The Guardian has announced it is to disclose the full details of who paid for journalists’ transport, accommodation and other expenses at the bottom of travel articles.
The new policy has arisen following a recent complaint from a reader about an article in which the reporter’s expenses were covered by environmental campaign group Greenpeace.
The reader said: “In my opinion it crosses an ethical line for purely financial reasons and I would be very interested to learn the paper’s position.”
Guardian deputy editor Ian Katz responded:
I think that in many circumstances it is fine to accept trips funded by governments, NGOs or lobby groups, though in all cases we should declare them at end of the piece. All funded trips should be authorised by a senior editor and the judgment we should make is, ‘What would the reader, armed with the information about how the trip was funded, make of it?’ If the answer to that is that the reader would probably consider it dodgy, or somehow contaminating of our coverage, then we shouldn’t take it.
Readers’ editor Chris Elliott wrote in his column today:
The Guardian is going to take a step further towards openness in the area of travel writing. In future, travel features will specify which aspects of a trip were paid for and by whom at the end of such features. Across the rest of the paper, on each desk, there are plans to log any trips taken, to ensure that such trips are tracked and signed off by a senior editor.