Photo by Paul Smith – Coho Torpedo

AGLOW Principles and Standards

As an Outdoor Communicator’s Association, we are committed to a set principles and standards that promote and maintain high levels of ethics and standards in our industry. In essence, we hold ourselves and our member to the highest level of journalistic and communications integrity.  Members are expected to conduct their professional business and personal relationships with integrity and with a sense of propriety that benefits themselves, their association and their profession.

AGLOW Code of Ethics

A committee of at least three shall be appointed by the president and approved by the board to handle all ethical questions. The committee shall investigate charges of ethical violation and report its findings to the board of directors which may grant a hearing before making a final decision. Minor infractions may be handled by the executive director immediately and forcefully. All other cases shall be referred to the Ethics Committee. The code is mandatory and applies to all members. It states the minimum level of conduct below which no association member may fall without being subject to disciplinary action. Such discipline and/or penalties, based on the character of the offense and official review of circumstances, will be determined by the board of directors. Penalties include suspension and/or expulsion, as well as lesser penalties Code acceptance is a condition of membership.

CANON I - Members shall maintain integrity with a AGLOW and their fellow communicators

  1. The association insignia shall not be used to imply or indicate directly the association’s endorsement of any action, product, idea or event sponsored by or in which any member has a financial interest without written consent of the association. ‘Ibis does not restrict a member from displaying the insignia to exhibit his affiliation with the organization.
  2. On stationery or bylines the insignia must be accompanied by the designation of “Active Member”, “Associate Member” or “Supporting Member.” The insignia shall not be used in any way which creates any implication that the communication is an official association communication.
  3. No member may use association stationery except for official association business.
  4. No member shall lie in presenting his application qualifications for membership or membership renewal, or in connection with any review of an alleged violation of the ethical code.
  5. No member shall provide the association membership list or directory to any nonmember. Any request for such material must be referred to the executive director.
  6. Photos or editorial materials of others shall be given due credit. No member shall engage in plagiarism.

CANON II - Members shall deal fairly and ethically with all phases of the outdoor industry

  1. Lease, loan, gift or discount-sale of equipment and services are commonly accepted practices between manufacturers or other providers and outdoor communicators. In soliciting or accepting equipment or service on any basis, a member first shall establish and agree with the provider on the conditions of acceptance to avoid misunderstandings.
  2. Except for consignment agreements or temporary loan, members shall not solicit samples from any company without enclosing a billing request. If such a request is omitted, the company representative may file an ethics violation against the member. Except for any not-for-profit or charitable outdoor promotion such as fishing or hunting clinics. Members are prohibited from soliciting or accepting equipment and services for purposes not associated with their journalistic pursuits.
  3. In reference to auctions and raffles, the association shall not solicit products from supporting members without billing request. Requests for door prizes shall be banned.
  4. Members shall not make any agreements or arrangements which promise or trade favorable editorial in return f, equipment, endorsement, services or monetary enumeration, and shall refuse any such items that are conditional up a promise to produce such editorial.
  5. Any member who accepts or solicits monetary enumeration for editorial or endorsement in a column or magazine shall be deemed a paid advertising agent or publicity agent and it shall be so designed in the column or magazine article. Any member who engages in such activity shall publicize it by letter, or advertisement in two (2) consecutive issues of the association newsletter. 3-2
  6. Members shall return consigned goods at the end of the agreed period of consignment unless there is an understanding for different arrangements with the provider of the goods. Members shall provide an honest, accurate and complete report to the supplier and provide him any published reports pertaining to the product.
  7. Discounts commonly extended to association members as a courtesy do not involve ethical concern except that the member shall recognize this privilege as being for his benefit only. No member shall solicit or obtain discount purchases for others, except with the approval of the supplier. Courtesy discounts are common but not universal. When contacting a supplier about a purchase, a member may make inquiry about discounts. Prompt payment of invoices is, of course, mandatory.
  8. It is recognized that adverse, uncontrollable conditions may disrupt or cancel planned projects involving consigned equipment. It is the member’s obligation to advise the consignor when this is the case.
  9. It is always the decision of the company or supplier representative whether he or she wishes to give the sample free of charge, on loan, at discount price or full price. Thus, the supporting members are asked to discipline themselves to prevent any abuse of this privilege by members.
  10. It is the responsibility of the company or supplier representatives to know which writers or communicators Will be productive for them. They also should be aware that a variety of writers and communicators attend any sponsored social function and a majority of these may not be productive writers or communicators; therefore, companies should not have their expectations overly high.
  11. It also is unrealistic of any company or supplier representative to expect a gift to result in ink or other communication. They should keep in mind that anything written or produced in their field (fishing, hunting, camping) benefits their company even if specific products are not mentioned.
  12. Supporting members and all company representatives should be aware that it takes two to make a conversation. They should be willing at all times to begin such a conversation with a writer or other communicator. To that end, however, the supporting member must know what is of interest to communicators and how to present it.
  13. Members shall treat fairly all companies and suppliers, resorts or hosts of any kind. A member may accept accommodations, travel, meals or other related services if there is a reasonable expectation of a salable story or other communication resulting from such services. He may want to make that a condition of accepting the courtesies. If no story or other communication can be given as a fair return, then the member shall offer to pay. Not giving fair return gives the association and the writer a bad image.

CANON III - In dealing with the public we shall strive ever for accuracy and truth

  1. Truth sometimes is illusive; however, all members shall seek honesty and fairness. Thus a member shall strive for reportorial accuracy, fairness in controversy and objectivity in the best interest of the public.
  2. Where definitive truth is not known, but facts or opinions are important to development of a story, the presentation should indicate clearly which elements are opinion and unsubstantiated fact and, If opinion, whose.

CANON IV - In dealing with editors and publishers we shall provide original materials or qualified articles

  1. A member shall sell no rights that he does not own. There is no requirement that a photo or story be sold only once; however, a member shall be cognizant of the rights he has sold and not sell the same rights again. The rights to be transferred shall be defined and stated clearly before the transfer of the rights and not left to be a matter of later dispute. If a member sells reprint rights, or rewrites a previously published story, he shall apprise the new purchaser of the prior usage if a conflict could result.
  2. If photos or editorial matter have been furnished by others, the member shall so advise the publisher and request that proper credits be given.
  3. Members shall respect the publication priority of a purchasing publication and avoid submitting the same or a closely equivalent article or photo to any other publication in the same or an overlapping field prior to publication by the first publisher without its permission. If the purchasing publication holds the material unpublished for an excessive period of time, and the member wishes to reuse the material, he should negotiate for the return of the rights to the materials.

CANON VI - In relationship with other members, the golden rule shall be the norm

  1. In dealing with other communicators, a member shall provide accurate and honest information, keeping the public welfare above all other consideration, even friendship.

CANON VII - Enforcement of the code

    1. Disciplinary action for other than minor violations may be taken only by the board of directors following a report by the Ethics Committee and its request for action.
    2. Any member who shall be determined to be guilty of any offense which affects the interest or good government of the association, or who is in violation of the Code of Ethics or any other rules of the organization or who shall be found to have committed an offense which is in violation of the laws of the land, can be suspended or expelled by majority vote of the total membership of the board of directors. Violation procedures shall be handled in the following manner:
    3. Anyone reporting a violation shall write and sign a complaint in which he shall state the specific violation in sufficient detail to identify clearly the violation. Evidence, or a copy thereof, shall be supplied with the charge.
    4. The complaint shall be given to the chairman of the Ethics Committee who shall conduct a preliminary investigation and present his findings to members of his committee. If the Ethics Committee then determines that a violation has occurred, the case may be certified by the chairman of the Ethics Committee to the board of directors for hearing before the full board. The name of the accused shall not be released outside the committee or the board without the consent of a majority of the board. He shall be presented a written notice of the hearing and the charges at least thirty (30) days in advance.
    5. At the hearing, the Ethics Committee chairman first shall present the charges and the details of his investigation to the board. Thereafter, the accused shall have the right to present his evidence. If the accused wishes an attorney at the hearing, he shall be so entitled. However, legal counsel for the association shall be present at all hearings. Counsel shall be entitled to participate at the hearing and represent in accordance with accepted legal procedure the charged person or the Ethics Committee. However, the hearing shall be limited to the accused, attorneys for each side, board members, the chairman of the Ethics Committee and any witnesses called.
    6. After all the evidence has been presented, the board of directors shall make a final determination by majority vote of those present and voting as to the guilt or innocence of the accused. A majority vote of the total membership of the board shall be required to assess punitive action. Such vote may be taken by mail from any board member who was not present after he has reviewed a record or the hearing. Such punitive action shall include the right of the board to terminate the membership of the member of may include any lesser punishment. If the majority of the board determines there has been no violation, the charges shall be dismissed. The name of the accused and the hearing shall be kept confidential unless the accused member desires that the hearing be an open affair.
    7. Upon conclusion of the hearing, the board, by majority vote of those present and voting, may decide to release only the action, minus the name, taken unless the member requests a more detailed statement or releases information about the hearing himself.


Join the AGLOW Team and Become a Member Today!
Find out why you should join The Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers family.