Code of Ethics

The Narwhal’s mission is to bring evidence-based news and analysis to the surface for all Canadians. In doing this work, we adhere to a set of professional journalistic principles to ensure fairness, independence and accuracy in our work.

Independence

  • We serve the public interest, and put the needs of our readers at the forefront of our newsgathering decisions. This sometimes conflicts with various public and private interests.
  • We do not show our completed reports to sources before they are published or broadcast, unless the practice is intended to verify facts. Doing so might invite prior restraint and challenge our independence as reporters.
  • We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support. Our organization may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content. Read our editorial independence policy.

Accuracy

  • When we make a mistake, whether in fact or in context, we correct it promptly and in a transparent manner, acknowledging the nature of the error.

Fairness

  • We give people, companies or organizations that are publicly accused or criticized opportunity to respond before we publish those criticisms or accusations. We make a genuine and reasonable effort to contact them, and if they decline to comment, we say so.

Conflict of Interest

  • We carefully consider our political activities and community involvements. If a journalist does choose to engage in outside political activity or espouse a particular political viewpoint, we publicly declare any real or potential conflicts.
  • Personal online activity, including emails and social networking, should generally be regarded as public and not private. Such activity can impact our professional credibility. As such, we think carefully before we post, and we take special caution in declaring our political leanings online, particularly if there is a chance we will be covering the campaign, activity or group involved.

Accuracy

  • We normally identify sources of information. But we may use unnamed sources when there is a clear and pressing reason to protect anonymity, the material gained from the confidential source is of strong public interest, and there is no other reasonable way to obtain the information. When this happens, we explain the need for anonymity and we independently corroborate facts if we get them from a source we do not name.

We rely on our readers to hold us to these standards, so please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

Editorial Independence Policy

The Narwhal subscribes to the following standards of editorial independence, based on those adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News.

The Narwhal retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support. Our news judgments are also made independently of our board of directors, who are not involved in day-to-day news operations.

The Narwhal may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.
We will make public most donors who give $5,000 or more per year, with the only exception being for those individuals who request anonymity due to privacy concerns.

Donor Transparency Policy

In 2017, The Narwhal (formerly DeSmog Canada) was awarded a five-star transparency rating by Transparify.

The Narwhal subscribes to the following standards of donor transparency, based on those adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News.

We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding 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. 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 most donors who give $5,000 or more per year, with the only exception being for those individuals who request anonymity due to privacy concerns.

As a nonprofit, we will avoid accepting donations from anonymous sources, and we will not accept donations from government entities, political parties, elected officials or candidates actively seeking public office. 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.

Our Funding

The Narwhal is incorporated as a non-profit society under the B.C. Societies Act. We are funded by individuals and foundations that care about climate change, democracy, science and the environment. We are proud to earn the financial support of hundreds of readers through one-time donations and monthly memberships. In addition, we are grateful to accept funding from philanthropic foundations that support our mission.

As a part of our donor transparency policy, we disclose most donors who give The Narwhal more than $5,000 in a fiscal year, with the only exception being for those individuals who request anonymity due to privacy concerns.

Financial Year Funder (Donor, Client, Partner) Revenue Received Project
2017 Wilburforce Foundation $144,203.85 Core Support
2017 Oak Foundation $74,995 Core Support
2017 Individual Gifts Less than $5,000 $24,490.06 Core Support
2017 LUSH Cosmetics $18,500 Site C Dam Research
2017 Salal Foundation $7,500 Climate Research
2017 Anonymous Donor $7,000 Core Support
2017 Salal Foundation $5,040 Site C Dam Research
2017 Vancouver Foundation $5,000 Opinion research
Total Received $286,728.91
Financial Year Funder (Donor, Client, Partner) Revenue Received Project
2016 Wilburforce Foundation $154,165.71 Core Support
2016 Oak Foundation $79,190.00 Core Support
2016 Salal Foundation $26,857.14 B.C. Mining Research
2016 442 Individual Gifts Less than $5,000 $17,858.49 Core Support
2016 Spake Media House Inc. $9,523.81 Lobbyist Database Research
Total Received $287,595.15