University Station Alliance

Linking public broadcasting stations and their university partners since 2001

WUSF Policy – 10-046 WUSF Editorial Integrity

Adopted 1/7/1993                   Last  Amended  4/21/09

I. INTRODUCTION

Public broadcasting is rooted in the constitutional guarantees of a free press and free speech. The Federal Radio Act of 1927 defines the basic policy that broadcasters must operate in “the public interest, convenience and necessity.” Therefore the University of South Florida System (USF System ), as any other university, holds a broadcast license in trust and its public broadcasting station(s) serve the public, not the organization which holds such license(s).

II. STATEMENT OF POLICY

We are committed to protecting the integrity of programming, views and editorial content. Editorial integrity in this context is defined as the responsible application by professional practitioners of a free and independent decision making process ultimately accountable to the needs and interests of all citizens.

Public broadcast stations are trustees of public services which include a wide range of programming of the highest professionalism and quality which can educate, enlighten and entertain the American public. This is a noncommercial enterprise, reflecting the worthy purpose of the federal and state governments to provide education and cultural enrichment to their citizens. It is the responsibility of the USF System to assure all citizens that station management has the editorial freedom necessary to provide these services effectively and that the mission of providing such high quality programming remains paramount.

Public broadcasting stations are subject to a variety of federal and state statutory and regulatory requirements. They are also protected by the first amendment which guarantees a free press and freedom of speech. All of us who may influence and affect the operation of the stations are and will be committed to respect and follow the legal and constitutional framework within which our stations operate.

The judgment of our audiences about our programming depends upon their confidence that it is free from undue or improper influence. The USF System is committed to maintaining the full confidence of the public in the editorial integrity of our news and programming.

Finally, WUSF Public Broadcasting depends upon funds provided by individual and corporate contributions, and by state and federal taxes. The USF System is responsible for assuring the public and public officials that this money is spent for the purpose(s) it was intended. Through conformance with sound fiscal and management practices, the USF System and WUSF Public Broadcasting continue to meet the requirements of all funding sources, while avoiding inappropriate use of otherwise legitimate oversight procedures to distort the programming process which such funding supports.

Among the practical implications which flow from these principles are the following:

  • Decisions about programming are the responsibility of station management.
  • Selection and treatment of news is the responsibility of the station news staff.
  • Ascertainment of community “interest, convenience and necessity” in relationship to programming is the responsibility of station management.

This policy is a confirmation of the journalistic and programming independence of WUSF Public Broadcasting. It is based upon the historic independence of public broadcasting and as articulated in the 1986 “Statement of Principles of Editorial Integrity in Public Broadcasting” prepared by the Editorial Integrity Project, sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Authorized and signed by:

Michael Hoad, Vice President, University Communications & Marketing Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida President