Sponsorship Policy & Ethics Guidelines

How our business works

Trust is an essential part of our work, so we wrote this guide to our sponsorship, branded content, and ethics policies to provide transparency to you, our most important partners. Questions? Please contact us.

We’re a local journalism organization, but we’re also a company. One of the ways we keep the lights on is by working with companies, brands, and organizations to help them reach and engage locals who care about what they do. We offer research, content sponsorship, promotional messages in our newsletters, custom creative storytelling, and event design to our clients.


Content sponsorship

Sponsors underwrite some of our big projects, like our Startup Guide and our Neighborhood Guides. Their support makes it possible for us to do big, ambitious things we couldn’t do otherwise. The partner’s sponsorship information, including a logo and sponsored message, goes alongside content with the words “Made possible by.” Sponsorship follows a few rules:

  • Sponsor relationships are always noted with clear language, such as “Made possible by”
  • Sponsors have no direct input on our reporting, editorial decisionmaking, writing or editing processes.
  • Sponsors do not receive prior review of the editorial content of stories on which they are listed as a sponsor.


Branded content

We produce original, custom content for clients as part of our parent company WhereBy.Us‘ agency work. We work with them to identify what they care about, and our client creative team designs stories they think people like you might enjoy. These stories run on The New Tropic, and sometimes on our partners’ sites and channels, too. Branded content follows a few rules:

  • Branded content is always noted with clear language, including “Produced for [client]” above their logo and “The New Tropic Branded Content” in the byline
  • Branded content is always marked as such in our newsletters and on our social media channels
  • The New Tropic staff is not involved in the planning or production of branded content


Community partnership policy

We sometimes work with local community groups to help share their free events with our community. This includes listing the event in our newsletter planner and website, and may include mentioning the event on social media. At our discretion, we sometimes also write stories about the event or the organization. We do not receive payment or other compensation for these partnerships, nor does the partner have any prior review or direct input on our reporting or editorial process.


Ethics Guidelines

Information and reporting
Information referenced in a The New Tropic 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.

Polls, research, and studies
Information from polls, studies, and academic research should always be noted as being part of a poll, study, or research work, and not reported as fact.

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.

The New Tropic 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 your 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 note the usage with language such as “Courtesy of CREATOR via Creative Commons license.”

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

Factual corrections and other substantive edits require a correction note at the bottom of the story, to read “Correction—a previous version of this article stated that…” and indicating the corrected material.

Writers and The New Tropic staff may not accept gifts from the subjects of their stories, except where directly relevant to the reporting process—for example, 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 indicating “[SOURCE] provided [GIFTS] for the reporting of this story.”

Conflict of interest disclosure
Writers and The New Tropic staff with 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.