Our principles

Collaboration as a default: All editorial  decisions are taken by a geographically diverse team to ensure that  stories don’t favor Western perspectives or amplify common biases and  stereotypes.

No parachute journalism: We don’t send  correspondents to remote places, but work with local journalists who are  based in the communities they report on.

Cross-border storytelling: Our editors provide  in-depth support and training for all contributors, helping local  journalists sharpen their stories and draw connections with other  countries and authors that extends their reach and professional network  beyond borders.

Upcoming voices: All journalists are commissioned on  the basis of the quality of their story pitch and alignment with our  editorial manifesto, rather than on the basis of who they know or what  publications they have previously published in before.

Unbias the narrative: We aim to contribute to  decolonizing journalism by enabling narrative self-representation and  the publication of stories that diversify news narratives and challenge  power imbalances and the status quo.

Editorial Manifesto

1. We collaborate with local journalists and diverse creators to “unbias the news”.

  • Building on our pilot project “Unbias the News. Why diversity matters for journalism,” (Hostwriter/CORRECTIV 2019) we aim to create collaborative journalism across borders that breaks through national media bubbles.
  • Diversity is not a moral question, it’s about quality: International  journalism has been dominated by white, male, Western voices, which  makes it challenging to capture the authenticity of experiences,  aspirations and concerns of a diverse but networked audience.
  • We aim to rectify empathy and trust through grounded,  multi-perspective, nuanced reporting, creating a new kind of journalism  that looks more like the audience it serves.

2. We are an anti-racist, feminist and inclusive publication.

We seek to actively fight against the further perpetuation of racist, sexist and ableist stereotypes and conspiracy theories.

  • We give or reference historical context for modern-day inequalities.
  • We take special care in reporting on crime and poverty.
  • We are developing an inclusive workplace policy to enable collaboration with a wide range of contributors.

Words matter: we take care to use language that does not unnecessarily  exclude groups or further essentialism on the basis of race, gender,  class, religion, nationality, caste or ability.

We own and investigate our own bias.

  • We investigate the full range of views, but are explicit about our anti-racist, feminist, pro-democracy bias.
  • We periodically review our publication for bias and publish our findings annually on this website.
  • We provide in-depth editing assistance to welcome reporting from people who speak English as a second or third language.
  • We consider newsroom diversity a prerequisite for accurate reporting.
  • We make efforts to accommodate journalists working with limited  internet access and provide access to specific skills training and  software where appropriate.

3. We prioritize collaboration, consent, and human dignity.

We believe in collaboration as a default, so we give credit to  everyone who worked on a story, cite direct and indirect sources for  the story, including from social media, and link to other media sources  when appropriate.

  • We seek to contact the most pertinent experts rather than the  easiest to reach ones (because of shared networks or language) and  consider search engine bias in our research.
  • Focusing on the cross-border relevance of local stories, we  encourage and help journalists to work with additional contributors  based in different countries to continue the story, when pertinent,  across borders or boundaries.

We are open to story ideas submitted by teams. Please see our Freelancer policy for detailed collaboration guidelines.

We present people so that they have agency and dignity.

  • We ask people we interview how they identify and respect their  categorization (e.g., we will use neutral “they” or “ze” upon request.)
  • We use trauma-sensitive reporting guidelines, respecting a source’s  right to be the expert of their own story. We do not present people who  have experienced trauma as biased or treat them as hostile witnesses.
  • We do not offer quote review based on status, but will allow sources to clarify their statements when appropriate.
  • We respect our sources’ time and limits and do not push them to  share information that, in their view, would compromise their safety or  well-being.

4. We are committed to fact-based quality reporting.

While the newsroom operates remotely and internationally,  Hostwriter is bound to the German Press Code as a Berlin-based  non-profit organization. This includes the following commitment:

  • We respect human dignity and are committed to democracy and the rule of law.
  • Our research and publications follow the principles of transparency, accuracy and fairness.
  • We only publish information on individuals if it serves a public interest as defined by international press law.
  • We deal openly with our own errors and correct them promptly and  openly at our website. We publish corrections if published information  subsequently proves to be incorrect.
  • We name the sources of our information by default, whenever  possible. We indicate when sources cannot be disclosed and explain the  reasons why disclosure of the sources is not possible in such cases.

5. We treat our contributors and employees with respect.

Our contributors are paid equitably and the same regardless of nationality.

  • We do not use fixers and give all authors a byline (unless they request anonymity).
  • We pay a kill fee for stories that do not make it to publication.

The safety and mental health of journalists who work for us is prioritized above and beyond getting a story.

  • If during a story your mental health is affected, please feel free to reach out to us. You are not alone.

We work with journalists to get their story additional reach and, when  possible, have it published in different languages and markets where it  will have the most impact.

We handle complaints from employees and contributors in a transparent manner and according to a Code of Conduct.

We endeavor to work towards the latest standards in digital safety and security.

  • We believe online harassment is a form of censorship and are  developing an anti-trolling plan accessible by employees and  contributors.
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