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by Francie Dennison

Of late Port Stanley News.com has been receiving submissions which are not following our posted Submissions Guidelines, so it's time to give our readers a short refresher course in Submissions 101.

It is important to remember that Port Stanley News.com is an on-line newspaper, not a personal blog, gossip column, or social media page. As such, we adhere to very strict and professional guidelines when it comes to what we will and will not publish.

Recently we received a letter which we informed the author we would not publish because it contained unsubstantiated allegations of a slanderous nature and erroneous "facts". For example, you can say a person lied about something, but to say that without it being slander you must be able to prove, in print or on tape, what the person actually said, and you must be able to prove the person knew at the time that what they were saying was not true. That is responsible journalism.

However, a local hard copy publication did publish the letter as it was written and then wrote an editorial about what was wrong with it. Once they publish it, the damage of unsubstantiated allegations is already done regardless of how many editorials they may write about it. This is irresponsible journalism, and it is really stretching it to call it journalism at all.

Similarly, we regularly reject articles received that are primarily propaganda for one political party or another. The article must have some kind of substantive information that would be of interest to the public and must either steer clear of partisan comments or have such comments easily edited out of them without spoiling the gist of the story.

So here are our Submission Guidelines as permanently posted in our Contact Us section.

While we encourage submissions to Port Stanley News.com from others, there are certain guidelines which should be followed in order for those submissions to be published on this site.

These guidelines apply whether the work submitted is an article, a guest editorial or a letter to the editor.

Verification of Facts: All things stated as fact must be verifiable. You must state the exact source (and provide copies) of where you got your information: either a direct website link to the information, or a physical contact address and phone number . Our editorial staff must be able to verify your information, and the source will be published in your submitted piece so that the reading public may also verify your information.

Plagiarism: Any statements included in your article which you are copying from someone else's work must be stated as a direct quote, in quotation marks, followed by the exact source identification in brackets - eg: [Source: website link/name of publication/page, etc., just as you were required to do in school]

Fair Criticism: While fair criticism of groups, companies, public bodies and public individuals is both allowed and encouraged, a derogatory statement is slanderous or libellous if you cannot prove that statement to be true. Slanderous or libellous statements will be edited out of submissions or may cause the submission to not be published at all. Similarly, submissions which are purely or largely propaganda will not be published.

Relevance: Submissions which are merely a rehash of stories and issues that have already been run on Port Stanley News.com will not be published. This is a news site, so your submissions, while they may contain a certain amount of historical information, must be timely to current events and issues and relevant to the reading public.

Verification of Authorship: Even if you are known to us, but especially if you are not, your submission must contain your contact information so that we can verify you are the author of the work and did indeed send it in for publication.

Reservation of Editorial Rights: Port Stanley News.com reserves the right to edit submissions and to choose whether or not a given submission will or will not be published.

Journalistic Independence: In the interests of journalistic independence, Port Stanley News.com does not belong to any community group or political affiliation and does not endorse or oppose any community group or political party. The views expressed by the authors of submitted published articles, guest editorials and letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the views, in whole or in part, of Port Stanley News.com or any members of our staff.

Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 March 2014 12:27:08 PM EST

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