Editorial guidelines

Monsters and Critics has a robust set of Editorial Guidelines which all members of our team, and any one working for Monsters and Critics in any capacity, are required to abide by.

They reflect our ethical values and the standards we uphold and are written in accordance with the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, the Code of Conduct of the UK’s National Union of Journalists (NUJ) as well as the guidelines on integrity and transparency stipulated by The Trust Project.

Please make sure you read through our guidelines and ensure you fully understand them before you start creating content for Monsters and Critics. We recommend also taking the time to read and absorb the SPJ and NUJ’s codes themselves (linked above).

Mission statement and coverage priorities

Monsters and Critics aims to be a leading source of entertainment news and opinion about the things our audience love. 

We cover a variety of topics but specialize in celebrity and reality TV.

We publish both news and opinion, but label our content to reflect that so we are always clear with our audience which of those two they are encountering.

We focus on content that is entertaining, easy to understand and well sourced. Wherever possible, we try to use content creators who have an in-depth knowledge about the subjects they are covering.

Ethics: Seeking the truth

Monsters and Critics writers and other content creators must always cover the news in a manner that seeks the truth and reports the facts. They must go above and beyond to uncover the truth of every story, and must ensure all content is both accurate and fair. 

We must always make sure to:

— Do everything we can to verify information before publication, and ensure our content conveys the information included in it in a way that is honest and accurate. If we are unable to verify something, we must explain this to our audience and be clear that this is the case. 

— Avoid errors and inaccuracies at all costs, and correct any errors that are brought to our attention as quickly as possible.

— Know that there are two sides (and often more) to every story, and strive to uncover all different perspectives before presenting them as fairly as possible. If we are presented with a particular viewpoint while covering a story, we must do our best to seek out any opposing points of view and include them in our coverage.

— Always give people the opportunity to comment on potentially harmful allegations made against them, and to give their side of the story. If a person or organization is accused of wrongdoing in our content, or if information is presented in our content that may harm their reputation in some way, we must give them the opportunity to comment on the claims made.

— Use original sources, and always make sure to cite them.

— Avoid plagiarism at all costs.

— Avoid sensationalizing stories.

— Continue to update content if the situation around a story changes over time and new information becomes available, or alternatively update our audience on the latest details by publishing new content and linking to it from the old content (and vice versa).

— Always obtain information in an honest and open way, unless the evidence needed for a story of huge public importance cannot be uncovered by traditional, straightforward means, in which case a different approach must be discussed with a senior editor and in most cases revealed to our audience. 

— Uphold the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and allow people the chance to present different views even if they are not the same views as those of the journalist.

— Differentiate between news and opinion. Monsters and Critics provides clear labels on all its content so that our audience can clearly differentiate between the two.

— Not accept gifts or anything else that allows journalists or the company to profit materially in exchange for the publication of a story, or for the inclusion of information, an embed or a link within a story. If a story is paid for or written in collaboration with another commercial entity or person, in exchange for money or otherwise, this will be made clear to the audience.

— Avoid conflicts of interest wherever possible. If an important story cannot be written without a conflict existing, then this needs to be discussed with a senior editor first and disclosed clearly to the audience.

— Remain free of associations and activities that could compromise our integrity as journalists or damage the credibility of our organization. 

Unnamed sources

Monsters & Critics avoids using unnamed sources wherever possible unless anonymity is absolutely fundamental to protect that source from harm, and their views are absolutely crucial to the publication of the story.

Where an anonymous source is used, we ensure their identity is protected at all costs by making sure to reveal no information that may unintentionally identify them, especially to those people who are close to them.

In addition, we will always protect the anonymity of those who have a legal right to not be identified.

Minimizing harm

Monsters and Critics and its journalists must at all times minimize harm to others, both through the way stories are researched and through what is contained within them.

We must always:

— Protect people’s right to a private life, and refrain from intruding into someone’s personal affairs, especially in the case of grief, unless this is overwhelmingly outweighed by the public’s right to be informed.

— Refrain from publishing or disseminating any content that could in any way lead to discrimination or hatred based on a person’s race, sexual orientation, gender, disability or otherwise. The Diversity Style Guide (https://www.diversitystyleguide.com/) provides a lot of useful information for journalists about how to cover various sensitive topics, and our journalists should refer to it for guidance. Please also see and follow the AP Stylebook’s guide on race-related coverage (https://www.apstylebook.com/race-related-coverage) and the GLAAD Media Reference Guide on best practices when covering transgender people (https://www.glaad.org/reference/transgender).

— Be cautious about identifying and be compassionate towards those who find themselves in the news, especially when they are children, victims of sex crimes, or unable to give consent. 

— Seek the permission of the responsible adult when interviewing or photographing a child.

— Abide by the law, but above that always consider the ethical and moral arguments for publication of a story before disseminating it into the public.

Diversity statement

Monsters and Critics embraces diversity and different voices, and aims to do this both through the stories we choose to write and the people we hire.

We aim to seek out those people who are less heard in our society and give them a platform to present their views.

Corrections policy and practice

Monsters and Critics will always correct and disclose factual errors that are brought to our attention. We aim to correct all factual mistakes immediately, and will always respond to the person who alerted us to the error to let them know it has been fixed.

When we are alerted to incorrect information in any of our content, we will change or highlight the relevant section of the text to reflect the correct information. 

So that our audience can always see what has been changed, we will always disclose any corrections in a statement at the bottom of, or attached to, the updated content.

This statement reveals what the correct information is, what the incorrect information was that was originally published, and the time and date that the correction was made.

Actionable feedback: How our audience can engage with us

Monsters and Critics welcomes feedback from our audience, and wants everyone to join the conversations we start. We have comments on our posts where our audience are encouraged to contribute their thoughts and opinions. 

However, we also welcome feedback on a personal level if our audience members have criticisms or ideas about our site or content, and we will always follow up about the action we are taking. If someone wants to get in touch with a complaint or suggestion, they should contact our editor Julian Cheatle by email at [email protected].

These guidelines were last updated on October 11, 2022.