Baltimore IMC :
Baltimore IMC

Editorial Policy

Introduction to the Newswire

In accordance with the Baltimore IMC's overall mission, the online newswire is designed to empower individuals to become independent and civic journalists by providing a direct, unmoderated forum for presenting media, including text articles, audio and video recordings, and photographs, to the public via the Internet. Within that general framework, we specifically encourage individuals to publish:

  • Well-researched, timely articles
  • Investigative reports exposing injustice
  • Coverage of Baltimore regional issues
  • Stories on events affecting underrepresented groups
  • Media produced from within underrepresented groups
  • Stories on issues ignored by the mainstream media
  • Stories on people or projects working towards social and economic justice.
  • Eyewitness accounts of progressive actions and demonstrations
  • Media analysis

The newswire is a democratic forum designed to make available important stories, news, and opinions with local relevance. The newswire operates on the principle of "open publishing" meaning that anyone with access to the Internet can post articles, photographs, audio and video to the newswire without prior editorial approval. The Baltimore IMC is dedicated to maintaining the newswire as a completely open forum. However, the editorial collective regularly watches the newswire, intervening on rare occasions to maintain its usefulness as a media resource and as a welcoming community space.

Introduction to Feature Stories

The editorial collective develops in-depth features for the center column of the Baltimore IMC web site. In addition, particularly insightful articles from the newswire may be selected by the editorial collective to become features. Finally, all newswire articles may be rated by site users, and articles that generate a rating above a particular threshold are automatically considered for feature status. (This ratings threshold has not yet been finalized and may be adjusted depending upon the number of users rating articles.)

Editorial Policy

The Baltimore IMC's editorial policy is based on four guiding principles:

  1. To provide an unmoderated, open-publishing newswire in accordance with established Indymedia policies and philosophy.
  2. To maintain the newswire and website as a community space, and a safe environment for users, specially members of disempowered or marginalized groups.
  3. To acknowledge that words have the power to cause injury, but that instances of injurious speech or writing should also be seen as opportunities for a critical or insurrectionary response.
  4. To preserve the quality of the website as a useful media resource.

Editorial Process

Below is the process by which members of the editorial collective may hide postings from the Baltimore IMC newswire. Hiding articles is a drastic measure, and the editorial collective willl take such actions very rarely.

Newswire posts found to violate editorial policy are here divided into two categories: simple violations, which may be hidden immediately by newswire clerks, and complicated violations, which require discussion among clerks before a decision is reached whether or not to hide a particular article.

Simple violations

  • posted articles which clearly violate policy and may be removed by newswire clerks immediately
  • are limited to several specific types:
    1. Advertising; articles in which the primary intention is to sell a product, or which offer links to commercial websites for the primary purpose of selling a product.
    2. Duplicate postings; two or more articles consisting of identical or near-identical content.
    3. Comments or empty postings: articles which contain no information at all or which are intended as comments on other newswire articles (comments should be articles rather than independently published).
    4. Administrative comments on the maintenance of the site including complaints regarding hidden articles -- these should be directed to the collective at editors (at)

Complicated violations

  • articles, other than the above types, which appear to violate one or more of the four principles of the editorial policy (see above)
  • require discussion and consensus among the collective before they may be hidden.
This category may cover a broad range of perceived policy violations, encompassing such complicated categories as "hate speech," "slander," etc. the specific meanings of which are inadequately determined within an internationalist context. The Baltimore IMC is a place for people of diverse backgrounds to post and read independent news, and policy decisions should not be tied to a particular set of tacitly accepted cultural norms or legal structures.

When proposing that a given article constitutes a policy violation and should be hidden from the newswire, an editor must justify that opinion by referring to one or more of the four core principles. The collective will then refer again to all four principles in evaluating the proposal to move the article. The principles will provide the entire rationale for making judgements about newswire articles; in a given instance they may provide arguments both for and against hiding a particular article. Editors should allow the principles to guide their discussions, and should justify their conclusions in those terms.

When an editor believes an article posted to the newswire violates editorial policy, s/he hides the article and notifies the collective, invoking one or more of the four core principles of the editorial policy. If, after thoughtful consideration and discussion, members of the collective decide that the article does in fact violate the Baltimore IMC's editorial policy, the editor who identified the violation will contact the author of the article.

The author of a hidden article may ask the working group to reconsider its decision by writing to the editors at editors (at) Recourse may offered by the global policy group if appropriate.

Articles hidden from the newswire for any reason will remain available on a hidden articles page, in the spirit of truly open publishing.

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