Editorial Statute

The editorial statute, combined with our financial transparency,  guarantees us the greatest possible independence.

I. Team dynamics

  1. We are not lone wolves and are not in competition with each other.

  2. We share our knowledge with each other.

  3. At the beginning of each investigation, we collectively consider and discuss through which format(s) to best tell the story. We involve each other in our work.

  4. We constantly strive to become better.

  5. We express necessary criticism openly, directly and early on. We are collegial and do not hold grudges.

  6. We take advantage of training opportunities and pass on our knowledge.

II. Identification of topics

  1. We focus on topics that are of particular relevance to the everyday lives
    of our readers.
  2. With our investigations, we aim at revealing problematic structures
    instead of publishing disconnected scoops. Our research is not
    event-oriented but structure-oriented.
  3. We want to surprise with our topics and our publications.

III. Sources, Whistleblowers & Research process

  1. We identify ourselves to our interviewees as journalists from
    CORRECTIV and only conduct undercover research in justified
    exceptional cases.
  2. When we make promises to our whistleblowers, they can rely on us to
    keep those promises.
  3. We do not disclose the identity of our confidential sources, even within
    the CORRECTIV editorial team, unless the sources have given their
    explicit consent.
  4. If this consent is not given, an open and critical debate about the
    reliability and trustworthiness of the source as well as about possible
    dangers of instrumentalization by the source must still be made possible
    without revealing the identity of the source.
  5. We protect our sources to the best of our ability.
  6. We do not accept any benefits or other material advantages in our
    capacity as CORRECTIV journalists.
  7. CORRECTIV journalists do not engage in PR.
  8. We form working hypotheses, but our investigations are open-ended.
  9. We involve lawyers we trust at an early stage in the research process.
  10. Uninvolved third parties do not receive any information about our
  11. We discuss matters openly among ourselves.
  12. We strive for the greatest possible transparency in our work process
    and regularly publish research protocols.

IV. Publications

  1. We understand our role as journalistic enlighteners, we go where it hurts and we are wary of power.
  2. We publish according to the principle: “Be first. But first be sure.”
  3. We make the respective basis of a factual claim as transparent as possible to our readers. We also publish, to the extent possible, the documents and data on which our pieces are based.
  4. We only publish information that is based on at least one of the following:
    1. A written document in our possession that comes from a credible source
    2. A data set we have analyzed ourselves that comes from a credible source
    3. The information of a credible person who is demonstrably competent in the respective subject area
  5. The following conditions must be met for us not to disclose the identity of a person source to our readers and users in exceptional cases:
    1. The person explicitly insists on protecting his or her identity. And this wish is understandable for outsiders.
    2. We have tried intensively – but unsuccessfully – to find an alternative source for the same information that can be quoted by name.
    3. There is a second anonymous person who independently confirms the information of the first source to be quoted anonymously.
    4. We may disclose the environment or employer of at least one of the two anonymous sources.
    5. In cases sensitive to press law, we obtain an affidavit from the anonymously quoted source prior to publication.
  6. For each of our publications, at minimum the four-eyes principle applies: Every author has the obligation to have his or her piece critically checked by a CORRECTIV colleague in terms of content and style.
  7. We do not conceal from our readers any information that contradicts our evaluations and conclusions.
  8. If our pieces or parts of them should be erroneous despite all care and caution, we publicly and self-critically acknowledge this, apologize and correct the errors.
  9. We are committed to the standards of the Code of the German Press Council.

V. Funders & Donors

On the acceptance of donations and grants

Our capital is our independence and our credibility.

We are perceived as credible if the same standards by which we judge others
journalistically and critically also apply to ourselves. We are aware that the
public’s ethical and moral standards for a non-profit project like ours are much
higher than for commercial media.

Therefore: We publish all incoming grants and donations. Publication takes
place promptly in each case.

On this basis, the following rules apply:

  1. All donations and grants above 1,000 Euros are published as a matter
    of principle. We do not accept donations and grants from institutional
    donors who do not agree to publication. All donations and contributions
    from private individuals are regularly submitted to the Supervisory
    Board for approval, together with the name and amount of the donation
    in the form of a list of donations. All amounts received are published in
    total. With the consent of the individual donor, the name may be
  2. Anonymous donations and contributions in excess of 1,000 Euros are
    generally not accepted. Amounts up to 1,000 Euros will be published as
    a total.
  3. We reserve the right to refuse donations and grants from donors whose
    ethical principles we do not share.
  4. Without exception, donors have no influence on editorial content,
    investigations or any other decisions made by the CORRECTIV editorial
    team and its authors.
  5. We disclose potential conflicts of interest between donors and the work
    of CORRECTIV staff or the CORRECTIV editorial team. If we identify
    conflicts of interest, individual employees can be excluded from
    research on a specific project, or entire investigations can be
    discontinued by the CORRECTIV editorial team. If this occurs, we
    disclose it.

VI. Cooperation with Media Partners

  1. We are generally interested in publishing our research in partnership
    with other media.
  2. Exclusive media partners are given access to our primary sources for
    fact-checking. The condition here is that sources who wish to remain
    anonymous also remain anonymous to exclusive media partners; they
    must not be threatened with exposure.
  3. CORRECTIV must be named as a source by the respective media.
  4. Other media that wish to publish our stories as a follow-up must name
    CORRECTIV as the source.
  5. Under no circumstances may our texts be edited by other media in a
    way that distorts their meaning. We format our texts (including long
    pieces) at least once to a 100-line piece.
  6. CORRECTIV is liable under press law only for publications of its own
    authors on its own website or in its own print products (magazine or
    books). Other media that take up stories originally published by
    CORRECTIV assume full liability under press law for their publication,
    as is the case when working with freelance authors.

VII. Mission

  1. We do not see our work as competition to established media, but as complementary.
  2. We do not engage in media bashing.
  3. We are independent, non-profit and investigative, covering the entire German-speaking area. We are committed to serving society and public interest, not individual interests.
  4. We have an educational mission: We want to acquire and pass on knowledge.
  5. We are convinced that investigative journalism is system-relevant in a democracy and therefore…
    1. … has an educational mission,
    2. … serves to educate all members of society in the public interest,
    3. … must therefore be perceived and understood as a cultural asset that is just as eligible for support as educational institutions, museums or theaters.

VIII. Community

  1. CORRECTIV’s reporting only comes to life through interaction with our
    readers. Interested parties can participate with comments on
    CORRECTIV, Facebook and Twitter, by e-mail and by post. We are very
    grateful for audience participation.
  2. Only through interaction with our audience can we create spaces in
    which many people enjoy exchanging ideas. To make a discussion
    interesting and fun, our principle for comments is always: quality over
  3. In our netiquette, we list guidelines and give tips to follow when
    commenting on our platforms: CORRECTIV Netiquette (in German

IX. Ethics and Supervisory Board

The role of the Ethics Board

  1. The Ethics Board advises the management of CORRECTIV with regard to the ethical compatibility of CORRECTIV’s editorial activities with good journalistic work.
  2. The members of the Ethics Board are not bound by instructions. They represent their personal convictions and are subject only to their conscience.
  3. If the concern of a conflict of interest of a member of the Ethics Board arises in relation to a specific issue, the member concerned shall report this to the Chairperson or the two Vice-Chairpersons and hold a discussion with him/her on the matter. If there is no agreement on the existence of a conflict of interest, the Ethics Board shall decide in the absence of the person concerned on his/her participation in the relevant discussion and resolution.
  4. The Ethics Board shall be informed by the management at regular intervals, but at least once per calendar quarter, about the main developments and programs in terms of content, as well as about any significant incidents related to content.
  5. The Ethics Board shall meet at least once a year. It may, by resolution, request information and reports from the management at any time on all matters relating to the content of the work of the company, insofar as this does not concern the protection of whistleblowers.
  6. The Ethics Board shall consist of at least one chairperson and two deputies. All statements of the Ethics Board shall be made on behalf of the Ethics Board by its Chairperson or, if the Chairperson is unable to do so, by one of his or her deputies.
  7. The Ethics Board shall be appointed for the first time by the shareholders. In the event of the departure of a member, the shareholders shall appoint a new member in consultation with the remaining members of the Ethics Board.
  8. Members of the Ethics Board are appointed for three years. Multiple appointments are permitted.
  9. Resolutions of the Ethics Board shall be adopted at meetings. Outside of meetings, resolutions may also be adopted in text form and/or through conference calls. Meetings of the Ethics Board shall be convened and chaired by the chairperson or, if he/she is unable to do so, by one of his/hee deputies, in writing or in text form, with a 14-day notice period. The management shall participate in the meetings of the Ethics Board without the right to vote, unless and insofar as the Ethics Board decides otherwise. The Ethics Board shall constitute a quorum if at least half of its members, including the chairperson and one of his/her deputies or, in the absence of the chairperson, his/her two deputies, are present at the meeting. At least half of the members of the Ethics Board must participate in a vote, including the Chairperson and one of his/her deputies or, in the absence of the Chairperson, his/her two deputies. Voting shall be by simple majority. Each member of the Ethics Board shall have one vote; in the event of a tie, the Chairperson shall have the casting vote.
  10. The Ethics Board shall meet in private. Its deliberations shall be confidential. If necessary, only the results of the deliberations shall be reported, not the individual positions of the Ethics Board members.
  11. The decisions of the Ethics Board shall be recorded in minutes. The minutes shall be forwarded within four weeks to the members of the Ethics Board, the members of the Supervisory Board, the management and the shareholders.

The role of the Supervisory Board

  1. The Supervisory Board supervises the economic management of CORRECTIV. It may inspect the company’s books and writings at any time. It may also commission third-party experts with this task.
  2. The Supervisory Board has three members: a Chairperson and two deputies.
  3. The Supervisory Board meets at least twice a year and is informed on a quarterly basis.
  4. The Supervisory Board is appointed by the shareholders. If a member of the Supervisory Board retires, the shareholders appoint a new member in consultation with the remaining members of the Supervisory Board.
  5. Members of the Supervisory Board are appointed for three years.
  6. Resolutions of the Supervisory Board shall be recorded in the minutes.