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Introduction

For more than 170 years, the people of The Associated Press have had the privilege of bringing news and information to the world. We have gone to great lengths, overcome great obstacles – and, too often, made great sacrifices – to ensure that the news was reported quickly, accurately and honestly, in a balanced and impartial way. Our efforts have been rewarded with trust: More than half the world’s population sees AP news content on any given day.

 In the 21st century, that news is transmitted in more ways than ever before – online and mobile, in print and on the air, in words, video, photographs, interactives, graphics, data and audio. No matter the platform, we insist on the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior as we gather and deliver the news.

We abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions.

We will not knowingly introduce rumor or false information into material intended for publication or broadcast; nor will we distort visual content. Quotations must be accurate and precise.  We preserve the appropriate professional distance from those we cover.

We always strive to identify all the sources of our information. We shield them with anonymity only when they insist upon it for a valid reason and when they provide vital information – not opinion or speculation; when there is no other way to obtain that information; and when we are confident the source is reliable and in a position to know. We don't plagiarize, and we respect copyright.

We don't plagiarize, and we respect copyright.

We avoid behavior or activities that create as a conflict of interest that compromise our ability to report the news fairly and accurately, uninfluenced by any person or action.

We clearly identify advertising on our platforms, and keep AP commercial activities separate from our newsroom.

We don't misidentify or misrepresent ourselves to get a story. When we seek an interview, we identify ourselves as AP journalists. We balance the newsworthiness of a story with respect for privacy and safety interests when pursuing images.

We don’t pay newsmakers for interviews, to take their photographs or to film or record them. We do not provide full lists of questions in advance or allow interview subjects to approve our text or images before publication.

We must be fair. Whenever we portray someone in a negative light, we must make a real effort to obtain a response from that person.

When mistakes are made, they must be corrected – fully, quickly, transparently and ungrudgingly.

It is the responsibility of every one of us to ensure that these standards are upheld. Any time a question is raised about any aspect of our work, it should be taken seriously.

“I have no thought of saying The Associated Press is perfect. The frailties of human nature attach to it,” wrote Melville Stone, the great general manager of the AP. But he went on to say that “the thing it is striving for is a truthful, unbiased report of the world's happenings … ethical in the highest degree.”

He wrote those words in 1914. They are true today.

The policies set forth in these pages are central to the AP’s mission; any failure to abide by them is subject to review, and could result in disciplinary action, ranging from admonishment to dismissal, depending on the gravity of the infraction.

News Values and Principles

Introduction

For more than 170 years, the people of The Associated Press have had the privilege of bringing news and information to the world.

Telling the story

Reporters at The Associated Press utilize a set of standards and practices that safeguards AP stories from bias and inaccuracies.

Conflicts of interest

AP employees must avoid behavior or activities that could create a conflict of interest or compromise our ability to report the news fairly and accurately, uninfluenced by any person or action.