Introduction to the Newswire
In accordance with the Baltimore IMC's overall mission, the online newswire is designed to empower individuals to become independent and civic journalists by providing a direct, unmoderated forum for presenting media, including text articles, audio and video recordings, and photographs, to the public via the Internet. Within that general framework, we specifically encourage individuals to publish:
The newswire is a democratic forum designed to make available important stories, news, and opinions with local relevance. The newswire operates on the principle of "open publishing" meaning that anyone with access to the Internet can post articles, photographs, audio and video to the newswire without prior editorial approval. The Baltimore IMC is dedicated to maintaining the newswire as a completely open forum. However, the editorial collective regularly watches the newswire, intervening on rare occasions to maintain its usefulness as a media resource and as a welcoming community space.
Introduction to Feature Stories
The editorial collective develops in-depth features for the center column of the Baltimore IMC web site. In addition, particularly insightful articles from the newswire may be selected by the editorial collective to become features. Finally, all newswire articles may be rated by site users, and articles that generate a rating above a particular threshold are automatically considered for feature status. (This ratings threshold has not yet been finalized and may be adjusted depending upon the number of users rating articles.)
The Baltimore IMC's editorial policy is based on four guiding principles:
Below is the process by which members of the editorial collective may hide postings from the Baltimore IMC newswire. Hiding articles is a drastic measure, and the editorial collective willl take such actions very rarely.
Newswire posts found to violate editorial policy are here divided into two categories: simple violations, which may be hidden immediately by newswire clerks, and complicated violations, which require discussion among clerks before a decision is reached whether or not to hide a particular article.
When proposing that a given article constitutes a policy violation and should be hidden from the newswire, an editor must justify that opinion by referring to one or more of the four core principles. The collective will then refer again to all four principles in evaluating the proposal to move the article. The principles will provide the entire rationale for making judgements about newswire articles; in a given instance they may provide arguments both for and against hiding a particular article. Editors should allow the principles to guide their discussions, and should justify their conclusions in those terms.
When an editor believes an article posted to the newswire violates editorial policy, s/he hides the article and notifies the collective, invoking one or more of the four core principles of the editorial policy. If, after thoughtful consideration and discussion, members of the collective decide that the article does in fact violate the Baltimore IMC's editorial policy, the editor who identified the violation will contact the author of the article.
The author of a hidden article may ask the working group to reconsider its decision by writing to the editors at editors (at) baltimoreimc.org. Recourse may offered by the global policy group if appropriate.
Articles hidden from the newswire for any reason will remain available on a hidden articles page, in the spirit of truly open publishing.