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Only One U.S. Newsroom Gets International Journalism Certification; RSF Standards Invite Discussion of Journalistic Mission

Besides Dakota Free Press, what news sources can you really, really trust? How do you know you can trust any specific media outlet?

Reports Without Borders (RSF—Reporters Sans Frontières) sponsors the Journalism Trust Initiative through which newsrooms may complete a self-evaluation on 18 criteria for transparency, independence, and professionalism; publish those self-evaluations; and submit those self-evaluations for independent certification. 100 media outlets from 33 countries have completed and published the RSF-JTI self-evaluation; 17 have obtained certification.

Two North American news organizations have obtained JTI certification: CBC News/Radio Canada and Colorado Public Radio. CPR just announced its JTI certification this week:

Colorado Public Radio (CPR) is proud to announce it is the first U.S. media outlet to be awarded a Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) certification, an international benchmark initiated by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) to fight disinformation by rewarding editorial and professional excellence. CPR was independently audited by the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), which confirmed CPR’s certification according to the criteria of JTI’s international standard.

…“Our credibility is paramount in our news coverage. We take great care as we report and produce news stories. Going through this process is an endorsement of our standards, but also helps us ensure our values are understood inside and outside of the newsroom,” said CPR News Executive Editor Kevin Dale.

…The JTI benchmark is an official ISO standard measuring news publishers’ ability to deliver editorial content that adheres to specific conditions of transparency, independence and professionalism. ISO standards are used worldwide by external, independent certifiers to complete conformity audits. Prior to offering JTI-specific audit services, AAM went through its own audit to earn accreditation for the JTI conformity assessment, an official recognition of the certifier’s legitimacy [Colorado Public Radio, press release, 2023.08.23].

The JTI process includes this Declaration on Ethical and Professional Journalism, which media outlets seeking JTI certification must pledge to uphold:

We define Journalism as the gathering, production and dissemination of information in a framework of ethical values. Its purpose is to provide citizens with information that empowers them to fully participate in society.

Acts of journalism may be performed by individuals or collectively organised through news media.

We commit ourselves to four primary indicators of ethical quality in journalistic work: ethical practice in editorial activity; good governance in the ownership and management of news media; respect for principles of self-regulation and active engagement with the public.


We practice journalism according to the following key principles:

  • Accuracy and fact-based communication;
  • Independence from political, corporate or other centres of power;
  • Due impartiality in a systematic approach to reporting and editing;
  • Fairness, respect and consideration of the impact of journalism on the lives of others;
  • Transparency to facilitate accountability and responsibility to the public.

We implement these principles through a code of conduct or mission statement, enhanced through Editorial Guidelines, which provide practical guidance on ethical challenges that might arise.


We strive to reflect high levels of good governance that protect editorial independence by showing transparency of ownership and management, whether public or private.

We demonstrate commitment to recognised and essential principles of internal transparency and accountability to the public.

We agree that good governance, which includes respect for recognised norms of human rights, equality, and contractual obligations, may be identified and monitored through periodic reflection and auditing of internal systems and rules designed to strengthen ethics and management of Media Outlets.


We work to develop systems to strengthen awareness of core values of editorial practice through codes of conduct and editorial ethical guidelines. We also work to provide mechanisms for internal self-regulation, including dealing with complaints and comments from the public through the appointment of readers’ editors or ombudspersons or a designated editorial manager. We further demonstrate respect for self-regulation through attachment to industry-wide or national bodies, for example press councils or press associations, established to promote ethical journalism and to deal with complaints from the public.


Building public trust in journalism requires active engagement with the public at large. We provide opportunities for our audience to comment, to respond, and to suggest improvements to the editorial process. We implement accessible and transparent systems to deal with complaints from the public and, where appropriate, to provide remedies [RSF–JTI, Declaration on Ethical and Professional Journalism, 2019.12.19].

Journalism as “the gathering, production and dissemination of information in a framework of ethical values… to provide citizens with information that empowers them to fully participate in society”—hey, Kevin Woster! I think you and I both meet that definition! And that definition is exactly why Governor Kristi Noem is on the warpath against you, Seth Tupper, Beth Warden, and every other real journalist in South Dakota. Journalists seek to inform and empower citizens to participate in society; the rule of authoritarians like Kristi Noem is based on restricting information to the propaganda that empowers only the authoritarians and reduces the ability of citizens to participate in and change their society.

But I won’t pretend to satisfy all of the criteria of ethical practice. Dakota Free Press is pretty good on accuracy, independence, and fairness/respect, but I’m clearly not impartial, and I’m not transparent about who all rings the Blog Tip Jar or who the real names are behind various commenter pseudonyms. I can address governance transparency: I alone own and run Dakota Free Press. I make money through sponsored ads and individual donations via cash, check, and Paypal. I don’t make any money from the information I get about sponsors, donors, or commenters, and I don’t share that information with anyone. None of my finances come from public entities (although once upon a time, the Rutland School District did run ads on my blog to recruit students).

To qualify for JTI certification, I’d have to come up with a mission statement. Remarkably, in 17 years of regular blogging, I don’t think I have written a blog mission statement. Practically speaking, my mission each morning is to roll out of bed and crank out three posts before breakfast on weekdays and at least one on Saturday and Sunday. A little more broadly, my mission is to add value, to highlight stories that need more attention, to offer analysis and commentary that others haven’t offered, and every now and then to come up with new words and entertain. Most simply, my mission is to tell the truth and challenge the powers that be when they need challenging.

There’s a lot more to the JTI certification criteria that I would welcome readers to use to check their favorite new outlets (though I suspect the media that most need checking won’t get checked).


  1. Mike Zitterich 2023-08-26 09:03

    So if I am reading this correclty, you want to “Control” or restrict those Americans who wish to be “Free, Independent, and Freelance” Journalists. You cant control what people say, so you wish to now control everyone now. Everyone is free to speak on subjects from their own personal perspective, and it is up to you, the reader on what and how you percieve what is said. I disagree with the whole premise of the article above.

  2. larry kurtz 2023-08-26 09:21

    Writers write,
    Editors edit,
    Readers read,
    Prayers pray.

  3. Donald Pay 2023-08-26 09:36

    It’s not a matter of control, Mike Z., as it is self-control. Good journalism requires an amount of self-control that most people, certainly, you, don’t have. Everyone has opinions, but, much like scientists, good journalists don’t let their opinions get in the way of the facts and other people’s stories that are reporting. You let the facts and other people speak.

    You say, “Everyone is free to speak on subjects from their own personal perspective….” Yes, they are. That is not journalism. That’s having an opinion, and you know what they say about opinions.

  4. Jake Kammerer 2023-08-26 10:09

    Jealousy much, Mike???

  5. buckobear 2023-08-26 11:11

    As Daniel P. Moynihan once said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

  6. P. Aitch 2023-08-26 12:21

    Jealousy and an “inflamed jock itch” of a persecution complex.

  7. P. Aitch 2023-08-26 12:24

    “Opinions are like A-holes. Everyone has one and yours stinks!”

  8. e platypus onion 2023-08-26 13:01

    I disagree with the whole premise of the article above.

    Who cares what you think. Why defend drumpf? you absolutely hate name callers and drumpf is the king of name callers.

  9. Mike Zitterich 2023-08-26 16:05

    Donald you are wrong. Only in America are Citizens held to create their own journals and chronicles. WE THE PEOPLE write on any subject, topic, agenda necessary to hold Government accountable. The facts do not matter, what matter is the peoples right to free to write on any subject they so choose. The facts are determined by the jury of our peers based on two or more people agreeing with each other. When we share our opinions and those opinions become the collective opinion if the majority, they present as facts as told by the People of S.D.

    You may claim I am NOt a good writer, but that’s not for you to say, just asbi don’t make the claim against you or the author of this website. We ALL have the right to publish our dialogues, narratives, opinions, stories on any source, website, media network, book, newsletter, paper.

    One should not be bound to a college degree, nor a certification. AMERICANS are free to write on any subject they choose, in their style, and in their own opinion.

    You want to discuss facts, then full public records requests from government files to gain statistical facts.

    You people claim your always right, your no more right than me, and I am not no better than you.

    You can’t force anyone to get a degree nor a certification, it’s unconstitutional, cause writing and publishing your journals are a constitutional protected right….the more I write, the better I Getz and the more respect I get from others.

    Stop dividing people..

  10. larry kurtz 2023-08-26 16:22

    Public radio sets a very high bar in reporting wherever it’s located in the US and CPR is one of the first places this interested party goes for news every morning.

    Bill Janklow’s idea of public radio is restricted by its funding from a stingy, stodgy legislature but it used to be very good, too. We are blessed here in New Mexico with multiple public radio outlets many of which report from the pueblos and community reporting is critical to life safety locally.

  11. grudznick 2023-08-26 16:33

    It is good that government has its thug boots on the neck of the “media” and they are starting to step down hard.

  12. jerry 2023-08-26 16:54

    Middle School will open soon for mikey z. What a childish twerp, You just know he got pantsed.

  13. Arlo Blundt 2023-08-26 16:56

    The thought occurs to me.”What would Benjamin Franklin do??”

  14. Donald Pay 2023-08-26 17:00

    Mike Z. said, “The facts do not matter….” Thanks for that clarification of your journalistic philosophy. I had already assumed that just from reading your screeds. And, sure, you have every right to post non-factual material, which you do with some regularity. I do note, though, that you try to weave some facts into your historical writings, so even you don’t really follow the b.s. you spewed above. I think most people want relevant facts, more than opinions. People can draw their own opinions from relevant facts. Only weak or dumb people listen to and believe drunk uncles. Drunk uncles have lots of opinions, and, of course, they have every right to spew them out as they’re taking a never-ending urination, but I and most people are not interested in such fact-free nonsense.

    I’m trying to understand what sort of people would hold to your philosophy? “Drunk uncle” is what I hit on, but perhaps you could call them Trump, guaranteed to be 100% fact-free. So, Trump is your idea of a great journalist, and that means, you must be a good journalist, too, because you spit out similar factless opinions.

  15. e platypus onion 2023-08-26 17:26

    Zit ejaculates….;. WE THE PEOPLE write on any subject, topic, agenda necessary to hold Government accountable.

    And yet magats and Zit have done nothing tgohold drumpf accountable for high crimes and misdemeanors and go out of their way to protect him from punishment and then they all tongue bathe his skanky criminal ass.

    Georgia magats today say they are changing a state law so they can remove Fani Willkis from her attorney job and obstruct justice in drumpf’s behalf all over again.Rhe alle3ged party of law and order is the party of sex perverts and bald face liars. Head of C-Pac loses his job because of sexual allegations against him. Another magat perv.

  16. larry kurtz 2023-08-26 17:53

    John Tsitrian has ceased publishing my comments at the SD Standard so trolls are overrunning that space.

    Oh well.

  17. Arlo Blundt 2023-08-26 17:58

    It’s a good thing Mr. Zittrich never took a Journalism Class…not necessarily in college, high school would do. He would be humbled. As far a various Trump advocates and Trump himself getting into late life trouble over sexual advances toward much younger women…alcohol, hormones, and a bit of wisdom from the Movie “Moonstruck” older woman whose 60ish husband is carrying on an affair with a younger woman is asked by her daughter, why older men are attracted to young women. The wronged wife says “I think it’s because they fear death.”

  18. P. Aitch 2023-08-26 18:04

    This blog and “We the Readers” are good for Mike Zitterich. He needs somebody and we’re it.

  19. Jake Kammerer 2023-08-26 18:13

    Mike Z; It seems to me that people have an “ok” way of dividing themselves, don’tchathink? Those with lemming-like brains will follow their ‘pied-piper’ over a cliff so easily as is the current case of those MAGA’ s who found a ‘home’ in trump’s camp of misfits! You evidently forget a sweating, hair-dye dripping lawyer for the ex-pres stating to the press “There is nothing but ‘alternate truths’ in today’s lingo?!!!
    So, sir, what is “alternate truth’s”????

  20. Jake Kammerer 2023-08-26 18:15

    larry, never been called a troll before. I somewhat f=resent your reference as such.

  21. Jake Kammerer 2023-08-26 18:16

    larry, never been called a troll before. I somewhat resent your reference as such.

  22. larry kurtz 2023-08-26 18:19

    Not you, Mr. Kammerer. Some reptile calling itself A. Johnson is smearing the comment section over there.

  23. Bob Newland 2023-08-26 19:17

    Mikey Z: I have wondered why you bother to post on a forum which successfully refutes your arguments (loose use of the word) 100%. I now suspect that it’s because you can’t even find respect on fora which generally supports your reasonably articulate moronity.

    Here, you completely misinterpret the post, then continue to destroy the strawman you made.

    Love to have a beer with you, dude. I’d buy the first round just for the entertainment. It’d be a bit like listening to Lewis Black, except there’d be no satire in your intent.

  24. DaveFN 2023-08-26 20:08

    larry kurtz

    “John Tsitrian has ceased publishing my comments at the SD Standard so trolls are overrunning that space.”

    Twinkle twinkle little star. What you say is what you are. Good for John.

    A. Johnson has made all of two posts on The South Dakota Standard, both on the same article.

  25. Richard Schriever 2023-08-26 20:32

    Hey MikeyZ – “Only in America are Citizens held to create their own journals and chronicles.” That sir is a lie. And that’s all we need to know about you.

  26. DaveFN 2023-08-26 21:22

    Mike Zitterich

    Whoever you are—for I’ve not read your blog—- please keep posting.

    I admire your drive whether or not I agree with your thoughts (although your idea of fact as an emergent effect of consensus has a great deal to commend it as well as tells us that emergent misperceptions are as good as perceptions and typically taken as such by the common mind).

    The comments of your respondents and detractors are similarly illuminating when it comes to their own constraints of thought, or lack of reflection on same.

  27. DaveFN 2023-08-26 21:40

    As an example, anthropogenic global warming as an inference or even theory (when stronger expressed) of the scientific community has yet to rise to the level of “fact,” which latter is by definition , independent of belief and human knowledge or opinion. Scientific consensus is thoroughly riddled by human knowledge on the issue so does not yet pass as fact until decoupled from human knowledge —by then, of course, it’s too late…

    Be careful using the word “fact”…people not infrequently have no idea what they are talking about.

    (And for anyone who cares, I am very much a proponent of scientific consensus on global warming, being a 35 year member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) which is one of some 200 scientific societies that have issued statements affirming anthropogenic global warming).

  28. DaveFN 2023-08-26 21:57

    Convergence of emerging scientific opinions is not “fact,” which latter is independent of human opinion.

    Hence the objections many have, wrong though they may be, regarding the reality of global warming, and we are as wrong to criticize them on that basis. Global warming is a matter of consensus. It has yet to accede to a matter of fact, correctly defined.

  29. leslie 2023-08-26 22:24

    “Since systematic scientific assessments began in the 1970s, the influence of human activity on the warming of the climate system has evolved from theory to established fact.”1 NASA

  30. All Mammal 2023-08-26 23:27

    Mr. Kurtz- As a mature adult, I have personally suggested the reptile over there to go shave his mom’s back. And might have also mentioned something along the lines of him being an Ian Fury with a diaper fetish. Though your voice is missed over yonder, we do our darnedest to fill the void.

    Reptiles never post twice and move on. Incels need the action. D ddd ddd diaper time

  31. larry kurtz 2023-08-27 07:23

    Good morning, DU. Keep up the good work over there!

  32. grudznick 2023-08-27 09:09

    That sounds very adult of you, Ms. Mammal. I would have liked to have read that.

  33. grudznick 2023-08-27 18:25

    Lar, I’m sending you a charcuterie tray, or rather a mock-up of one my good
    friend Bob and I enjoyed on Friday, in the hopes it assuages your pain.

    Bob does poorly with cheese, by the way.

  34. All Mammal 2023-08-27 20:38

    To have yearned and long’d
    for the gay camaraderie
    and cheese with the bros

  35. grudznick 2023-08-27 20:51

    You do indeed understand my good friend Bob, my close personal friend Lar, and grudznick. And cheese.

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