Pt. 246, App. D
Appendix D to Part 246—Editorial Operations
A. General. 1. The Stars and Stripes shall serve the interests of their overseas DoD readership, as commercial daily newspapers serve their readers throughout the United States. However, as a Government organization, the Stars and Stripes news staff may not take an independent editorial position. The Stars and Stripes editorial practices and policies shall be in accordance with the highest standards of American journalism.
2. The Stars and Stripes editor, with the concurrence of the S&S commander/publisher, and the Unified Command Commander-in-Chief (CINC), as the owner of the newspaper, may establish a standard code of personal and professional ethics and general editorial principles similar to those developed at major metropolitan newspapers or by professional journalists in organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists. Those codes usually stress the following:
a. Responsibility of the newspaper to fully inform its readership.
b. Freedom of the press.
c. Commitment to personal and professional ethics.
d. Emphasis on content accuracy, objectivity, and fair representation of all sides of an issue.
When developed, copies of the code and style guides shall be provided to the Unified Command CINC and the Director of the American Forces Information Service (AFIS).
3. The Stars and Stripes editor shall be responsible for developing editorial procedures and, if required, a style guide that mirrors daily U.S. commercial newspapers.
4. The editorial content of the Stars and Stripes shall be governed by the general principles applicable to quality commercial press as follows:
a. Presentation of News. A major purpose of the Stars and Stripes is to provide news and information from varied sources. This aids DoD members and their families stationed overseas to exercise their democratic citizenship responsibilities.
b. Commercially-Contracted News, Features, and Opinion Columns. The Stars and Stripes purchase (or contract for) and carry news stories, features, syndicated columns, comic strips, and editorial cartoons from commercial services or sources. Wire-service news, information, and feature material may be edited in accordance with source contracts and for space requirements. The Stars and Stripes reflect the news of the day being carried in comparable U.S. commercial daily newspapers. They should reflect different sides of issues over a reasonable amount of time.
c. Staff-Generated Copy. In keeping with the standards established for major daily commercial newspapers in the United States, staff-generated news and features in the Stars and Stripes shall be accurate, factual, impartial, and objective. News stories and feature material shall distinguish between fact and opinion. Every effort should be made to attribute quotations and facts to identified sources. In the case of controversial or sensitive stories, the Stars and Stripes editor, or his or her designee, shall ascertain the identity of confidential sources, as required by normal journalistic practices that ensure that sources are credible. The Stars and Stripes may use the normal range of journalistic techniques including “people-on-the-street” interviews if that technique does not constitute a political poll.
d. Political Campaign News. (1) The Stars and Stripes shall publish coverage of the U.S. political campaigns from commercial news sources. Presentation of such political campaign news shall be made on an impartial, unbiased, and nonpartisan basis reflecting DoD policies of non-endorsement of any specific candidate for an elected office. Every effort should be made to ensure that the Stars and Stripes reflect the full spectrum of campaign news being published in the United States on national candidates and issues.
(2) The Stars and Stripes shall support the Federal Voting Assistance Program by carrying factual information about registration and voting laws.
e. The Stars and Stripes shall provide balance in commercial syndicated columns. Since the Stars and Stripes may not take an independent editorial position, a balanced selection of syndicated opinion columns shall be published over a reasonable time period. The presentation of syndicated editorial cartoons should reflect the full spectrum of topical editorial cartoons being published throughout the United States. The S&S commander/publisher shall provide the Unified Commands annual assurance that the required balance for syndicated opinion columns has been met.
B. Administrative. 1. The Stars and Stripes shall comply with DoD Instruction 1100.13 1 on polls, surveys, and straw votes. The Stars and Stripes may not conduct a poll, a survey, exit polls, or a straw vote on any political campaign. The Stars and Stripes may publish polls, surveys, and/or straw votes furnished to the newspaper through its contracted wire services. The Stars and Stripes may not conduct lottery games.
1 Copies may be obtained, at cost, from the National Technical Information Service, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161.
2. The Stars and Stripes shall have the following disclaimer placed in the masthead or at the extreme bottom of one of the prominent pages, segregated from copy in a box:
This newspaper is authorized for publication by the Department of Defense for members of the Military Services overseas. However, the contents of the Stars and Stripes are unofficial, and are not to be considered as the official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government, including the Department of Defense or the (name of the appropriate Unified Command). As a DoD newspaper, the Stars and Stripes may be distributed through official channels and use appropriated funds for distribution to remote and isolated locations where overseas DoD personnel are located.
The appearance of advertising in this publication, including inserts or supplements, does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense or the Stars and Stripes of the products or services advertised.
Products or services advertised in this publication shall be made available for purchase, use, or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation or any other nonmerit factor of the purchaser, user, or patron.
C. Editorial. 1. The Stars and Stripes news staffs are authorized to gather and report news, good and bad, on the Department of Defense and its subordinate commands. All reporting necessarily requires some investigation and, as with journalists on commercial newspapers, the Stars and Stripes news staff members have the right and need to ask questions and expect response to fulfill the S&S mission. However, the Stars and Stripes is not an authorized investigative agency, such as military law enforcement agencies, investigative bodies, or an Inspector General, and shall not function in that capacity. As DoD employees, the Stars and Stripes news staff members must adhere to the DoD personnel policies that may not usually apply to journalists employed by commercial newspapers and must comply with 32 CFR qart 40 and, as applicable, the Manual for Courts Martial, 1984. 2
2 See footnote 1 to B.1. of this appendix.
a. Since most journalistic reporting is investigative by nature, “investigative reporting,” as such, is not banned. The Stars and Stripes reporters have the same need to ask questions of sources, and expect responses, as do commercial newspaper journalists. While the Stars and Stripes staff cannot conduct independent investigations that fall under the jurisdiction of various military law enforcement or designated investigative agencies, the Stars and Stripes may report on open or completed investigations by agencies authorized to perform investigative functions. If the Stars and Stripes employees note unlawful or criminal actions in their performance of duty, they must report such incidents immediately to the S&S commander/publisher or to their immediate supervisor, in accordance with 32 CFR qart 40, who shall also comply with 32 CFR qart 40 and, as applicable, DoD Directive 7050.1 3 and DoD Instruction 5240.4. 4 If there is an authorized investigation, a Stars and Stripes reporter or editor cannot protect a source as confidential when the information may be required to complete the investigation. Coverage of an investigation, from a news perspective, should be based on case progress or the resolution provided by the investigative agency if considered newsworthy by the Stars and Stripes. The Stars and Stripes editorial procedures shall not prohibit publishing news of independent investigations furnished by commercial media and, therefore, in the public domain.
3 See footnote 1 to B.1. of this appendix.
4 See footnote 1 to B.1. of this appendix.
b. The Stars and Stripes staff may not knowingly place classified information in Stars and Stripes staff-generated material. That does not apply to public domain information attributed to commercially contracted news, features, or opinion columns.
2. The Stars and Stripes editorial staffs shall receive the same treatment as commercial media.
a. The Stars and Stripes reporters shall have the same right to ask questions, to gain help, to have access, and to attend gatherings available to reporters from the commercial media. Commanders or public affairs staffs may not use the U.S. Government status of Stars and Stripes reporters to block the release of, or access to, otherwise releasable news, information, or events. Under the same circumstances, the Stars and Stripes reporters may not use their U.S. Government status or credentials to gain special treatment, access to restricted areas or gatherings, or other advantages that are not given equally to civilian media.
b. In keeping with the “Principles of Information” in 32 CFR qart 375 governing release of information to commercial media, the DoD Components are expected to make available timely and accurate information so that the Stars and Stripes news staffs and readers may assess and understand the facts about their military organizations, the national defense, and defense strategy. Consistent with statutory requirements, information shall be made fully and readily available under the principles for the release of information to the media issued by the Secretary of Defense. A Government organization may not file a request for information against another Government organization under 32 CFR qart 285, which implements the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the Department of Defense, but it is the responsibility of all commands to honor the DoD Principles of Information, particularly regarding the intent of open access as described in 32 CFR qart 285 when responding to queries from Stars and Stripes reporters.
3. To meet organizational responsibilities, the Stars and Stripes editor, the S&S commander/publisher, and the Stars and Stripes staff members they select, should meet frequently with area commanders and public affairs officers and staffs to confer, as their counterparts in U.S. commercial daily newspapers do with local government and community interest representatives.
4. When matters of interest to the Stars and Stripes readership cut across the Unified Command component command responsibilities, the Stars and Stripes editor may use “special project reporting teams” to examine such concerns. Whether the areas of Stars and Stripes interest are military exercises, fast-breaking news affecting the entire Unified Command community, or policies that require a greater-than-individual-reporter effort, the Stars and Stripes editor, through the S&S commander/publisher, can gain help by keeping the Unified Command and its component command public affairs offices informed of the need for theater-wide assistance. Such aid could help dispel morale-damaging rumors.
5. The Stars and Stripes shall conduct readership surveys at least once every 3 years in the Unified Commands where the Stars and Stripes are distributed. Such formal surveys shall be conducted in accordance with DoD Instruction 1100.13. The S&S may make shorter market surveys through its bookstore operations to determine changing readership interests. The Stars and Stripes is also encouraged to make frequent use of readership focus groups throughout the Unified Command.
6. The Stars and Stripes may review commercial entertainment where relevant and where it supports readership interest.
7. All bureau personnel and field reporters shall have Stars and Stripes newsroom experience before being given independent assignments. The Stars and Stripes military reporters may wear military or civilian clothes at the discretion of the S&S commander/publisher. If authorized by the S&S commander/publisher, Stars and Stripes military members may be authorized a clothing allowance in accordance with individual Service directives.
8. The Stars and Stripes are both authorized to maintain a Washington, DC, bureau located with other correspondent bureaus in the OASD (PA) Correspondents' Corridor. A desk will be provided for each Stars and Stripes. The S&S shall select the most qualified reporters possible for assignment to the bureau. A joint memorandum of understanding on personnel support shall be established between the two newspapers and approved by the Unified Commands, with a copy provided to the Director of the AFIS.