Code of Conduct of Local Independent Online News Publishers

LION Publishers is committed to maintaining a safe, respectful, productive, inclusive, welcoming and harassment-free experience for everyone. Our experience has

September 12, 2016 by Dylan Smith

LION Publishers is committed to maintaining a safe, respectful, productive, inclusive, welcoming and harassment-free experience for everyone.

We ask you to be mindful of how you interact with others. All attendees, speakers, sponsors and volunteers at LION Publishers events, as well as participants in other public or private member activities, are required to abide by our Code of Conduct.

Our experience has shown that this commitment to courtesy and consideration is proudly shared by the entire community of Local Independent Online News Publishers. We’re laying out this Code of Conduct not because we expect bad behavior within our group but because we believe expressing a clear policy is an important recognition of our existing respectful community space. Just as journalism codes of ethics confirm our profession’s common acknowledgment of important values, so too does this shared code of behavior.

Need help? Contact any member of the LION Publishers staff or Board of Directors in person at our event, or by email at [email protected]. At in-person events, we will make available phone contacts, as well.

The details

LION Publishers is committed to providing a safe, respectful, productive, inclusive, welcoming and harassment-free environment for all participants in our conferences, virtual or in-person meetings and other activities, regardless of gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability, physical appearance, body size, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, immigration status, age, or religion (or lack thereof).

Diversity in our membership and in the organizations run by our members is one of LION’s major strengths, but it can also lead to communication issues. These guidelines are not an exhaustive list of things that you can’t do. Rather, take this code in the spirit in which it’s intended – an outline of ways to make it easier to enrich us all and the LION Publishers community which we have built together.

Disagreements happen all the time, and LION Publishers is no exception. In fact, a healthy exchange of competing ideas is an important part of our community. It is important that we resolve disagreements and discuss differing views constructively. Remember that we’re different; striving to learn from our varied perspectives is important. Should a negative interaction take place, focus on helping to resolve the issues and try to learn from any mistakes.

This Code of Conduct outlines our expectations for all those who participate in LION Publishers events and activities, as well as the consequences of unacceptable behavior.

We invite all those who participate in LION-hosted activities to help us create productive and positive experiences for everyone.

Expected behavior


Be welcoming, friendly, patient, kind, courteous and respectful. Not all of us will agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for poor behavior and manners. It’s important to remember that a community where people feel uncomfortable is not a productive one.

Participate in an authentic and active way. In doing so, you contribute to the health and longevity of our community.

Be considerate in your speech and actions, and seek to acknowledge the contributions and knowingly respect the boundaries of fellow LION members and our guests. Be careful in the words that you choose. We are a community of professionals, and we conduct ourselves accordingly.

Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory or harassing behavior and speech. Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down other participants, but rather treat each other with dignity.

Be mindful of your surroundings and your fellow participants. Care for one another. Alert LION Publishers staff or a member of the Board of Directors if you are aware of a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of this Code of Conduct, even if they seem minor.

Remember that community event venues may be shared with members of the public; please be respectful to all patrons of these locations.

Maintain the off-the-record nature of any LION Publishers forum that is so designated, so we can continue to share information and experiences in an environment of unquestioned mutual trust.

Treat each other with good faith, rather than seeking offense. Many LION activities resemble a newsroom environment, virtual or otherwise, and are rooted in the frank language often expressed by reporters and editors. In discussing editorial decisions and reporting techniques, topics of conversation may be disturbing (crimes, violence, harassment, injuries and deaths, disease, etc.). Conduct such conversations with due regard for both your colleagues and those we report on.

Unacceptable behavior

Do not participate in or carry out, online or in person:

Violence, threats of violence or violent language directed against another person or group.

Demeaning, discriminatory or harassing behavior and speech, including inappropriate humor. Harassment includes, but is not limited to: offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion, or technology choices; public display of sexual or discriminatory images; deliberate intimidation; stalking; Taking an unwanted photograph or recording; inappropriate physical contact; and unwelcome sexual attention.

Personal insults, particularly those related to appearance, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion or disability

Sustained disruption of community activities, including online discussions, webinars, conference sessions, workshops and other events.

Disclosing information from a designated off-the-record forum hosted by LION Publishers, whether identified with a specific person or not.

Repeated unwelcome behavior toward others. In general, if someone asks you to stop, then stop.

Consequences of unacceptable behavior

Unacceptable behavior from any member of the LION Publishers community, including guests, sponsors and those with decision-making authority, will not be tolerated.

If any participant in a LION-hosted activity or forum engages in unacceptable behavior, the organization’s leadership may take any lawful action we deem appropriate, at our discretion, including but not limited to warning the offender or asking the offender to leave the event or activity without a refund, or removing them from membership in the organization.

Anyone asked to halt unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately.

If you feel that someone has harassed you or otherwise treated you inappropriately, please alert any member of the LION Publishers team in person, or via email at [email protected].

If you feel you have been unfairly accused of violating this Code of Conduct, you should contact the LION Publishers team with a concise description of your concerns; any grievances filed will be reviewed by the leadership team.

At conferences and other in-person events, LION staff and members of the Board of Directors will be happy to help participants contact security staff or local law enforcement, provide an escort between safe places, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment or unwelcome behavior in feeling safe for the duration of the event. We value your participation.

We welcome your feedback on this and every other aspect of LION Publishers, and we thank you for working with us to make participation in our events and community a respectful, safe, enjoyable and friendly experience for everyone.


This code owes much to the open-source codes of conduct created by other membership organizations and conferences, including:

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