If you’re reading this page, you might have been contacted by a LebTown reporter for an interview.
LebTown is not in the business of “gotcha journalism” and we want you to feel comfortable talking to our reporters.
Here is a helpful overview of your rights when talking to us. If you have any questions about these rights, please contact our publisher, Davis Shaver.
Your right to refuse an interview.
You have the right to refuse an interview. We’d ask that you only do this in extreme circumstances, such as in the case of ongoing legal proceedings where counsel has advised you not to speak to the press. But this is totally your right, and we will respect your decision to not speak with us. However, please keep in mind that a “no comment” may in itself be newsworthy and quoted in the article.
Your right to know the topic of the interview in advance.
You have the right to ask what the interview regards in advance of us talking. However, this does not mean that we will provide an exhaustive list of questions in advance; oftentimes, an interview will lead to new questions, and we therefore cannot provide an exhaustive list of questions prior to our interview.
Your right to talk to us on different levels of attribution.
You have the right to ask for certain portions to be off-the-record, on background, or on deep background. These classifications refer to different levels of attribution that a journalist may use for facts, quotes, or other information shared during an interview.
By default, any conversation you have with LebTown is considered on-the-record. This includes unsolicited emails or other communications to our team, which will be considered on-the-record regardless of message contents.
To switch to a different level of attribution, all you have to do is say something like, “I’d like this portion to be on background” or “Due to my position, I can only explain my thinking to you off-the-record.”
Please wait for the LebTown reporter to affirm the change in attribution level before proceeding with your interview. When you are ready to go back on-the-record or to a higher level of attribution (such as moving from off-the-record to on background), simply notify the LebTown reporter that you are ready for the change.
Here’s what those different terms mean:
LebTown rarely holds true “off-the-record” conversations, which according to professional journalistic ethics are conversations in which the information shared is not used or disclosed for any other purpose, including additional newsgathering.
Off-the-record conversations have the potential to put LebTown journalists into an ethical stalemate where they discover some piece of information that deserves public attention, but cannot break their word to the source. Avoiding true off-the-record conversations helps us avoid this moral quandary.
Off-the-record conversations will be mostly used when talking to public officials who would be unable to talk to the press otherwise. In these circumstances, we will ask officials to provide any factual basis to their argument on background, so that we may further report and potentially substantiate whatever opinion may have been privately expressed.
Most people mean “on background” when they say “off-the-record”.
On background means that LebTown reporters may quote you verbatim as an unnamed source.
When you are talking on background you have the right to describe how you would want to be described in the article, if your quote were to be used. However, talking on background does not mean that your quote or perspective will necessarily make it into the story.
LebTown places a high level of scrutiny on the use of unnamed sources. The most common use of background information is to guide further reporting. It would be a rare and exceptional occurrence for LebTown to quote a source on background for anything but an opinion or perspective on a set of facts established through on-the-record sources or other public information.
On deep background
Deep background means that the information can be used for further reporting, but quotes may not be used verbatim and are not attributed to you even in an anonymous or generic way.
Deep background is very rarely used in LebTown reporting except to inform additional newsgathering.
In rare circumstances where a fact has been established through deep background sources, there will likely have been multiple deep background sources confirming the same thing, and even in that scenario LebTown would first exhaust options to establish the fact in an on-the-record basis.
Your right to provide embargoed information.
Embargos are a common practice in the public relations industry, allowing companies to provide information and sources in advance of some formal announcement at a predetermined time.
As a matter of practice, LebTown is open to receiving embargoed information and conducting interviews whose subject matter are embargoed until a later time.
However, LebTown believes in a level playing field when it comes to this type of disclosure, so we retain the right to ignore the embargo if it becomes apparent that another outlet has either done the same or received the same information without embargo conditions.
Your right for the article to be an accurate reflection of reality.
As a matter of policy, LebTown may contact you to reaffirm facts prior to publishing, but the publication does not provide an opportunity for sources to review or approve articles before they are published.
LebTown makes itself accountable to the highest standards of journalism, and you have the right to recourse if an article is published that contains erroneous information.
Minor typos and errors
In the case of minor typos and other errors where the substance of the article is not affected, we will update the article and add a note to the bottom indicating the nature of the change. While we work actively to minimize grammatical, syntactical, and spelling errors, they are a normal part of the publishing process, and we ask for your patience and good humor in pointing them out.
If you believe LebTown has published a major error, we ask that you immediately contact our publisher, Davis Shaver. Depending on the severity and circumstances, LebTown is prepared to take any of the following steps:
- Updating the article and noting the correction.
- Offering an additional op-ed opportunity to elaborate or expand on what may have been not fully explained in the original article.
- Writing another article that continues or expands on previous coverage to address a major error (most common in an error of omission, where a perspective or factual basis was not known at the time of original publication).
- Issuing a full retraction and explanation of what happened.
LebTown’s commitment to an accurate representation of the truth means that in addition to correcting the original article, we will also take steps to ensure:
- Social media followers are aware of the change in article substance.
- Google does not cache or retain the inaccurate version of the article.
If none of these options satisfy your grievance, you have the federal right to due process in the court of law. LebTown is a Pennsylvania LLC and stands ready to summon necessary private and public legal resources to defend our journalism and protect our sources to the fullest extent of the law.
With additional questions or comments on this policy, please contact LebTown publisher Davis Shaver.