VentureBeat is a media company obsessed with covering amazing technology and why it matters in our lives. From the most innovative companies and the incredible people behind them to the money fueling it all, we’re devoted to exhaustive coverage of the technology revolution.
Our primary obligation is to the truth. We seek out the facts, report them fairly, provide context, and write transparently about what our sources are.
We believe that writing with style and attitude is compatible with solid, ethical reporting. When we offer interpretation and perspective, we are careful to make it clear what is our opinion and what is fact. Whenever possible, we give the companies and people covered in our stories a chance to respond and provide their perspective on our coverage. We don’t bow to pressure or soften our coverage to curry favor.
In our pursuit of the news, we strive to remain independent and free of conflicts of interest. When conflicts are unavoidable, we disclose them in our stories.
We draw a sharp line between our editorial operation and our advertising sales. We never allow advertisers to influence our coverage in any way. We clearly label sponsored posts as such, in order to distinguish them from posts that are created independently by the editorial staff.
In addition, we embrace the four main principles of the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethics statement:
- Seek truth and report it. Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
- Minimize harm. Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.
- Act independently. Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.
- Be accountable. Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.
Specific guidelines for editorial staff and freelancers
- Never plagiarize. Use your own words and make quotes clear.
- Check facts and report them fairly.
- Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to our coverage.
- Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
- Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when necessary. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story.
- Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
- Tell your editor about all associations, activities, and investments that might compromise your integrity or damage your credibility. Should an unavoidable conflict of interest arise, the story will be either reassigned to a different writer or the conflict will be disclosed to the public.
- Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
Guidelines for reviews and gifts
- Hardware products sent to us for review are loans. Return them promptly when your review is done. If it is not feasible or practical to return a product, donate it.
- Some products don’t need to be returned at the end of a review: Software, games, low-value products (under $20), or products that can’t be reused for hygienic reasons (like earbuds).
- If you’ve been given or lent a product for review, disclose that fact at the end of the review and in subsequent coverage.
- Exception: It can be OK to keep higher-value items on long-term loans for ongoing review purposes (e.g. game consoles). Make sure you discuss this with your editor first, however. This fact will be disclosed in any related coverage.
- We cannot accept gifts or “swag” with a value over $20. You need to return gifts above that limit or donate them, if it’s not practical to return them.
- We’ll collect items for donation and periodically either give them to a local Goodwill, or sell them at an end-of-year garage sale and donate the money to a local charity.
- Editorial discounts are a type of gift. Avoid taking these unless the value is under $20.
Guidelines for travel and entertainment
- We do not accept paid trips (junkets) from companies, people, or firms that we cover. If an event is worth covering, VentureBeat will pay travel expenses.
- It’s OK for writers or editors to accept reasonable travel expenses from a trade organization or conference, particularly if that is part of a speaking engagement, as long as the sponsoring organization does not represent a specific company and is not itself a subject of our coverage. (Example: The Consumer Electronics Association.) Discuss any such trips with your editor and get approval first. You must disclose who paid for your travel in any related coverage.
- Lunches and dinners: This is an ordinary part of doing business, and many companies we do business with will pick up the tab. It is okay to accept occasional lunches or dinners, as long as they’re not lavish, but be aware that doing this excessively could compromise your integrity as a journalist.
Investments in companies that we cover are incompatible with independent reporting. VentureBeat writers and editors, as well as their spouses, must not hold individual stock in any technology companies; GamesBeat writers and editors, as well as their spouses, must not hold stock in any game companies.
Editorial staff are not prohibited from donating money to causes or projects, such as political campaigns or Kickstarter projects. However, such donations must be disclosed, and writers should avoid writing about the cause, company, or project they support, or their competitors.
Additional editorial guidelines
- Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
- Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money.
- Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over our conduct.
- Encourage the public to voice comments about our coverage.
- Abide by the same high standards to which we hold others.
VentureBeat is an independent company which is largely funded by advertising and sponsorship revenue, and by the events we produce. VentureBeat has raised a small amount (under $1 million in total) from several venture capital funds and angel investors. Our coverage remains independent of these investments, and that independence was a condition of accepting these investments. We have not promised special treatment or coverage to these investors or their portfolio companies. This is the complete list of our investors:
- Mark Sugarman, MHS Capital
- Aydin Senkut, Felicis Ventures
- Elliott Donnelley, White Sand Group
- Georges Harik, former Google employee
- Pankaj Shah, entrepreneur
- Saeed Amidi, Amidzad Ventures
- Mike Brown, currently an executive with Twitter
- Vincent Worms, investor
- Philippe Cases, investor and VentureBeat board member
VentureBeat produces several annual events, including MobileBeat, GamesBeat, the Mobile Summit, and CloudBeat. From 2008 to 2012, we co-produced (with IDG) the twice-annual new product showcase, DEMO.
We cover nearly every company showcased at these events, and the promise of coverage is part of the value of being featured onstage. Apart from that, our coverage remains independent of the event selection process and of any event sponsorships (for instance, we do not promise positive coverage or special treatment).
Updated 11/26/2012 (we’re no longer co-producing DEMO).