Sponsorship Policy & Ethics Guidelines

On how we make money …

The trust of lovely readers like you is vital to our work, so we work hard to be transparent about how we make money and how we work with our clients and sponsors. Here’s some detail.

Whereby.Us is the parent company of The New Tropic. They run the WhereBy.Us Creative Studio, a full-service agency focused on local. The Creative Studio team designs campaigns that help clients understand, reach, and engage locals in cities across the country.

Some work from the WhereBy.Us Creative Studio appears in The New Tropic as “branded content.” Branded content is not produced by The New Tropic team, and is always labeled with “Produced for [the client]” across our platforms. The New Tropic team may suggest how content is distributed on its platforms, but does not communicate with clients about their projects. The New Tropic team may appear in branded content, but will not endorse or personally promote products.

Sponsored projects are content projects, stories, or events that a sponsor makes possible with its financial support. An example is our Neighborhood Guides. The New Tropic creates these projects, and works independently to produce them. The WhereBy.Us team manages sponsor relationships, and sponsors do not review projects before publication. Sponsored projects allow clients to align their brands with topics our community cares about. Sponsored projects are clearly labeled “Sponsored by [the sponsor]” across our platforms.


How does WhereBy.Us pick its clients and sponsors?

  • We evaluate client and sponsor relationships on a case-by-case basis.
  • We’re interested in working with businesses that care about our cities as much as we do.
  • Businesses are a part of our communities. A client is a good fit for our community when it aligns its interests with what our communities care about.
  • Sometimes we do in-kind partnerships with local community organizations. Partnerships aren’t paid relationships, and partners don’t have input on our editorial work.
  • We welcome conversations about all this, so please don’t hesitate to drop us a note with questions, concerns, and ideas.

Ethics Guidelines

Information and reporting
Information referenced in a story should come from a verified source, including interviews, legal and professional documents, research and academic work, verified databases, and trusted news organizations. Where appropriate, referenced information should always include attribution.

Opinion content and commentary
Opinion content and commentary should be clearly identified with a disclaimer that identifies it as such.

Sponsored and branded content
Sponsored and branded content must be clearly labeled according to the guidelines above, and must include a link to this policy.

Polls, research, and studies
Information from polls, studies, and academic research should not be reported as fact. Such information should always be presented as being part of a poll, study, or research work and with the context of important or influential factors like sample size, sponsoring agency or company, and selection criteria.

Quotes should always be attributed. Paraphrasing is permitted with proper attribution for clarity. Quotes from other content sources should attribute the source and link to the original story or item.

Writers are not permitted to give sources “quote approval” rights, or to share drafts or passages from a story with subjects. Writers may call or e-mail a source to describe how they are quoted, to double-check their work, or give advance notification about the subject of a piece. Writers should retain their notes, recordings, and other verification materials in an easily accessible format to assist in verifying any disputed quotes.

Interviews via e-mail are strongly discouraged, and should only be used as a last resort on important news stories. If questions are answered via email, the writer must disclose that in the story using clear attribution such as “[SOURCE] wrote in an email.”

The use of anonymous sources is strongly discouraged and must be approved by an editor during the reporting process. If a source requests anonymity or to speak “on background,” the reporter must notify her editor before using that information in a story.

Press releases
Where quoting from a press release is necessary, writers should include a clarifying attribution such as “said in a press release.”

Photography and graphics
All photography, graphics, and other embedded content shall be attributed to the original content creator in text form and, where appropriate, via links and captions. Content used under open licenses such as Creative Commons shall clearly comply with the terms of the license.

Copy edits, grammatical adjustments, and other minor edits may be made directly to a piece of content without notice.

Factual corrections and other substantive edits requiring a correction or clarification, must be clearly noted, preferably with a parenthetical notation within the story indicating the corrected material.

Neither contracted nor full-time reporting staff may accept gifts from the subjects of their stories, except where directly relevant to the reporting process—for example, press access to an event we’re covering, or when visiting a restaurant and receiving a sample of a menu item. When such gifts are accepted in the process, writers must include a disclosure of what was provided, either within the story or as a note.

Conflict of interest disclosure
Both contracted and full-time staff with any real or perceived conflicts of interest should report them ahead of time to management. When a story is published from a writer with a conflict of interest, that story should carry a disclosure indicating the relationship alongside the writer’s biography.