Stacker Editorial Standards & Values
Stacker is on a mission to produce and distribute engaging data journalism to the world’s news organizations. Since 2017, we’ve combined data analysis, reporting, and research to tell stories made easily available to publishers and readers across the country.
Today, Stacker is read by millions of people each month on Stacker.com as well as across our vast network of publishing partners. Our newswire of local and national features provides a sustainable source of engaging content for thousands of newsrooms across the country, including MSN, Lee Enterprises, and Hearst Newspapers.
In addition to Stacker's original stories, the Stacker newswire consists of two other types of content that help to expand the newswire’s breadth and depth and allow Stacker to continue to provide the newswire to publishers for free. Stacker Studio works with select brands to underwrite the production of journalism that is produced entirely within the Stacker newsroom and under strict editorial guidelines (see below). Stacker Connect distributes stories produced by brands, nonprofit newsrooms, and other publishers that have a demonstrated record of producing accurate, fair, and unbiased content. (Again, for more on the editorial standards publishers must meet for Stacker Connect, please see below.)
By lending our journalistic expertise to third parties, via Stacker Studio and Stacker Connect, we’re able to help brands reach new audiences while providing even more data-driven work to our publishing partners. Readers and publishers trust us to maintain the same high editorial standards that guide Stacker’s original work – rigor, accuracy, fairness – for all Studio and Connect pieces. To do so, we maintain a strict set of editorial guidelines when working with clients.
Stacker’s newsroom consists of journalists with a range of skill sets: Reporters, writers, data analysts, visual journalists, researchers, and more. Nearly every story starts with an in-depth examination of a public or private data set. But that’s only the beginning. Data analysis forms the core of many of Stacker’s story, but it’s only one tool in our newsroom’s toolbelt. We use reporting and research to both ask questions of the data – ensuring it’s accurate and unbiased – and to give our stories humanity and bring them to life. Moreover, we use data visualization and photos to produce stories that are as engaging visually as they are intellectually.
Our Editorial Standards & Values
Accuracy – All Stacker stories must be based on evidence – whether data, reporting, research, and/or first-hand experience – and must interrogate that evidence for underlying biases.
Transparency – Stacker is committed to showing -- and sharing -- our work. Whether a story is based on data analysis, reporting, or research, our distribution partners and readers should always be able to easily understand where the information we’re giving them has come from.
Fairness and completeness – Stacker aims to tell stories that are not only accurate in a narrow sense but present as complete and fair a picture as possible. The goal is not to simply appear “objective” or maintain ideological centrism.
Inclusivity – Stacker’s mission is to create the biggest, most accessible data-driven newswire on the planet. That means doing work that is relevant and accessible to a diverse audience.
Create lasting impact for everyday people. We want to bring rigorous data journalism to the masses, and create work that brings value to our audience in their day-to-day lives. We focus on in-depth stories with a long shelf life and easy-to-digest, newsworthy articles.
Deliver local insights—at scale. We pick stories that resonate across our network of 1,000+ news organizations.
Commit to context. We combine data, photos, visualizations, reporting, and writing to tell stories that explain the world around us.
Build stories collaboratively. Our journalists have a diverse range of skills—data analysis, reporting, research, graphics, design, writing, programming, statistics—and work together to tell informative, original stories.
Develop tech-forward journalism. We leverage technology and operations expertise to allow our journalists to thrive.
Content tagged with Stacker Studio is produced in partnership with third parties.
What does that mean?
Stacker partners with companies that underwrite news stories. All Studio content is created by Stacker’s newsroom and must meet the same editorial standards that apply to every Stacker story. Stacker’s editorial team maintains the final say on every story we publish. Even when research is underwritten by a third party, Stacker content will never advertise or promote products, services, or brands.
We promise full transparency. Every piece produced through Stacker Studio clearly communicates the underwriter and cites the original source data and research methodology in the article. We do not integrate promotional content into our pieces. The original version of each Studio piece is published on the site of the company that funds them, as well as on Stacker.com, accompanied by the “Stacker Studio tag” at the top of the story.
This revenue stream allows us to produce even more unique journalism for news organizations and ensures we can continue offering our newswire to local newsrooms across the country at no cost.
Stories are made available to syndicate through Stacker’s Newswire and our onsite Republish button, with an Editor’s Note at the bottom of the syndicated story identifying the underwriter. Stacker retains full license to all content and retains a perpetual right to distribute and syndicate content to publishers across the country.
With this unique model, Studio clients have the opportunity to fund journalism that reaches local markets throughout the U.S., as well as the nation as a whole.
Stacker Connect Client Guidelines
Via Stacker Connect, Stacker publishes vetted third-party content. Stacker will work with only brands and publishers that meet the above Studio Standards and whose submitted content meets the following editorial standards:
Does not primarily serve to self-promote, generate sales or customer conversion, endorse and monetize goods and services (both their own or third-party), or editorialize.
- Does not primarily serve to self-promote, generate sales or customer conversion, endorse and monetize goods and services (both their own or third-party), or editorialize.
- Shows a clear record of publishing factually accurate content, and presenting a fair and complete-as-possible picture in published works.
- Is being published for journalistic reasons AND/OR to establish general brand authority, not to put a particular spin on news or data.
- Supports all factual claims with reporting, research, or another kind of evidence.
- Clearly presents any opinions as opinions.
- Refrains from using company employees or other people who have an affiliation with the brand as expert sources or authors.
- Had a clear separation, in workflow and presentation, of editorial content from advertising content.
- Abides by basic journalistic best practices: Always attributing information to the source it came from, fact-checking articles before publication, avoiding authorship of stories that present clear conflicts of interest, proactively correcting errors when they occur and documenting those corrections, etc.
- Commits to full transparency for the use of data analysis (i.e. clearly and fully explains all methodologies underlying any analysis) and other presentations of information (i.e. it should be clear where the information came from).
More and more private companies are getting into publishing. Seeking general PR and brand authority, these companies are publishing content in their areas of expertise.
The goal of Stacker Connect is to highlight the best work from the best of these publishers. By doing so, we can expand the Stacker newswire with vetted content, and continue to empower local publishers by providing the Stacker newswire at no cost.