Article Guidelines

The following is intended to inform those who report, photograph, or edit for JaxLookout.com about our mission and our commitment to professional journalism standards.

It’s really quite simple: we are here to provide citizens with straightforward, nonpartisan reporting about the people, processes, and procedures involved in a local annual expenditure of more than six billion dollars (as of 2018), and the issues and outcomes that drive the spending decisions . This is tax and revenue money collected from and for the citizens of Duval County and Jacksonville, Florida.

Briefly, here are our guidelines:

Report the facts.

Remain neutral in presentation. We are here to inform and illuminate, not espouse a cause.

If it is not possible to report both sides, give the reason. (e.g., refusal of questions, unable to speak with resources and why).

Clearly label opinion as such.

Quotes should be accurate and attributed to the proper person.

Photos and quotes should always reveal context. Don’t edit out something that, if reported, would alter the meaning.

Double check your facts.

Writers please note that ALL submissions are subject to editorial review for compliance with these guidelines and those below.

Always Seek to Answer These Questions in Articles:

• What happened?

• Who was involved?

• When did it take place?

• Where did it take place?

• Why did that happen?

• How did it happen? (in what way? & by what means?)

• Who benefits? 

• Who is harmed?

Follow These Core Principles:

(Adapted from The Ethical Journalism Network)

Truth and accuracy: journalists cannot always guarantee ‘truth’ but getting the facts right is the cardinal principle of journalism. We should always strive for accuracy, give all the relevant facts we have and ensure they have been checked. When we cannot corroborate information, we should say so.
Independence: journalists must be independent voices; we should not act, formally or informally, on behalf of special interests whether political, corporate or cultural. We should declare to our editors – or the audience – any of our political affiliations, financial arrangements or other personal information that might constitute a conflict of interest.
Fairness and impartiality: most stories have at least two sides. While there is no obligation to present every side in every piece, stories should be balanced and add context. Objectivity is not always possible and may not always be desirable (in the face for example of brutality or inhumanity), but impartial reporting builds trust and confidence.
Humanity: journalists should do no harm. What we publish or broadcast may be hurtful, but we should be aware of the impact of our words and images on the lives of others.
Accountability: a sure sign of professionalism and responsible journalism is the ability to hold ourselves accountable. When we commit errors, we must correct them and our expressions of regret must be sincere not cynical. We listen to the concerns of our audience. We may not change what readers write or say but we will always provide remedies when we are unfair.
Clearly label opinion as such.

Because we report on community/political events, we also should keep in mind the principle of “limitation of harm”. (Withholding certain details from reports, e.g., information not materially related to particular news reports release of which might, for example, harm someone’s reputation. We will also eschew discriminatory references in news based on race, religion, sexual orientation, and physical or mental disabilities.

Submission Policy:

Articles, Pitches, & Unsolicited pieces should all be submitted to editor@jaxlookout.com

Before submitting any unsolicited material, please review our site and understand our goals. Priority consideration will always be given to assigned stories. Keep in mind that we are a volunteer organization, and unsolicited material will be responded to as quickly as possible. By submitting articles, photos, and other materials you assume responsibility for any claims of plagiarism or copyright violation. This webpage is useful in checking for originality.

The AP Stylebook will address & guide most of our editing decisions. 

According to the AP, the following books should be consulted whenever you have a word usage or grammar question:

  1. Associated Press Stylebook (http://www.ap.org/, http://apstylebook.com/)
  2. Webster’s New World College Dictionary
  3. The Word, by Rene Cappon
  4. The Chicago Manual of Style
  5. The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White

The list appears in order of preference. Consult the most recent AP guidelines before proceeding to other references. The other texts might not agree with the AP or each other, which is why the order of preference matters.

This website also offers helpful information: http://www.tameri.com/edit/style.html