Ethics is a hot topic as the line between traditional journalism and citizen journalism (particularly in the sphere of consumer journalism) blurs. I pride myself on my ability to see all sides of a story, and I generally follow the same rules that journalists follow, with one notable exception: I do accept free or discounted meals or accommodations, FAM Trips, and product samples.
My perspective on this is that whether journalists are paying for accommodations themselves, accepting free or heavily discounted accommodations from the supplier, or submitting their expenses to an editor or employer who in turn gives editorial direction, all those who report on travel have a responsibility to share factual truth always, opinion when necessary, and criticism when warranted. It’s my pledge to do exactly that.
I’ll generally provide a disclosure at the end of each post if:
- Any product or service was provided free of charge
- Any product or service was provided at a substantial (more than 50%) discount over the lowest available rate.
- Product samples were provided before release to the general public.
I will not provide a disclosure if:
- I paid a publicly available price, but the supplier was aware in advance of my intention to visit for possible coverage and assisted with arrangements or press background and fact-checking.
Accepting free or discounted products or services does not guarantee coverage, either positive or negative. Advance copies of coverage are not provided, although as a courtesy any critical items may be shared in advance of publication.