Journalism Code of Integrity
Public trust and confidence are essential to WBHM’s mission.
WBHM, public radio for the heart of Alabama, is a reliable source of independent, fact-based journalism and public affairs programming across broadcast and online platforms. Free from political and commercial influence, we explore the diverse interests of greater Birmingham and Alabama and tell stories relevant to the lives of people here. We reflect and lead conversations in our communities to inform people and encourage their civic engagement.
As an NPR member station, we recognize the quality and integrity our audience expects from WBHM and its journalists. Our newsroom makes its decisions independently from WBHM’s business and fundraising operations.
- Fairness. Our aim is always to be open, honest, and fair.
- Accuracy. We strive always to get the facts and convey them accurately and with context.
- Understanding. We work every day to understand better our community’s needs, issues, and interests.
- Civility. Our conversations are civil and constructive – on-air, online, and at public events.
- Transparency. We are transparent about how we conduct our work. We are accessible and responsible to our audience.
- Accountability. We quickly and publicly acknowledge our mistakes.
These standards apply to all employees of WBHM and independent contractors who report, edit, produce or supervise the production of content across WBHM’s platforms and social media channels. Likewise, in editorial collaborations with other organizations, we require that our partners embrace these values.
WBHM’s staff are employees of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and follow its Code of Conduct. WBHM’s employees also abide by the standards encompassed in the NPR Ethics Handbook. This includes exercising careful judgment about actions in our personal lives that could jeopardize WBHM’s reputation for editorial independence. Above all, we seek to avoid conflicts of interest and are mindful of and transparent about connections and relationships that could create the appearance of journalistic impropriety.
Our ethical standards extend well beyond the newsroom into every aspect of operations at WBHM.
- For the Common Good. We will govern WBHM in ways that promote the public interest and that reflect our commitment to integrity and trustworthiness. These obligations supersede personal and institutional agendas.
- With Respect and Civility. We will manage WBHM with the overarching goal of contributing to the civic, educational, and cultural life of our communities by respecting a range of ideas and cultures and without advocating or endorsing a particular point of view.
- Inclusion and Diversity. WBHM recognizes and respects diversity and reflects it in our daily operations, our journalism, our programming, and our hiring practices.
- Transparency in Fundraising and Spending. We seek mutually respectful relationships with our donors and a clear understanding of the integrity of our fundraising operations and our stewardship of financial contributions to WBHM. We will acknowledge the sponsors of our programming and disclose the terms on which we obtain such support.
- Avoiding Undue Influence. We work to ensure that our business operations do not influence our journalism by maintaining clear lines of authority to protect the editorial process. We also avoid potential conflicts of interest by taking care in deciding from whom we seek and accept contributions and by clearly managing the expectations of our contributors consistent with this Code of Integrity.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham holds the FCC broadcast license of WBHM and is responsible for the station’s management, operations, and the fidelity of its broadcast signal. UAB is proud to support this public service for the people of Alabama.
Upholding these principles is the shared responsibility of WBHM’s management and employees, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), the station’s financial supporters (individuals, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and grant-making foundations), and its advisory boards and volunteers. In exchange for their support, UAB, other sponsors of WBHM programming, and volunteers to the station’s boards should not – and cannot – expect to exert influence on WBHM’s journalists and its independent editorial process.