The Spectrum is the University at Buffalo's premier student publication. As the university's only independent source of news, The Spectrum fills a vital role by publishing the issues facing the UB community in a professional and uncensored light. The Spectrum distributes 6,000 newspapers once per week.
The Spectrum, the student newspaper of the University at Buffalo, operates with the following mission:
- To actively and ethically pursue all news of the university, university community and all who are affected by the university; to provide comprehensive, accurate coverage of UB and beat our competition in terms of breaking campus news and quality of content.
- To serve as a learning laboratory for young journalists and an integral part of the university’s journalism program; to equip all aspiring media professionals with the tools necessary not only to communicate information but also to understand the changing face of media; to train staff members in reporting, editing and managing a news organization and publishing in a newspaper, on a website, on social media and through other emerging platforms; to provide a fun, relaxed working environment for young professionals.
- To advocate for the tradition of editorial and journalistic freedom among journalists; to be a leader in espousing the ethical standards of the industry; to serve as a beacon of journalistic integrity.
- To represent the University at Buffalo as its flagship news organization and also to serve as a university and community news source of record.
Accuracy is fundamental to The Spectrum’s integrity and mission. So is the trust of our readers. The best way we can maintain trust is to be unwavering in our stance on ethical decision-making and make our stance as transparent as possible. We will quickly address reader concerns about ethics and all content decisions. The Spectrum adheres to the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethical standards, which focus on seeking truth and reporting it, minimizing harm, acting independently and being accountable.
- We are committed to truth and accuracy in our reporting and coverage. We know accuracy gives us credibility. We do not knowingly plagiarize or unfairly accept others’ information as our own. All information we obtain from other sources will be correctly attributed, including the rare occasions when we use anonymous sources. We are committed to fair, impartial treatment of readers, sources and advertisers.
- We strive to be as open and accountable as possible. We publish our contact information in every issue and on our website, and we encourage reader participation and feedback.
- We promise to admit our mistakes and make corrections. We understand that when we make a mistake, the only way to save our credibility is to admit our error, apologize and take steps to keep it from happening again.
- We are dedicated to exposing wrongdoing on campus and in society. We will clearly label our opinion pieces and use them to add our voice to open discussion about relevant topics. We want to encourage campus discussion and involve as many readers as possible, particularly ones who disagree with us.
- We are dedicated to representing the UB and Buffalo community. That means covering our entire community — not just the majority — and it also means recruiting a diverse body of students that represent our audience.
We aim to provide thought-provoking coverage that educates and inspires readers. Our goal is to inform the student body and community so people can make informed choices and decisions. Failure to report accurately undermines The Spectrum’s credibility.
The Spectrum strives to only run information we are sure is correct and has been fact-checked. Still, mistakes do sometimes occur. Reporters and editors must be responsive and forthright in dealing with questions of accuracy. The Spectrum acts as UB’s historical record and any errors need to be fixed. As such, The Spectrum has implemented the following policy on corrections:
- Corrections do not have to be spurred by a complaint. Any time a Spectrum staff becomes aware of a potential error, the staff member should immediately refer it to an editor and managing editor or the editor-in-chief. If a staffer or editor knows there is an error in a story before or after publication and does not notify someone, it is grounds for termination.
- Upon notification, editors will immediately examine the error. Is it a mistake? Why did it happen? How can it be corrected?
- A call about a correction should not be treated as a problem; it’s unfortunate, but also an opportunity to make amends and ensure our credibility does not suffer. Showing sources we care about being accurate is essential to our success and often the best way to avoid legal troubles. Calls from sources or readers about potential mistakes should be returned immediately and handled within a week.
- Corrections will be printed in the following paper and will run prominently on page 3. Corrections will also be noted on our website at the end the original article.
- Editors making corrections will discuss the reason for the error with the editor-in-chief and offer ways to avoid similar future mistakes. When warranted, this will become a staff discussion at the Monday meeting.
- The reporter or editor will contact the sources involved and apologize directly. If warranted, the reporter/editor will provide an explanation to the source. Mistakes can happen during the course of news flow, and most sources understand this and will be willing to forgive reporters. Contacting gives them an opportunity to do so and shows that we take errors seriously.
- The editor-in-chief will be the final arbiter as to what constitutes a correction or clarification.
Manipulation of archives policy
The Spectrum seeks to report the truth as accurately as we can. Online archives are a part of the institutional memory of the newspaper and a historical record of our campus and community. As such, we will not remove nor attempt to hide from commercial search engines any material in our online archives - news stories, story comments, editorials, opinion columns, photographs or graphic illustrations. If an error in our archived content is brought to our attention and documented to our satisfaction, we will append the original article with an editor's note acknowledging the change made to the original archive. That decision is solely at the discretion of the current student editorial management.
In the case of content published more than one year ago, the complainant must provide reasonable proof the content in question was not accurate. For example, a copy of expungement papers should be provided in case any criminal charges are dropped. If published more than a year ago, contested quotes are highly unlikely to be amended without written or audio documentation.
If the contested content was published less than a year ago, normal internal procedures for checking the material's accuracy will apply, and sources may be asked to provide written documentation. Updates or corrections may be added if the material is factually inaccurate In the event of a correction, a note detailing the date and time of the change will be included.