Our people & editorial values
Every day, The Canadian Press tells people the story of their country, in all forms and from all corners. We try to do this with fairness, compassion, accuracy and taste, all combined in a tale well told.
Our role and reach
Our context and perspective
Our speed and accuracy
The Canadian Press serves many daily newspapers in Canada, providing reliable and relevant news, photos and graphics. And it also feeds hundreds of radio and television stations with 24-hour-a-day news and information.
But beyond the traditional printed and spoken word, we also have a major role in new media. Regardless of whether Canadians are getting their news from the Internet, cable TV or news tickers on all-news television channels, there’s a good chance much of the information comes from The Canadian Press. We are truly Canada’s No. 1 source for news – in French and English.
News gathering is an imprecise science, but our formula is the envy of other news services around the world: a dedicated staff in bureaus and correspondent points across the country, as well as Washington, a working partnership with many daily newspapers; a connection to hundreds of TV and radio newsrooms through its broadcast division; and an alliance with The Associated Press that provides news from around the world.
There’s a difference between providing information and telling Canadians what is happening in their vast country – and how events beyond our borders affect them. Context and perspective are fundamental parts of The Canadian Press report.
It’s the goal of all our reporters and editors to focus on real people – not just institutions – to show in human terms how events affect our lives. It’s a busy world out there so every story needs to convince the reader that they should devote the time to read it. If the story doesn’t strive to be interesting or tell the reader why they should care, the page will be turned or the channel changed.
The principles that guide our work have been unchanged since our beginning in 1917. Everything that we do must be honest, unbiased and unflinchingly fair. We deal with facts that are demonstrable, supported by sources that are reliable and responsible. We pursue with equal vigour all sides of a story.
It seems to me that I basically get paid to meet people _ hundreds, if not thousands, over the years. And it never ceases to amaze me how they want to reach out in times of triumph, of course, but also in times of tragedy, confusion or pain. They open their homes and their hearts to us, and through us, to the rest of the country and the world. This is a big country, with differing interests and histories in every region but I like to think that we remind readers of the common thread that connects us from coast to coast to coast.
Dene Moore, Reporter/Editor, St. John's
Accuracy is fundamental. Discovery of a mistake calls for immediate correction. Corrections to stories already published or broadcast must not be grudging or stingy. They must be written in a spirit of genuinely wanting to right a wrong in the fairest and fullest manner.
Our work is urgent. Speed must be a primary objective of a news service committed to the deadlines of newspapers and broadcasters in six time zones. Online news has no deadlines – or more precisely, the deadline is right now. But being reliable is always more important than being fast.
You need to have a sense of urgency when you work at the national wire service. Our job is about being able to change gears in an instant and shape a story, often times, while it is still developing. It's about giving the people the clear and accurate information they need, as it comes in.
Timothy Cook, Reporter/Editor, Regina
The Canadian Press takes pride in breaking stories – being first with the news and staying on top of a story. And that means digging to uncover fresh angles and discover exclusive facts. My editors encourage me to do just that on the national security beat using contacts, information laws and good old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism. That’s what makes working here so exciting. Whether it be fast-developing items or in-depth projects, the goal is to provide Canadians with an informed perspective on complex issues. There is a wonderful co-operative spirit at The Canadian Press that helps reporters and editors meet those high standards. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Jim Bronskill, Reporter/Editor, Ottawa
Among the most important of these practices:
Investigate fully before transmitting any story or identifying any individual in a story where there is the slightest reason for doubt. When in doubt cut it out.
Cite competent authorities and sources as the origin of any information open to question. Have proof available for publication in the event of a denial.
Be impartial when handling any news affecting parties or matters in controversy. Give fair representation to all sides at issue.
Stick to the facts without editorial opinion or comment. Reporters’ opinions are not wanted in The Canadian Press copy. Their observations are. So are accurate backgrounding and authoritative interpretation essential to the reader’s understanding of complicated issues.
Admit errors promptly, frankly. Public distrust of the media is fed by inaccuracy, carelessness, indifference to public sentiment, automatic cynicism about those in public life, perceived bias or unfairness and other sins suggesting arrogance.
We can help overcome such public attitudes through scrupulous care for facts and unwavering dedication to fairness. We must not be quick to dismiss criticism and complaints, a trait journalists refuse to accept in others.
The power of news stories to injure can reach both the ordinary citizen and the corporate giant. Our integrity and sensitivity demand that we respond sympathetically and quickly when an error has been made. It doesn’t matter whether the complaint comes from a timid citizen acting alone or from a powerful figure’s battery of lawyers.
Every story shown to be erroneous and involving a corrective must be drawn to the attention of supervisory staff.
Part of our responsibility as a news agency is to ensure we don’t do anything that demeans the craft or weakens our credibility. We must observe stringent ethical practices, and be seen to be doing so. The following guiding principles for our staff were established in the spirit of wanting to advance, not restrain, our work.
- Pride in yourself and in the practice of journalism nourishes ethical behaviour.
- Our policy is to pay its way. Staff should not accept anything that might compromise our integrity or credibility.
- We do not pay newsmakers for interviews, to take their pictures or to film or record them.
- Our reporters do not misrepresent themselves to get a story. They always identify themselves as journalists.
Impartiality is somewhat like exercise. You have to work out regularly to build tone and strength.
In our reports, parties in controversy, whether in politics or law or otherwise, receive fair consideration. Statements issued by conflicting interests merit equal prominence, whether combined in a single story or used at separate times.