Michigan State University's Independent Voice Since 1909, East Lansing, MI

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Thursday, October 2, 2014


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Employee Conflict of Interest Policy


Activities outside of those involving The State News are the greatest source of potential conflict of interest.

The first obligation of staff members is to perform the duties for which they are employed by The State News. No secondary employment shall be undertaken that would interfere with a staff member's State News duties.

It is the practice of The State News to allow free-lance writing by staff members only when it is for non-competing publications on issues that are not exclusive stories of The State News.

Staff members may accept a free-lance job only with the consent of their desk editor and the editor in chief. Free-lance work may include writing, photographs or illustrations that have not been printed in The State News.

The editor in chief reserves the right to rescind his or her approval of a free-lance or stringing assignment if he or she deems the assignment is interfering with the staff member's State News duties or if the assignment presents a conflict of interest.

Staff members must have the approval of their desk editor and the editor in chief before giving material to another source, publication or news organization. Printed material can only be republished with an agreement that the source of the information will be identified as The State News.

So what does all this mean? Let's say you are a State News reporter covering field hockey. While working this beat, you are not allowed to cover field hockey for any other campus or area publication, such as The Lansing State Journal or The Big Green.

However, if there's a story that The State News would not be interested in running, with permission from the editor in chief and appropriate desk editor, the piece could be free-lanced for another publication.

This is a standard most news outlets have in place.

This isn't to say that once you work at The State News you can never work at another local publication, it just can't be done at the same time. In the past, staff members have left for a semester to work at a competing publication and then returned to work at The State News after their time at the publication.