Happs strives to maintain journalistic integrity in everything we create. This means that everyone who participates with Happs--professional journalists, citizen journalists, trained or untrained contributors, or anyone else—is obligated to tell the truth, to not intentionally distort any information, to check facts, and to not create any kind of fake news.
At the same time, we recognize that the old-school notion of a “lack of bias” is very subjective. We all have biases, and to make it more complicated, many of us are sincerely unaware of them.
Because of this, we at Happs believe that transparency about bias is the most sensible solution and acknowledges reality. If you have a cause that you are passionate about, whether it is for a political candidate, a social issue, or some other topic about which reasonable people have a strong disagreement (e.g. abortion, environmental regulation, military conflict) Happs invites you to participate and contribute in our process of making live news. You don’t have to pretend to be neutral.
We do, however, insist that you be transparent about your bias so that the audience can understand where you are coming from, and evaluate your credibility themselves. And you still have an obligation to tell the truth, to not distort facts, and to subject yourself to challenging questions from journalists or those who support the other side.
The guidelines that follow are guidelines we hold to every member of our editorial team as well as every contributor and freelance journalist we work with.
First and foremost, anyone who streams with Happs must strive to be accurate, fair, and thorough in their reporting. A trained journalist will play a part in all Happs broadcasts either as a producer, contributor, or as a host.
We must aim for accuracy and verify all information. Neither a desire to get to the story first or the fact that our platform is live can get in the way of being accurate.
Happs must strive to tell the truth as nearly as the truth can possibly be told. As part of telling the truth, Happs contributors must disclose any potential conflicts of interest, and be transparent about any bias we may have. Conflicts of interest can include reporting on subjects to which you have a personal connection or on causes to which you have donated money or time.
We must identify sources of information clearly, both human and otherwise, to allow viewers to gauge the motivations of the sources themselves.
Part of telling the truth is telling the entire truth without omitting key facts or information. If for some extenuating circumstance a Happs contributor or journalist must omit certain information from their reporting--due to safety concerns or otherwise--that person must disclose to the audience that they are unable to tell the entire truth.
We must challenge all opinions and not claim any opinions as facts.
In all of its supporting materials, Happs must accurately attribute all information. All visuals need to be clearly and accurately labeled. Re-enactments, advocacy, and commentary must be appropriately labeled as such.
We must also aim to provide context so as not to misrepresent or oversimplify a story.
Every single subject, whether a primary or secondary character on our streams, must be treated fairly. Happs encourages the civil exchange of opinions, no matter how in opposition various opinions are, and will not condone any name calling or indecent behavior.
We must be open about what we are doing to our at every step of the way. In this way, anyone who streams with Happs must disclose to the other subjects they are interviewing what they are doing.
We expect that there will be times in which a contributor or journalist may want or need to use undercover methods in order to properly tell a story and expose the truth. Happs will analyze each of these situations individually and methods related to going undercover must be planned in advance and disclosed to the audience. We expect that no one goes undercover in the middle of a stream on their own volition without first consulting the Happs editorial team.
Similarly, journalists or contributors who plan to put themselves into dangerous situations in order to tell a story must consult with the Happs editorial team before doing so. The team will provide a risk assessment and help determine the best course of action.