Editorial Policy

 

The Oyster Approach

With over 25 years of experience in creating content at the forefront of modern youth culture, Oyster continues to lead the conver­sation around what is culturally important. We’ve long been in dialogue with activists, change-makers, and the often ‘othered class’ and our diverse and thoughtful approach is integrated throughout our content and production processes.

We collaborate with creatives to foster authenticity and originality in our content and give unlimited editorial space to LGBTQI voices, opinions on equality, and leadership thinking on diversity, inclusion, sustainability, and innovation. We have been a platform that inspires radical change since our beginnings in 1994 and we’re proud to speak to these cultural topics with authenticity, not tokenism.

Oyster’s content is produced and published in accordance with guidelines developed from journalism best-practice standards. We reference the Australian Press Council Standards as our North Star, combined with considerations about Oyster’s unique values, reputation, and operations. Values such as accuracy, authenticity, fairness, and equal opportunity and relevance are of particular importance to Oyster’s content and operations, along with the need to provide trust and respect to our subjects, readers, and society more broadly.

This approach ensures the consistent production of high-quality content that is appropriate for Oyster’s platforms and its readers, thereby facilitating meaningful discussions on the issues that matter most to young-at-heart Australians.

We take our content, values and the topics we cover very seriously, but to never take ourselves too seriously. The Oyster tone of voice is intelligent but relaxed, insightful with a sense of humour, and well-written but conversational — we want to ensure that our predominantly Gen-Z/Millenial audience finds our content is both easy to read and share, so we talk to them on their level.

If you are working with Oyster as an employee (full time, part-time, casual, or intern) or as a contributor (whether it be regular work or a once-off, in any capacity), we expect you to adhere to these policies and guidelines to preserve Oyster’s reputation for providing accurate, authentic, creative, high-quality and independent journalism.

 

Complaints and Feedback

We invite readers to expect that Oyster and its employees and contributors follow Oyster’s approach and guidelines when creating and publishing content. Please contact us if you ever believe that content published on any of Oyster’s platforms, or the behaviour of Oyster employees or contributors, falls short of these expectations.

 

For any questions related to Oyster’s Editorial Policy and Guidelines, please email editorial@oystermag.com

For any questions related to Oyster’s Advertising Content, please email advertising@oystermag.com.

For any complaints or feedback on Oyster’s published content, please email feedback@oystermag.com

 

You can view our detailed handling process for Complaints and Feedback relating to editorial content and how this is managed by Oyster here. 

 

Editorial Guidelines

 

Factual Accuracy and Authenticity

It is crucial that the factual material in all content published by Oyster is accurate and not misleading, whether it is a news story or an opinion piece, and it is expected that all employees and contributors take reasonable steps to ensure this.

In submitting work for publication by Oyster, content producers provide a guarantee that their work is their own, factually accurate based on credible sources, complies with relevant copyright laws, and is not misleading.

Writers and editors may from time to time make minor alterations to direct quotes, but only to the extent required to remove any inaccurate, misleading, defamatory or otherwise unlawful content, or to improve clarity so long as the substance is not changed.

Oyster’s in-house editors will review and fact check all content before publication to the extent that is practicable in the circumstances to ensure factual accuracy and compliance with relevant copyright and publishing laws.

Where appropriate, any content pieces featuring potentially sensitive facts are also referred back to the relevant subject for final review before publication to ensure accuracy.

If factual inaccuracies are subsequently found in published work, Oyster will amend the content to the extent that it is possible to correct or remove the factual inaccuracies and take any other actions deemed necessary.

 

Digital Alteration of Images

Many of the images featured on Oyster’s platforms have been digitally modified in some way. Unless otherwise stated and agreed, we expect that photographers make standard professional edits such as colour and light adjustments and any other required retouching before submitting their final work for publication.

Oyster may also need to adjust supplied images to ensure that they are suitable for their intended publication format and purpose.

Modifications should not change the substance of the image, or unique features in the images so that it becomes inaccurate or misleading and may cause concern, confusion or offence to any third parties.

As Oyster is a platform that is particularly conscious of promoting individuality and self-expression, extra caution must be exercised when modifying images that feature people. Anything beyond minor alterations will require the approval of the Publisher.

 

Fair and Balanced Reporting

Oyster promotes an open-minded approach to exploring important issues in society. It is therefore important that factual material is presented with reasonable fairness and balance, and that writers’ expressions of opinion are made clear and are not based on significantly inaccurate factual material or omission of key facts.

In the event that material refers adversely to a person, that person should be provided with an opportunity to reply to the extent that it is relevant in the circumstances and will aid in the publication of fair and balanced journalism.

 

Attribution and Accountability

Notions of attribution and accountability are important to ensure that Oyster’s content is accurate, trustworthy, and lawful. 

Where possible and practical, the creators and sources of content published on Oyster’s platforms should be accurately identified and credited. Contributors must provide Oyster with key details of all parties who require credit.

All content published by Oyster must comply with all relevant Australian copyright, licensing, and other commercial laws. Contributors are to warrant that any content they supply to Oyster for publication complies with these requirements.

Where practical, content should be sourced from the original creator. If content published on Oyster’s platforms is not owned by Oyster, we will provide details of the source and attribute the content to its owner or creator.

Where a source of information in published material is another organisation, then that organisation should be referenced, acknowledged, and linked to where appropriate.

There may be times when it is in the best interests of a creator or source for their identity to remain anonymous and their confidentiality should be honoured unless Oyster is under a legal option to disclose their identity. Requests by police or other authorities for information or details are to be referred immediately to the Publisher.

 

Discrimination, Diversity and Equal Opportunity  

 Oyster has a long history of championing diversity and providing a platform to a broad range of voices not often or traditionally supported by mainstream media. It is an integral part of our value to our readers, contributors, and society and we must continue to maintain this.

Across all aspects of Oyster’s content — from the editorial team and contributors to the subject matter, people and issues, and the processes through which content is produced — Oyster has a strict policy of ensuring:

  • Zero-tolerance when it comes to acts of discrimination, including but not limited to discrimination based on race, colour, nationality, gender, sex, sexual preferences, religion, physical or mental illnesses and disabilities, wealth, or social status. We also do not make reference to such characteristics in our reporting, unless they are integral to the story, expressed in a positive light, or the person has requested that we do so.
  • Diversity in the perspectives and backgrounds of team members, contributors, and subjects is incorporated across all aspects of the business and content.
  • Equal opportunities are given to people of all backgrounds and attributes, with any assessments or decisions based on merits and talent.

 

Integrity, Privacy, and Transparency

It is important to respect a person’s reasonable expectations of privacy, and we do not intrude on this unless in the very rare instance that is considered in the public interest.

We do not publish material that is known to have been produced via deceptive or unfair means, unless in the extremely rare event that doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

It is not in our usual course of business to harass, deceive, or intimidate people when obtaining photographs or information, or to obtain content by trespassing on private property. If someone asserts that they do not wish to participate in the production of content, it is expected that such a request is immediately respected and complied with.

It is generally inappropriate to publish identifying details, such as residential addresses, phone numbers, or other private information that may enable others to intrude on that person’s privacy or negatively impact on their safety.

In determining whether a circumstance is one that is rare or extraordinary and therefore justifies an exception to these general rules, the relevant editor involved must seek the prior approval of the Publisher who will determine whether the proposed actions are in the public interest.

 

Grief, Death, and Suicide

Reporting on matters involving grief and death require extra sensitivity and respect for the people involved, readers, and society. 

Reporting on general issues relating to suicide is acceptable when there is a substantial public benefit – such as raising awareness of key risks to aid in prevention.

Reporting on specific instances of suicide requires strict adherence to APC guidelines, which can be summarised as:

  • In deciding whether to report an individual instance of suicide, consideration should be given to whether clear and informed consent has been provided by appropriate relatives or close friends; or reporting the death as suicide is clearly in the public interest*.
  • In deciding whether also to report the identity of the person who has died by suicide, account should be taken of whether (a) clear and informed consent has been provided by appropriate relatives or close friends; or (b) identification is clearly in the public interest.
  • The method and location of a suicide should not be described in detail (e.g., a particular drug or cliff) unless the public interest in doing so clearly outweighs the risk, if any, of causing further suicides. This applies especially to methods or locations which may not be well known by people contemplating suicide.
  • Reports should not sensationalise, glamorise, or trivialise suicides. They should not inappropriately stigmatise suicides or people involved in them. But this does not preclude responsible description or discussion of the impacts, even if they are severely adverse, on people, organisations or communities. Where appropriate, underlying causes such as mental illness should be mentioned.
  • Reports of suicide should not be given undue prominence, especially by unnecessarily explicit headlines or images. Great care should be taken to avoid causing unnecessary harm or hurt to people who have attempted suicide or to relatives and other people who have been affected by suicide or attempted suicide. This requires special sensitivity and moderation in both gathering and reporting news.
  • Published material relating to suicide should be accompanied by information about appropriate 24-hour crisis support services or other sources of assistance with these problems. The degree of specificity may vary according to the nature of the report and the surrounding circumstances.

 

Conflicts of Interest, Travel and Gifting Policy

 A conflict of interest can occur in situations where the personal interests, gains or loyalties impact on the ability of that person to make objective decisions and/or recommendations, thereby limiting Oyster’s capacity to provide fair and balanced reporting that is accurate and transparent.

Conflicts, or potential conflicts, of interest, should be disclosed to the supervising or commissioning editor, as well as the Publisher, to determine whether the conflict will interfere with the ability of that person to adhere to Oyster’s editorial policies and to ensure that the conflict is adequately disclosed in any published materials.

It is inappropriate and in breach of Oyster’s editorial policy for employees or contributors to receive a personal gain, other than any fees or salaries paid to them by Oyster for their services, from content published on Oyster’s platforms.

Employees and contributors must not solicit or request any benefits or gifts, or accept any bribes, in connection with their association and work with Oyster.

Any gifts or benefits received through association and wok with Oyster that exceed AUD $150 in value must be declared to a supervising editor and/or the Publisher who will make a record on the staff gift register.

If products are provided or sent to an employee or regular contributor for review on Oyster’s platform, they may be used by that person but remain the property of Oyster. They may not be provided to any other third parties or sold for personal gain.

Any offers to provide employees or contributors with free or discounted travel in connection to their association with Oyster is to be referred to the Publisher. The Publisher will decide whether or not to accept the offer on behalf of the publication, who the most appropriate person to assign the offer to is, and the extent of any resulting coverage on Oyster’s platforms. Any expenses accruing to Oyster from such travel must be approved in advance.

Employees and Contributors should generally not produce features about family members, friends, business partners or romantic partners without the express permission from their supervising editor, who will ensure relationships are disclosed to readers and that any potential conflicts are appropriately managed.

Any compliance concerns with this policy are to be reported to and discussed with the Publisher.

 

Payment for Content and Information

Oyster does not pay a third party for their story, or as an inducement to be featured in Oyster’s editorial content. 

Where budget allows, Oyster will pay an approved contributor a pre-approved amount for their creation of content to be published on Oyster’s platfroms (commissioned work).

 

Good Faith and Appropriate Behaviours 

In all interactions connected with your association with Oyster, it is expected that you act lawfully, in good faith, and represent Oyster’s best interests. 

You must not act in any way that could bring the reputation of Oyster and its employees into disrepute. 

This extends to behaviours and interactions with Oyster-related contacts and content on personal social media accounts.

 

Use of profanity and slang words

In line with Oyster’s editorial policy, the content on Oyster is purposefully conversational in tone. As such, it may be appropriate to use (but not overuse) some mild profanity, slang and internet language (including abbreviations and emojis) throughout Oyster’s content. Such language must still be accurate and used authentically in the context and circumstances, and otherwise adhere to all other Editorial Guidelines.

 

Content Production and Contributor Guidelines 

In addition to Oyster’s general Editorial Guidelines, there are specific requirements for particular types of contributors — writers, photographers, stylists, models, and other types of creative contributors — that apply when you are engaged to create content for publication on Oyster.

Your commissioning editor will share these specific guidelines with you before you commence work with Oyster.