Statement of Principles Preamble
Members of the Association of State Baptist Papers believe the free flow of truthful information is vital to the health and well-being of Baptist individuals, congregations, associations, and state and national conventions. Our publications exist to provide Baptists with accurate, timely and relevant information, balanced interpretation, and insightful and courageous editorials, thereby inspiring them and involving them in Baptist life.
We pledge to uphold the inviolability of the free flow of truth. Our professional and spiritual credibility rises or falls on our ability to do so. Ours is a ministry of truth-seeking and truth-telling. We empower Baptists when we provide truthful information upon which they can make their individual and collective decisions.
The purpose of this document is to strengthen members of our association as we seek to be truth-tellers. This document provides professional standards — the goals by which we gauge our journalistic performance. Recognizing we are fallible human beings, we nevertheless strive for perfection as we serve our Lord Jesus Christ through the ministries of our publications.
These standards are intended to be supportive and redemptive, the positive benchmarks for which we strive. As an association, we commend them to the various governing bodies of our member publications. We recognize that each of these bodies is responsible for determining how it will use this document. However, we believe all of our members should strive to exemplify these principles.
Baptist journalists, by virtue of our relationship to Christ, strive to glorify God and extend His kingdom through open, honest, truthful information. We will exercise appropriate stewardship in our personal and professional lives to ensure this priority. Our relationship to Christ will guide us in the performance of our responsibilities. We seek to involve our readers in kingdom-building through our ministry of information, inspiration, interpretation and opinion.
Truth-Seeking and Truth-Telling
Integrity is a guiding principle for Baptist journalists. We strive to seek and report the truth. We strive to be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. Accuracy and balance will characterize our work. We will guard against bias and distortion. We will clearly label opinion and commentary. We will champion the right of free speech. As part of our commitment to these ideals, we will strive to secure the resources necessary to accomplish our work.
Healthy relationships are crucial to effective Baptist journalism. We strive to develop such relationships with news sources, constituents, peers and others. We seek to engender trust and to trust others, particularly the Baptist readers we serve. We pledge cooperation with each other. We will encourage and assist each other so that the quality of Christian journalism will be raised to increasingly higher standards.
Baptist journalists are accountable to God, to our readers and to each other. Even as we strive to produce materials of the highest quality, we will welcome questions and criticism of our work. We will admit mistakes and correct them promptly. We will attempt to hold the news services upon which we rely to the same high standards we set for ourselves.
Baptist journalists strive to be free of interests that might impede the free flow of information. We will strive to avoid conflicts of interest and to remain free of associations and activities that may compromise or damage our integrity. Our firm convictions alone will guide us in editorial writing. While we may be professionally responsible to boards, committees or individuals — and to the readers who rely upon our work — we will never forget our ultimate responsibility to God for every decision or activity.
In accepting advertising, our publications assume a responsibility not to defraud or mislead readers by what we publish. The products in the ads we publish will not conflict with the purposes of our publications. Advertising shall be distinct from editorial content in format.