Andover News is an independent, reader-supported, nonpartisan news source covering Andover, Massachusetts. In addition to following the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics, Andover News has established the following standards and goals for our coverage:
- Government watchdog: Independent news sites like Andover News keep government officials and agencies accountable. A 2018 working paper by the Hutchins Center found municipal borrowing costs increase 5 to 11 basis points when the local newspaper close. That adds an additional $650,000 per issue, a cost paid for through property tax levies. Municipalities without independent news coverage also see an increase in other costs and corruption.
- Fact-based: Andover News seeks to present verified facts and context in a way that allows readers to form their own opinions on issues. We link to original sources and publish complete documents whenever possible.
- Nonpartisan: Andover News does not publish editorials, endorse candidates for elected office or take positions on issues, but we do encourage readers and Andover residents to submit commentary and opinion submissions for publication.
- Independent: Andover News only covers stories its editors believe to be important based on the news value to the public or interest in an issue. We do not accept preferential treatment in exchange for producing a story. We distinguish our independent, original journalism across all platforms from advertising and partner content.
- Fair: Good journalism is not always fast journalism, so we’ll let a competitor “beat” us on a story if it means we hold a story to get a more complete understanding of the issue we’re reporting on. We’ll give people named in our stories time to respond to requests for comment before publishing. If you think we’re being biased or unfair, let us know, and we’ll respond to your email or voicemail within one business day to discuss the decisions made in covering a story.
- Always local: We won’t chase state or national stories unless there is a clear-cut connection to Andover. Plenty of other “local” news sites already do this by aggregating coverage from other news outlets. We’d rather use the time to write profiles of local people doing interesting stuff around town, finding ways to cover local sports and keeping tabs on the more than 40 boards and commissions in Andover that make decisions impacting our readers’ lives.
- Transparent: Objectivity is the standard journalists strive for, but objectivity is an impossible ideal for humans to attain. The very first decision a journalist makes – whether a story is important enough to cover – is subjective. While we strive to be objective, we can only promise readers the next best thing: Andover News will be fair and will make clear where our biases lie while explaining our news decisions clearly.
- Professional: Local journalism is not complicated work, but it is hard work, and the people who do it deserve to be paid a livable wage. Journalists should be able to afford to live in the community they cover. One of our top goals for the first year of operation is to develop a business model that will allow us to hire an experienced, full-time reporter to cover Andover. Within three years we want to expand that staff to include sports and local business reporters, a designer and an editor. For now, however, any revenue generated by Andover News will be used to cover expenses and — hopefully — grow and promote the site.
- Community-focused: We do not want to increase division in Andover. We want to help build community ties by increasing people’s understanding of one another, whether it be through outlining opposing positions on an issue or profiling remarkable people and events in town. In an age where labels and identity politics have overtaken public discourse, we want to treat people as neighbors first. Neighbors can disagree, and they do not necessarily even have to like each other, but they do have to find a way to live together. And that starts with learning about one another.
Additional policies will be added to this section as they are adopted by Andover News.
Andover News seeks to avoid using unnamed and anonymous sources. In the rare instances where we do use anonymous sources, all of the following must apply:
- The issue is of vital public importance.
- We have made extensive efforts to obtain the information being offered by the anonymous source elsewhere.
- We have carefully considered the source’s motivations before promising anonymity.
- We have determined the source may face danger, retribution or other harm if they are identified and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere.
- We have clearly explained why anonymity was granted.
- We have offered as much information as possible about the source to help readers judge the reliability and motivations of the source.
- We have not used pseudonyms or other fabricated information for the source.
Andover News corrects errors in our stories as quickly as possible. A correction explaining the error will be posted prominently in the original story.
If you spot an error on Andover News, please let us know.
Identifying People Accused Of Committing A Crime
Andover News does not publish the names or police booking photos of people who have been arrested for or charged with misdemeanors. We make an exception to this policy if the person is a public figure or elected official and the charges somehow relate to their role or profession. We only make this exception after giving the subject or their counsel a reasonable opportunity to comment.
When available, Andover News will publish the names and mugshots of people accused of violent crimes and other felonies, as well as identify people who are convicted of a crime if we deem the incident newsworthy.
Upon request, Andover News will remove the names of people named in crime stories after they have served their sentence or have been found not guilty. To have your name removed from a crime story, send us a scan of your court paperwork showing the conclusion of the case.
Editorials, Opinion and Letters To The Editor
Andover News does not endorse political candidates or groups, and does not publish unsigned editorials on any issue as a means of presenting the opinion of Andover News as an entity.
We do, however, accept and encourage reader submissions, including letters to the editor and opinion columns. Submissions should be 750 words long or fewer and Andover-focused. Please include your name, title if applicable to your topic and connection or interest in Andover. We also need a phone number so we can confirm authorship.