all, being part of the NewsX network is about working for the benefit of society through accurate, independent reporting. It’s not about keeping anybody happy, or seeking favours or friends, it’s about putting the spotlight on what matters, however painful it is, and remembering that in most cases if it isn’t annoying somebody, it probably isn’t journalism.

As a member of the editorial team, you are signing up to produce content, to help those that consume what we produce have the independent news they need to make decisions about their lives, professions, religions, society, government, and every other aspect relating to the world and the time in which we live.

Code of Practice

Journalists accredited by the NewsX must agree to follow these principles and accept the right to adjudicate on issues of non-adherence to this code.

The code needs to apply to both printed and online versions as well as like branded and accredited social media accounts and needs to be followed by both non editorial staff and non journalists as well as own editorial staff.

Verify Information AndSources

Modern digital communication systems enable information to flow from many sources, and correctly filtering and testing this information to determine what is real or fake is vitally important.

Also, many reports now originate, to some extent, in the work of other journalists. This means valuable information can be made available to wider audiences. But it is crucial to verify the work of others and add value before using it, enriching it through new research and fresh angles where possible, and re-writing it into the journalist’s own words.

A byline is a journalist’s confirmation and assurance that the information contained in a report has been carefully examined and is factually correct.

In turn, the journalist has the right to expect proper accreditation for original exclusive work, and proper remuneration.

Maintain Separation Between News, Comment &Marketing

Accredited journalists must agree to independently select the subjects that they write about and only accept payment for that work from agencies, which in turn are paid by publishers. This does not mean that news cannot originate from PR sources or press releases. It means that accredited journalists should avoid accepting PR or marketing contracts directly.

If they do, this income must be declared and made completely transparent.

Even where the law does not prohibit it, journalists must not use for their own profit financial information they receive in advance of its general publication, nor should they pass such information to others.

They must not write about shares or securities in whose performance they know that they or their close families have a significant financial interest without disclosing the interest to the editor or financial editor.

They must not buy or sell, either directly or through nominees or agents, shares or securities about which they have written recently or about which they intend to write in the near future.Only by being open and honest about potentially compromising influences can the work of a journalist remain credible.

Likewise a clear distinction needs to be made between news and comment.

Demonstrate Qualifications OrExperience

Journalists need a professional qualification or a track record of experience in the industry to be accredited with NewsX.

Accredited journalists must maintain an up-to-date public portfolio with NewsX that demonstrates their standards and qualifications and provides samples of their work.

This is an essential tool in reassuring the public that NewsX is comprised of journalists fit to hold this significant role, and it is an important guide to publishers seeking to utilise the highest standard of independent journalism for their publication.

Check Facts

Accredited journalists must make every effort to ensure all facts in a story are correct and all available information has been included without suppression. If any fact is later proven incorrect, a correction must be issued as soon as possible.

It balances both the rights of theindividual and the public’s right to know. To achieve that balance, it is essential that the code be honoured not only to the letter, but in the full spirit.It should be interpreted neither so narrowly as to compromiseits commitment to respect the rights of the individual, nor sobroadly that it infringes the fundamental right to freedom ofexpression – such as to inform, to be partisan, to challenge,shock, be satirical and to entertain – or to prevent publicationin the public interest.

If a story is found to be in any way deficient, it must be corrected or withdrawn immediately. If it appears in a publication where it is beyond your ability to correct or withdraw you must make every reasonable effort to alert the publisher.

In some cases, it may even be necessary to publish an apology or a right to reply alongside a correction that should be published alongside any agreed changes.

Check Sources

Journalists are expected to rate their online news sources as a database for others to help assess reliability of material being introduced into their own work. This information compiled by news professionals should help with our mission of avoiding debunked sites. Each new source includes a journalist’s own ratings and the amalgamated group ratings based on five stars. The rating should be based purely on the site’s proven accuracy in reporting. Other relevant fields about the political orientation, source of funding and geographical location also need to be recorded under the organisation’s profile.

Balance Opinions

Journalists must make every effort to ensure that both sides of an argument are represented by including facts and opinions that represent both sides. Journalists must not place needless emphasis on gender, race, sexual orientation, religious belief, illness or personal disability.

Use Integrity When Gathering News

Accredited journalists should always attempt to act with integrity when gathering news.

NewsX acknowledges there are many grey areas in this but asserts that in cases where the correct action is unclear, the matter should be discussed carefully among colleagues before acting. The experience and conclusions of members are welcome as additions to this code.

Private grief and personal privacy must be respected and journalists should enforce their right to reject compulsion to intrude on them. Children under the age of 16 must never be interviewed or photographed without prior consent and without a guardian in attendance.

When reporting suicide, to prevent simulative acts careshould be taken to avoid excessive detail of the methodused, while taking into account the media’s right to reportlegal proceedings.

The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative referenceto an individual’s race, colour, religion, sex, genderidentity, sexual orientation or to any physical or mentalillness or disability.Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

Subterfuge And Deceit

Accredited journalists should avoid subterfuge unless there is real evidence of wrongdoing, and it should be approved by an independent editor.

The press must not seek to obtain or publish materialacquired by using hidden cameras or clandestinelistening devices; or by intercepting private or mobiletelephone calls, messages or emails; or by theunauthorised removal of documents or photographs; orby accessing digitally-held information without consent.

Engaging in misrepresentation or subterfuge, includingby agents or intermediaries, can generally be justifiedonly in the public interest and then only when thematerial cannot be obtained by other means.

The restrictions on intruding into privacy are particularly relevant to enquiries journalists must identify themselves and obtain permission from a responsible executive before entering non-public areas of hospitals or similar institutions to pursue enquiries.


Journalists must not engage in intimidation,harassment or persistent pursuit.They must not persist in questioning, telephoning,pursuing or photographing individuals once asked todesist; nor remain on property when asked to leave. If requested, they must identifythemselves and whom they represent.Editors must ensure these principles are observedby those working for them and take care not to usenon-compliant material from other sources.

Declare Any Interests

Accredited journalists must not allow personal interests to influence them in their professional duties, and all personal interests must be declared.

NewsX editorial team profiles include a section where interests can be declared and personal views that may affect impartiality can be listed. In doing so, it allows the journalist to write with passion about subjects that they care about without allegations of partiality.

Don’t Use Media Privileges For Personal Gain

It is not acceptable to use journalism for market research, to advise you in investment decisions, or for any other purpose other than the creation of news.

Accredited journalists must never allow professional duties to be influenced by any gift or offered advantage, nor seek payment in any way other than compensation by a publisher for journalistic work. Any offer or gift that is accepted must be disclosed where possible.

Never Plagiarise

Ideas, facts, phrases or sections of text which is clearly substantially based on the work of another must always be rewritten. If that work contains facts that are clearly a result of journalistic effort, it must be credited accordingly.

Respect Confidentiality

The identity of confidential sources must be preserved. A source who has requested anonymity should only be named by a journalist if ordered to do so by a court of law, and NewsX supports accredited journalists who would seek to challenge such a court order. All other requests must be rejected.

Exclusivity Must Be Credited

Exclusivity should be rewarded. NewsX needs to attribute and or credit when referencing exclusive material.

However,exclusivity cannot be obtained from press releases, press conferences, or any other publicly available media resource, although exclusivity can rest in the development and interpretation of this material. This can only be done at the editor’s discretion.

Avoid Pseudonyms

Bylines are a journalist’s brand and should be accurately and honestly included on all work that is produced.

Journalists covering stories involving criminal activity or terrorism, those working in countries where journalists are regularly persecuted, or those with other valid reasons may wish to use a pseudonym for their editorial work, but NewsX must know the real identity of the author in any such case and the reason why. Tolerance for pseudonyms is limited.

Depending on the circumstances, breaches of the code under a pseudonym will not help a journalist avoid investigations and subsequent rulings.

Share And Strengthen Independent Journalism

All Alliance members agree to pool data regarding details of where content can be published, contribute to discussions on dealing with the changing media landscape, identify challenges and opportunities for the profession, and work together to further independent journalism for example in the development and improvement of this code.

Useful data for sharing includes general contact information for publishers and details on payment rates and markets to aid categorising in terms of profitability or risk.

Help Shape The Future Of NewsX

Users of the NewsX T4 Hub software agree to cooperate to improve this communal software for the benefit of all. Individual modifications are possible, but such updates will also be made available to the wider community if it is determined that they would benefit all.


Allegations of a breach of professional standards, in conduct or reporting, must be fully investigated, and both sides given the opportunity to defend their position. A voluntary panel of three NewsXeditorial team members in one of the following roles (Senior Writer, News Editor, Sub Editor, Illustrations Editor) not connected to the complained about matter will adjudicate and rule on each instance and, if deemed applicable, will recommend actions to address wrongdoings.

The Public Interest Defence

There may be exceptions to the clauses marked * where they can be demonstrated to be in the public interest.

1. The public interest includes, but is not confined to:

i. Detecting or exposing crime, or the threat of crime, or serious impropriety.

ii. Protecting public health or safety.

iii. Protecting the public from being misled by an action or statement of an individual or organisation.

iv. Disclosing a person or organisation’s failure or likely failure to comply with any obligation to which they are subject.

v. Disclosing a miscarriage of justice.

vi. Raising or contributing to a matter of public debate, including serious cases of impropriety, unethical conduct or incompetence concerning the public.

vii. Disclosing concealment, or likely concealment, of any of the above.

2. There is a public interest in freedom of expression itself.

3. The regulator will consider the extent to which material is already in the public domain or will become so.

4. Editors invoking the public interest will need to demonstrate that they reasonably believed publication – or journalistic activity taken with a view to publication – would both serve, and be proportionate to, the public interest and explain how they reached that decision at the time.

5. An exceptional public interest would need to be demonstrated to over-ride the normally paramount interests of children under 16.

Style Guide

While the code of conduct dictates standards that those involved in content need to adhere to, the style guide dictates the rules and regulations related to the style of writing, headline creation, picture captions and other matters related to how an article appears.