YourArlington exists to bring community news to our town in the most civil and even-handed way possible. We aim to generate conversation about important issues facing the town, both through Letters to the Editor and comments on specific entries in Your View, the site’s blog. Comments on news stories are not activated. While we welcome these voices, we also request that contributors join in our commitment to a civil tone.
To facilitate this goal and guide our decision-making, we have adopted several policies that are noted in this article and are also posted on the “About Us” page of our website.
Articles: Full-length articles will be considered for publication. Articles are factual reports and aim not to express or convey the opinion of the author. The information contained should be researched and accurate. Documentation of sources may be requested. Articles must be proofread for grammatical and spelling errors. Persons submitting articles must include their name, street address and telephone number or email address with a submission. Click to read the full Submissions Policy.
Community notices and event listings: Criteria for community notices and event publicity are included in the Guidelines for Submission.
Copyright notice: No portion of YourArlington may be reproduced without the express consent of the publishers. Please state whether your submission has been published before and any terms under which the submission was published.
Corrections: The site regrets any errors it makes and will publish corrections promptly after notification.
Disclaimer: The site disclaims all legal and financial responsibility for its errors or omissions in content.
Guidelines for Submissions: Click this link to read the full Submissions Policy.
Letters to the Editor: Criteria for Letters to the Editor are included in the Guidelines for Submission.
Online comments: Online comments are activated for blog entries, but not news stories. Online comment criteria are included in the Guidelines for Submission.
Photographs: We will consider photographs for publication. We will not substantially alter photographs except as necessary for publication. Digital photographs are required. Please contact the editor for submission of nondigital photographs. Persons submitting photographs must include their name, street address and telephone number or email address with each submission.
Protection of minors: We will limit the use of names and addresses where we deem it appropriate, especially as it applies to minors.
Announcements of events: Local nonprofits are invited to submit announcements of their events. Other community calendars are linked to from YourArlington’s Events page.
YourArlington welcomes input from the community and you, our readers.
Voicemail messages can be left at 781-641-4490.
Submission guidelines for articles or press releases, calendar listings and event publicity, comments on published articles, and letters to the editor are noted below. This policy will be updated as software capabilities evolve to allow the general public to submit news and opinion.
YourArlington accepts submissions in four categories:
- Articles or press releases;
- Calendar listings and event publicity;
- Comments on articles posted in YourArlington’s blog, Your View; and
- Letters to the Editor
Articles and press releases
Calendar listings and event publicity
- The public is encouraged to add their events online at www.yourarlington.com/events
Letters to the editor
General policies for all submissions
Views expressed in blog entries posted in YourArlington, or in Letters to the Editor are the writer’s, not YourArlington’s.
Decisions about publication are solely at the discretion of the editor. YourArlington reserves the right to limit the number of comments, letters to the editor, event publicity and articles or press releases published on a single topic, or by an individual writer.
YourArlington will not publish submissions that contain errors of fact, personal attacks, defamation of character, or libelous/slanderous material.
Letters to the editor
Letters to the editor should be emailed to editor [@] yourarlington.com. They also may be mailed to YourArlington, P.O. Box 89, Arlington, MA 02476, but that is discouraged.
Writers must include their name and verifiable contact information (street address and telephone number, or a valid email address) with each submission. YourArlington will publish the writer’s name, but not their contact information.
Letters must be no more than 1,000 words in length. Please do not include charts or graphs. Links to another site with graphs may be included, but the writer should verify that the link is working prior to submission. Letters to the Editor may include calls to action or requests for support.
Submissions may be edited for grammar and clarity. An editor may verify corrections with the writer before publication.
Writers referencing an article in YourArlington should include the title, date and a link to the article.
For clarity when using Ph.D. or ‘Dr./Doctor’ the writer should note the individual’s field of expertise.
The editor will aim to send the letter for publication within three days of receipt. Actual publication depends on the number of articles in the queue.
Letters express the opinion of the writer only and are not the opinion of YourArlington staff or Board of Directors.
Publication of sensitive information and/or rapidly developing news stories
YourArlington is engaged in the publication of news stories impacting the residents of our town. As an established news resource for the town, we are responsible to report accurately on all stories we publish. From time to time, these news stories may include reporting on events that we deem to be unusually sensitive because of, for example, and not limited to:
- The urgency of the events (e.g., crimes, emergencies);
- People involved in the story are minors or might be minors;
- A story is developing rapidly and facts are incomplete; or
- A story is ongoing for a period of time (e.g, a townwide emergency taking place over two or more days).
YourArlington will report as clearly and impartially as possible about the facts of a story as they are discovered or made known through reliable sources. These resources include (but are not limited to) local and state public safety departments, the office of the Arlington town manager, officials speaking for relevant town boards and committees and/or eye-witnesses.
Corroboration of details and events before publication will be given the highest priority in all instances.
If a story is “breaking” or “developing,” YourArlington will report only what it can confirm. We will not speculate on what may have happened or what will happen. If appropriate, we will clearly identify a story as “in development” when it is first reported and we will update that story as new facts become available.
Careful consideration will be given to news stories involving young people who are minors or might be minors (those younger than 18). Minors will not be named without the express permission of a responsible family member. Similarly, the type of incident (for example, where violence or crime is involved) will be considered along with its relevance to the town as a whole. YourArlington is completely responsible for decisions surrounding what it publishes or chooses not to publish.
In an extreme situation, such as a compliance request from law enforcement, the voting board members may be consulted and/or called upon to monitor events and/or determine appropriate responses.
Any news story
For any news story, the site editor puts “YourArlington staff” in the byline field when the news summary is edited by the staff and not written by a specific staffer. If it is, then the editor uses the name of the writer.
Sources for the information are cited with the date of publication in the shirttail, not in the byline field.
Were you named in a YourArlington report as someone charged with a crime, according to police?
Were charges later dropped, or you were found not guilty following a trial?
If so, get in touch with the editor at editor [@] yourarlington.com.
For a story reporting new facts, provide proof of your claim.
If you have an attorney, have that person contact the editor saying when the case was decided, in what court (if applicable) and the reason charges were dismissed.
If you do not have an attorney, go to the police department or court where the issue was decided and provide the editor with a copy of the documents proving your claim.
This information will be published in a new story. The aim is to help clear your name.
YourArlington does not remove a report after someone asks the editor to do so. Even so, consider these points:
- After about five years, depending on the news value of the story (a matter of the editor's judgment), police stories are pruned from the site; and
- As time passes, Google's indexing places an older story lower in rankings, so the public is less likely to see it.
News stories based on police reports reflect, by the nature of the source, the police view of an incident. YourArlington reports the names of adults charged with a crime as part of long-established journalistic tradition.
Names of those under 18 years old are not reported, unless the severity of the crime warrants. Names of rape victims are not reported, unless a victim wants to be identified.
YourArlington does not publish a photograph of a person charged with a minor offense.
Police departments, including Arlington's, routinely release to media outlets the names of adults arrested in a variety of matters. Of course, a charge does not mean a person is guilty.
Unless the news value of an arrest warrants it, most media outlets do not have the staff to follow up on each arrest.
In cases where charges have been dismissed, YourArlington has a path for you to follow. Best to bring your plea directly to the editor.
FYI: Options that won't work include threatening a lawsuit or offering a bribe. In the past, an attorney who said he represented a man named in a YourArlington police report offered the editor money to remove a story. He made the offer twice. The editor declined twice.
The editor of YourArlington acknowledges that we live in an increasingly wired world in which the kind of privacy we may have long enjoyed is changing in far-reaching ways. In the light of such change, here is what the site strives to do with respect to privacy issues.
YourArlington's editor believes the privacy of Web users should be protected, but the nature of the site means that participants give up a small degree of their private lives. YourArlington is based on user-generated content. To pursue that aim, it asks users of the site to register. When users do, information that they provide about themselves is retained on the site so that the editor may communicate them and so that the users who agree to do so, communicate among themselves. YourArlington's editor does not share personal information the site collects about users with outside parties, including news sources and advertisers. YourArlington does make periodic reports to the public about the number of registered users on the site.
Those who write for YourArlington are asked to use their real names as bylines. Pseudonyms are discouraged and require the editor's approval.
Anonymity, false names
Those who use the comment links below opinion stories -- which may be anyone using the site (not just registered users) -- are asked to use their real names. News stories do not have comment links. The editor allows comments only where opinion is published -- on Your View, the site's blog and the place for opinion.
The editor does not publish comments offered anonymously or with apparently false names. If you believe what you are writing, you should stand behind it with your real name.
The editor knows that there are situations calling for anonymity -- for example, an abused spouse who may want to speak out. Further, the editor welcomes tips, but he will ask for the tipster's name but not publish it. In most cases, the full name of a source should be published.
In the past, when the site accepted advertising, advertisers employed third-party service providers that used cookies for tracking the performance of an ad program. Beginning in late 2021, YourArlington no longer accepted long-term advertising, and it ended its contract with an ad-serving company, so this issue no longer applies.
YourArlington does not share, sell, rent or trade information with any party for promotional purposes.
YourArlington is committed to transparency in every aspect of funding of our organization.
Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions.
We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals, organizations and foundations to help with our general operations, coverage of specific topics and special projects. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates as a public trust, we do not pay certain taxes. We may receive funds from standard government programs offered to nonprofits or similar businesses.
Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review or edit content.
We will make public all donors who give $5,000 or more per year. As a news nonprofit, we will avoid accepting charitable donations from anonymous sources, and we will not accept donations from government entities, political parties or candidates actively seeking statewide or national public office. While we will accept donations from local elected officials, we will maintain our editorial independence. We will not accept donations from sources who, deemed by our board of directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.
We declare that no more than 15 percent of revenue comes from anonymous funding.
YourArlington reserves the right to accept or decline any sponsorship it is offered.
YourArlington will decline to accept sponsorship messages that it knows or believes to be misleading, inaccurate, fraudulent or illegal or that fail to comply, in YourArlington’s sole discretion, with its standards of decency, taste or dignity.
YourArlington, like all quality publishers of original journalism, maintains a clear separation between news and sponsorship content. Sponsorship messages that attempt to blur this distinction in a manner that, in YourArlington’s sole judgment, confuses readers will be rejected.
YourArlington will accept short-term advertisements from local nonprofit and governmental entities. YourArlington does not accept political advertising from candidates or advocacy groups.
YourArlington reserves the right to accept or decline any such advertisement.
YourArlington will maintain the same level of discretion and control for such advertisements as it does for sponsorships.
Policy established Feb. 8, 2008, and updated Thursday, March 24, 2022, following approval by YourArlington's board. It was updated Aug. 4 after discussion with YA's board and Institue for Nonprofit News.
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