- Mission Statement and Coverage Priorities
- Statement of Purpose
- Ethics Framework
- Diversity Policy
- Sourcing and Unnamed Sources Policy
- Transparency and Objectivity
- Verification and Fact-Checking Standards
- Corrections Policy and Practice
- In-House Editor Standards
- Participation in the Trust Project
- NewsGuard’s Standards of Credibility and Transparency
- Editorial and Newsroom Contacts
Mission Statement and Coverage Priorities
Wellness inspired. Wellness enabled.
Our mission is to inspire and empower people to live their healthiest lives, every day.
At Healthsnew, we bridge the gap between lifestyle and medical sites, delivering trusted health information as well as fun-to-read tips and insights that make life a little easier.
We are committed to providing our audience with trusted, evidence-based health and medical information from the nation’s leading healthcare providers and patient advocates at the center of clinical care.
Our editorial team is comprised of passionate, award-winning health and medical journalists.
We have a team of board-certified medical reviewers who are practicing specialists in their fields. All medically reviewed content identifies the specialist who conducted the review.
Our articles are written by health and medical journalists, patient advocates, and healthcare professionals who are committed to Healthsnew’s editorial standards for accuracy, objectivity, and balance.
Statement of Purpose
Healthsnew delivers accurate, timely health information and medical research news to consumers. The purpose of these editorial standards is to establish a set of mechanisms to ensure high-quality, objective, and transparent reporting and writing, which will improve the accuracy and usefulness of the information published.
In cases where issues are not clear-cut, these editorial standards will act as guidelines rather than a set of absolute “dos and don’ts.” These standards are intended to help examine and thoughtfully resolve editorial dilemmas. Staff are responsible for initiating such discussions with their editors and managers when they encounter a perceived editorial issue.
For advice on legal matters related to Healthsnew, immediately consult the Healthsnew legal team.
The Healthsnew Editorial Standards provide a framework for addressing situations in which the accuracy and integrity of reporting and writing could be compromised or called into question. The reporter and editor will work together to answer the following questions and reach a solution when there is a question about a piece of content. If a solution cannot be reached, final say goes to the editor in chief or next highest manager, who will make a decision after consulting all concerned parties.
The questions a reporter and editor should answer in order to reach a solution include (but may not be limited to):
1. What do I know? What do I need to know?
2. What is my journalistic purpose?
3. What are my ethical concerns?
4. What organizational policies and professional guidelines should I consider?
5. How can I include other people, with different perspectives and diverse ideas, in the decision-making process?
6. Who are the stakeholders — those affected by my decision? What are their motivations? Which are legitimate?
7. What if the roles were reversed? How would I feel if I were in the shoes of one of the stakeholders?
8. What are the possible consequences of my actions? Short term? Long term?
9. What are my alternatives to maximize my truth-telling responsibility and minimize harm?
10. Can I clearly and fully justify my thinking and my decision? To my colleagues? To the stakeholders? To the public?
Each situation and its resolution should be documented. The following details should be saved to a shared drive on the Healthsnew server: 1) a short summary of the issue, 2) the resolution, 3) steps taken to resolve the issue, and 4) what steps should be taken to prevent similar situations in the future. Editorial supervisors should meet twice yearly to review these documents, learn from past experiences, and update Healthsnew Editorial Standards as necessary.
Healthsnew is committed to publishing website content reflective of the diversity of our audience. Our goal is to provide medically accurate health and wellness information that is inclusive of all ages, genders, races, religions, and political affiliations where applicable.
Sourcing and Unnamed Sources Policy
All sources of content must be given. A reporter should clearly indicate the recognized, scientific, or official sources of information in his or her articles.
- If a reporter uses another website, book, article, database, or any other supporting information that is not common knowledge, it must be cited.
- Whenever possible, particularly if a source is central to the article premise and position, a story should cite and link to the source material referenced.
- In some cases, it may be appropriate to attribute breaking news to a credible third-party source until an Healthsnew story is available. The source should be cited appropriately.
- If the source is not a well-known media outlet, journal, or individual, the reporter should include a brief description.
- The reporter should include a source’s professional, business, and personal affiliations (e.g., ties to pharmaceutical or other companies), and relationship to other source material mentioned (e.g., study authorship).
- Conflicts of interest must be noted as close to the top of the story as possible.
- A source’s qualification and relevance to the subject (e.g., patient or medical or health professional) must be clearly stated.
- If using social media for sourcing, a reporter should make sure to verify source identity.
- Sources should always be fully identified. In rare instances where a source may be in legal or physical jeopardy, the reporter must discuss the situation with editors and be prepared to identify source to their editor.
- A reporter should always question the motives of sources coming forward with information that they do not wish to be associated with by name, and communicate those motives to readers.
- When it is deemed appropriate to withhold information about a source, the reporter should use the most complete description of the source possible (e.g., first name and occupation).
- In discussing attribution, a reporter should make every effort to allow identification. Identifying sources lends credibility to stories and engenders audience trust.
- Anything a source says “on the record” can be reported. A source who agrees to be interviewed for a story is presumed to be speaking on the record unless there is an express agreement that the any part or all of the interview is “off the record.”
- “Off the record” information can be used if it is confirmed with another source who speaks on the record.
- A reporter may withhold a source’s name if there is an express agreement that certain information given is “not for attribution.” The attribution should give as much information about the source as possible and agreed upon.
- Explain “off the record” and “not for attribution” to sources using the definitions above.
- The reporter should make sure the source understands and agrees on the meaning of the above terms. Once a decision regarding “off the record” or “not for attribution” information has been made, it is important to protect that decision.
External Reviews of Content
- In general, noneditorial personnel should not preview an unpublished article. Exceptions include “medically reviewed by” articles submitted to medical experts.
- It is acceptable to vocally read direct quotes back to sources. Discuss the situation with an editor if the source requires further information or context.
- It may be acceptable to allow a source referred to in an article to review relevant sections, quotes, or other details in a story to ensure accuracy and clarity. Subject matter and other circumstances will determine how much of the article may be released for review. Reporters should first discuss any such requests with their editor.
- The decision to submit content for external review is at the discretion of the reporter and the editor.
- When reporting a story, a reporter should identify him or herself as a journalist. In a case where anonymity is necessary (e.g., consumer reporting), it is acceptable to not reveal that he or she is a reporter. If asked, the journalist must identify his or her profession and publication.
- If a reporter has a conflict of interest with a story, he or she should disclose this information to the editor and readers. A reporter who cannot remain objective should remove him or herself from the story.
Conflicts of Interest
- Perceived conflicts of interest are just as “real” as actual conflicts of interest. Address both.
- Be aware that fact placement in a story, word emphasis, visuals, and word choice can all confer bias and spread misconceptions.
- Always disclose the use of family members as sources.
- A reporter cannot solicit gifts under any circumstances. Unsolicited gifts of any value that could create the appearance of bias should be reported to an editor.
- When covering conferences, there may be cases when it is appropriate to accept discounted or waived attendance rates, or minimal items, such as meals. When in doubt, discuss these practices with an editor.
- Donations of all kinds:
- A reporter cannot make any donation or contribution, either charitable or political, that may call into question the objectivity and accuracy of his or her reporting.
- A reporter should seek approval from his or her editor before making any donation or contribution.
Verification and Fact-Checking Standards
Our experienced team of health journalists is dedicated to providing our users with the most accurate and trusted health and medical information to empower, educate, and inspire.
All of our content is reviewed by a team of copy editors to ensure accuracy and consistency of editorial style as well as voice.
Our team of board-certified medical reviewers are practicing specialists in their fields who help readers make informed decisions about their health by providing the most reliable and up-to-date information about conditions, symptoms, treatment, prevention, and more.
The purpose of medical review and medical fact-checking is to ensure that all content on Healthsnew is medically and pharmacologically accurate, and that all factual statements about medical procedures and tests, symptoms, treatments, standards of care, and typical protocols are correct and up to date.
Corrections Policy and Practice
Trust is easy to lose and difficult to regain. In order to uphold the integrity of the publication and preserve readers’ trust, wrongs must be redressed promptly. Immediately relay reports about potential corrections to an editor. Corrections to online articles should be submitted and approved by the editor. Never promise a correction or takedown of an article without approval.
When addressing topics covered in this section, please reference the Healthsnew Framework and submit a document to the shared drive as outlined.
- A correction is published when there is a factual error in a story.
- When a correction is made online, the reporter is responsible for alerting homepage, social teams, etc., to make necessary changes.
- Corrections should be made directly in the article, and text added at the bottom of the page should clarify what has been corrected.
- When a correction is made, the last updated date on the article should only be changed if the article has been substantially modified or undergone another medical review.
- Corrections should be concise and make clear how and why the mistake has been corrected.
- Example correction: Earlier versions of this article incorrectly stated [an expert source’s title]. It should have read [corrected title]. Healthsnew regrets the error.
- In general, “unpublish” requests are not granted. If the subject is suspected of inaccuracy, the editor and reporter should investigate and, if necessary, publish a correction. There may be situations in which fairness demands an update or follow-up coverage. Consider whether further editorial action is warranted, but do not remove the article as though it was never published.
- In the event an error in fact or emphasis is disseminated via an Healthsnew social media account, the reporter should contact their editor immediately. If deemed appropriate, the editor may take down the offending post and republish a corrected version of the content along with a correction.
In-House Editor Standards
- Healthsnew staff editors and reporters should ask for permission to freelance on condition topics they cover as beats. Do not write, work, or consult for direct competitors, as listed on ComScore, without an editor’s documented permission. Editors and reporters should not hold other nonjournalism positions that could represent a conflict of interest — these would include, but not be limited to, work for medical centers, healthcare providers, and pharmaceutical companies.
- Social media accounts owned by Healthsnew and maintained by Healthsnew reporters and editors — on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or elsewhere — reflect upon the company and website’s reputation and credibility.
- Personal social media accounts owned by Healthsnew journalists are the responsibility of said journalists. Please note that these accounts may also reflect upon the company and website’s reputation and credibility.
- Healthsnew reporters and editors should refrain from writing, tweeting, or posting anything on company or personal accounts that could make a reader question their ability to do their job objectively and professionally.
- Make every effort to present an objective social media presence. Be mindful of the effects of endorsing or liking particular social media profiles or pages, such as politically sensitive Facebook groups. Perceived conflicts of interest — whether or not they’re based on fact — should be avoided.
- Including “RT ≠ endorsements” in a bio is not a license to post inappropriate material. Do not rely on such caveats.
- It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz surrounding a story. Avoid sensationalism.
- Do not misrepresent any story with headlines or quotes taken out of context.
- Do not oversimplify information.
- Promote transparency when using social networks by using your full name and professional title in social bios.
- Reporters who receive information in advance of a press embargo should honor that embargo date and time.
- If a reporter believes an embargo should not be honored because the information has already been reported elsewhere, he or she should discuss with an editor.
Covering Science: Best Practices
- Confounding factors and study weaknesses should be noted early in any article about medical or scientific research.
- Practice due diligence. Reporters must give sources at least two hours to respond to negative press before publication.
- All items of information about the benefits or performance of any treatment, product, or service are considered claims. All claims have to be backed up with scientific evidence (medical journals, reports, or others).
- All medical content must have a “last updated” date.
Participation in the Trust Project
Healthsnew.com adheres to the standards set forth in the Trust Project, providing truthful and verified news and information with a commitment to fairness and accuracy.
NewsGuard’s Standards of Credibility and Transparency
Healthsnew.com received a green rating from NewsGuard, an organization that rates and reviews thousands of news websites for credibility and transparency. The green rating indicates that a website follows basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Healthsnew.com also adheres to all nine of NewsGuard’s standards of credibility and transparency:
- Does not repeatedly publish false content
- Gathers and presents information responsibly
- Regularly corrects or clarifies errors
- Handles the difference between news and opinion responsibly
- Avoids deceptive headlines
- Website discloses ownership and financing
- Clearly labels advertising
- Reveals who’s in charge, including possible conflicts of interest
- The site provides the names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information
Read NewsGuard’s complete “Nutrition Label” review of Healthsnew.com here.
Editorial and Newsroom Contacts
For feedback and questions related to all site content, including news, please connect with our editors via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inquiries will be promptly distributed to the appropriate editor.
For inquiries related to general information or other matters, please visit our Contact Us page.