Bustle Digital Group Editorial Standards
Scope of Guidelines
BDG Media, Inc. d/b/a Bustle Digital Group (“BDG”), is the parent company of news, culture, and lifestyle brands Bustle, Elite Daily, Romper, The Zoe Report, NYLON, Mic, Inverse, and Input. All BDG writers and editors are expected to adhere to the core journalistic principles of accuracy, fairness, transparency, and respect, and seek to report stories in the public interest while minimizing harm. In practice, this involves fact-checking; sourcing from primary documents, vetted experts and groups, or other trusted media organizations as necessary; abiding by journalistic best practices in reporting, writing, and editing; reaching out to necessary parties for comment; taking all measures to avoid defamation; and abiding by BDG inclusivity and sensitivity guidelines.
BDG writers and editors are expected to work sensitively with vulnerable individuals, such as minors and those impacted by violence and sexual misconduct, and to prioritize maintaining their safety. This includes avoiding contributing to abuse in any form (including, but not limited to, doxing, outing, revenge porn, etc.).
If a minor is interviewed for a piece, parent or guardian consent must be secured before publication of the interview.
Anonymity may be granted in certain circumstances to protect the privacy or safety of a source. Any anonymous sources must be known to both the writer and editor, even if the identity of the source is not revealed in the piece. The use of an anonymous source in an article must be approved by a senior editor; if anonymity is granted, the reason for the source’s anonymity is noted in the story for transparency to the reader.
BDG writers and editors are expected to abide by BDG’s guidelines — developed by consulting with relevant organizations on reporting best practices — for coverage of sensitive topics, including gun violence, suicide, sexual assault, drug use, and more. This includes appending helpline information to relevant articles, adding warnings about graphic or detailed information that could be triggering to a reader, and being deliberate with the use, or non-use, of certain details or terminology.
Health & Medical Content Standards
BDG aims to provide expert-sourced, science-backed health and medical information to its readers. Therefore, pieces that provide health information cite peer-reviewed medical journals when relevant, and are transparent about the sources and experts interviewed (including if the expert has any known brand affiliations or potential conflicts of interest). Health and medical articles also include a clear list of citations to studies referenced within the piece, as well as a list of experts who were interviewed for, or contributed to, the piece.
Articles may be updated after the initial date and time of publication to include comment from sources. Previously published articles may also be updated to include new research, information, products, or releases.
If a source’s comment is added to a story after publication, a clear update notice specifically mentioning the comment is added to the story for transparency. Any piece that is updated with new information after publication receives an updated date stamp, as well as an appended notice to readers of the date the piece was originally published.
Articles with factual inaccuracies are corrected promptly and transparently, with a correction notice appended to the piece.
To submit a request for a correction, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BDG has a zero-tolerance policy on plagiarism. Writers are expected to use their own words and ideas, and provide clear and accurate citations to outside sources when relevant. BDG also does not permit writers to “self-plagiarize” (when a writer reuses their own writing from a past piece in a new piece), and considers that plagiarism.
Any writer or editor who is found to have plagiarized is immediately terminated, and their past work is reviewed for any other instances of plagiarism. If additional plagiarism is found, those pieces are updated to meet BDG’s editorial standards, and an Editor’s Note is added for transparency to the reader.
Disclosures and Conflicts of Interest
BDG has a zero-tolerance policy for quid pro quo, or the exchange of money or gifts for a source’s cooperation with a story.
All BDG writers and editors strive to avoid conflicts of interest, both real and perceived. Any unavoidable conflicts of interest with regard to editorial coverage are required to have management approval and are disclosed in the piece for transparency.
All products featured in BDG editorial stories are selected independently by editors. However, if BDG stands to earn revenue from a piece through affiliate links or similar, a clear and transparent disclosure notice is included in the piece. Additionally, all products featured in BDG commerce stories are selected independently by the commerce team; all articles written by the BDG commerce team contain a clear and transparent disclosure notice in the piece, clarifying BDG may earn revenue from links to products included in the piece.
If a BDG article is sponsored content or produced by the BDG branded content team — and is therefore not produced by the BDG editorial team — it is clearly labeled as such.
All BDG employees are expected to uphold and represent the values of the company in how they conduct themselves, both online and off, and are prohibited from using BDG’s name for personal advantage.
BDG editors and staff members may sometimes make appearances in non-BDG broadcast media, or be interviewed for non-BDG print or digital outlets. Whenever this happens, they must first receive approval from their manager and the company, and must be clear in their appearance/interview whether or not they are speaking on behalf of BDG. All editors and staff who appear in or comment for external media interviews are expected to carry themselves in a manner that is representative of BDG.
For assistance in reaching a BDG writer or editor, email email@example.com.
Last updated April 9, 2020.