About KUOW Journalism
One of KUOW’s organizational values is to demand integrity. We set high standards and hold ourselves to them. We also expect our audience to demand integrity of us, which is why we are committed to complete transparency about our journalistic policies and practices, as well as who is making KUOW content, how KUOW operates, and how we make decisions.
What follows is a comprehensive list of KUOW's current journalistic policies and best practices. If you have any questions or feedback to help us improve this page, please reach out to us. We're listening.
KUOW Editorial Policies and Practices
As a news organization, we hold our journalism to high standards. KUOW’s news code of ethics and practices protects the integrity of our programming with a commitment to our guiding principles of fairness, accuracy, transparency, and honesty. Read our full news code of ethics and practices here. Covered topics include:
- Journalism best practices, including policies for corrections, fact-checking and verification of unnamed sources.
- Rules and guidelines to prevent conflicts of interest.
- Policies and procedures to ensure that practices outside journalism—including fundraising from corporate and philanthropic supporters, marketing and promotional activities—do not jeopardize our editorial independence (see also KUOW Firewall Policy).
The code was derived from National Public Radio Code of Ethics and Practices, and conforms to University of Washington policies. It was last revised November 2017.
DIVERSE VOICES STATEMENT
At KUOW, we believe it is imperative to prioritize the inclusion of diverse voices on our platform. Since 2015, KUOW has tracked the diversity of sources for certain core local products to better understand how we’re representing our community. This information is used in aggregate to determine patterns and identify areas for improvement. Individual information will not be shared publicly, though KUOW may publish aggregate data in public reports. In addition to our internal tracking, KUOW commissioned the outside firm Impact Architects to conduct a retroactive source and content diversity audit on our coverage in 2020 to get further perspective and analysis on trends and opportunities for improvement. The published audit is available here.
KUOW’s policy is to correct substantive errors of fact in a timely way. If a KUOW journalist believes KUOW got something wrong — or that there was a serious defect in a piece — they have an affirmative responsibility to get that on the table immediately for investigation and possible correction. KUOW journalists should in such cases also check language of any corrections, clarifications or retractions with the Chief Content Officer before they are broadcast or posted. KUOW Programming or Online personnel learning of material errors in stories shall inform the affected department as soon as they are discovered. The Chief Content Officer will inform internal stakeholders and senior management when there is impact to the audience or the station.
Verification/ Fact-checking Standards KUOW is committed to reporting accurately on news in the Puget Sound Region. This means that each day we make rigorous efforts at all levels of the newsgathering and programming process to ensure our facts are not only accurate but also presented in the correct context. We attempt to verify what our sources and the officials we interview tell us when the material involved is argumentative or open to different interpretations. Factual errors will always be corrected promptly and with transparency both on air and online.
UNNAMED SOURCES POLICY
KUOW’s unnamed sources policy is spelled out in our Code of Ethics. It states that the grant of anonymity should be a last resort. When KUOW journalists use anonymous sources to obtain information necessary for a story, the editor or producer of that story has an obligation to satisfy themselves that the source is credible and reliable, and there is a substantial journalistic justification for using the source's information without attribution. This obligation also pertains to situations where individuals ask that their real names be withheld. The editor or producer has a twofold responsibility to: (1) make a judgment about whether it is editorially justified to let the person speak anonymously, and (2) satisfy themselves that this person is who the piece says they are. An editor should never be in the position of having to verify these things after a story has aired and a question is raised about it. We should not grant anonymity if a person makes pejorative comments about the character, reputation, or personal qualities of another individual, or derogatory statements about an institution. When anonymity is granted, pseudonyms should not be used.
ACTIONABLE FEEDBACK POLICY
At KUOW, we are committed to listening to our community’s feedback and engaging in the conversations that follow. We are also committed to actively inviting community members to engage with us, rather than waiting for offers of engagement. We accomplish these commitments through the following strategies:
- We invite comments and questions on KUOW web stories by posting the following questions at the end of each story: “What questions do you still have about this story? What did we get right, and what could we have done better? What else should we know about this topic?” These comments are consolidated on a weekly basis and given to the content division for review and discussion.
- We invite community members to contribute feedback and story ideas through participation in SMS-based programs like our Community Feedback Club and Soundside’s listener network.
- We invite community members to contribute feedback through periodic focus group meetings with KUOW journalists (for example, Journalist Happy Hours).
- We partner with community organizations to host free public talks by KUOW journalists and engage with community members on the issues that matter to them (for example, Meet the Newsmakers series).
KUOW’s feedback practices are created for journalism produced by our local newsroom. If community members have feedback on syndicated content from organizations like NPR, American Public Media, or the BBC, they must get in contact with those organizations directly. For feedback on our schedule, community members can contact us at email@example.com. See more in the “KUOW Content and Outside Content” and “Contact Us” sections below.
KUOW Organizational Information
MISSION STATEMENT AND COVERAGE PRIORITIES
KUOW’s mission is to create and serve a more informed public. Our vision is to broaden conversations and deepen understanding. You can read more about our mission, vision and values here.
KUOW aspires to create and share factual and insightful journalism that is relevant to wide range of constituencies (especially audiences public media has not historically prioritized). Our newsroom’s coverage priorities include how Western Washington is rethinking police accountability, housing and homelessness; how we are adapting to climate change; how work and life continue to evolve during a global pandemic; and local threats to democracy. As an organization that is committed to anti-racism, we seek to elevate stories that can shift the dominant narratives around race and racism from a focus on individuals to a focus on systems. We are committed to telling stories that center race, gender, culture, and the many diverse communities that make up our region.
STAFF AND LEADERSHIP
KUOW has 110 full-time staff members, including a content division made up 38 reporters, producers, and hosts. KUOW editorial leadership includes seven editors and two supervising producers. Our senior content leadership includes Chief Content Officer Jennifer Strachan, News Director Gigi Douban, Director of Audience Arvid Hokanson, Director of New Content and Innovation Brendan Sweeney, and Director of Community Engagement Zaki Hamid. You can see all KUOW staff here.
DIVERSE STAFFING REPORT
KUOW strives to reflect the diverse cultural, ethnic and socio-economic make-up of the Puget Sound region, and we are committed to hiring and advancement practices that ensure Black and Indigenous people and people of color are present as decision makers on every team, including leadership and management. Every year, KUOW publishes a Diverse Staffing Report, which shares information on our staff demographics, as well as the latest information on our racial equity practices. You can see that report here.
KUOW CONTENT AND OUTSIDE CONTENT
KUOW’s local coverage is produced primarily by our internal content teams. Local KUOW coverage includes local broadcast and web stories on the Puget Sound region, the broadcast shows Soundside, Week in Review, and Speakers Forum, and the podcast Seattle Now. We also publish content from Northwest News Network, which is a collaboration of public radio stations that broadcast in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Our national and international coverage is produced by newsrooms outside of our organization. KUOW is a member of NPR and pays an annual membership fee to NPR, as well as fees to broadcast specific programs such as Morning Edition and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. NPR is responsible for the editorial content of the programs they produce and distribute. KUOW also acquires programming from other national and international producers, including American Public Media, PRX, WNYC and the BBC. Program producers are responsible for the content they produce, and like KUOW, these news organizations are committed to rigorous, fact-based journalism.
KUOW can provide feedback to outside producers regarding content but does not have a role in editorial and staffing decisions. NPR has a listener panel that participates in helping to evaluate programming and content. Interested listeners can learn more about the panel online.
KUOW is a self-sustaining service of the University of Washington (UW) and is operated by Puget Sound Public Radio (PSPR) under an agreement with UW, KUOW’s licensee. PSPR was established in 1999 and is a private, nonprofit corporation governed by a board of directors. The PSPR Board provides fiscal oversight and management of affairs, property, and interests. Learn more about our board here.
While many of KUOW’s internal practices are subject to University of Washington policies, our newsroom coverage and editorial decisions are entirely independent of University of Washington oversight. As a self-sustaining service, KUOW remains a primarily community-funded organization, with more than 90% of our funding coming from individual contributors and local business supporters who share our belief that an informed public makes our community stronger. Every fiscal year, we publish our revenue sources and expenses. You can see our last fiscal year revenue report here.
KUOW is one of the nation's founding NPR member stations, broadcasting from the Puget Sound region continually since 1952. The broadcast license for KUOW was awarded to the University of Washington Board of Regents in 1951.
GET IN TOUCH
Have general feedback or questions?
Contact us // 206.543.2710 or 866.820.9919 // firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about getting in touch, fill out our Contact KUOW form. KUOW offices are open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and we will do our best to respond to every message within 3-4 business days.
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