Southwest Contemporary publishes curated and critical perspectives on contemporary arts and culture throughout the American Southwest, supports Southwest-based artists and arts organizations through our print and digital platforms, and produces events and programming to facilitate dialogue and support the creative economy on which the arts depend.
We are guided by the conviction that speaking truth is the greatest way to honor Art (and the creators and purveyors of the arts), and the greatest way to help our audience engage with art and better understand it. Through this work, we believe that we can contribute to a culturally vibrant, inquisitive, and empathetic community in our region.
However, to carry out this mission, we understand that our readers must trust us, our contributors, and our content. The following policies are intended to outline the expectations all employees and contributors to Southwest Contemporary must follow in order to strive for integrity, operate with independence, and be held accountable when we stray.
Corrections and Updates
Southwest Contemporary is committed to being accurate and will respond in a timely fashion to any claim that its publication presents an inaccurate fact or invades a right of privacy. If a reader or subject of a story believes that some statement is inaccurate or otherwise actionable, that person can request a correction by sending a written request to the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org. Within a reasonable time, our editorial team will carefully review any potential inaccuracy and decide whether an article needs to be corrected or modified in some other way. The news organization’s management has developed relationships with experienced media counsel, who are available for consultation on an immediate and as-needed basis.
In the event of a minor factual error, the story will be amended, and the change will be noted at the bottom. Significant corrections will be noted in the headline or at the top of the story. If new details or clarifications are added to a story after its publication, our practice is to include a note describing the update at the end of the piece.
Southwest Contemporary is also committed to protecting its intellectual property and respects that interest when it receives a demand to remove content based on the intellectual property rights of others. When necessary, these requests are referred to experienced media counsel for evaluation and consultation. When necessary, removal of content or other remedies may be suggested. In any event, the requester will receive a response in a timely fashion.
Southwest Contemporary believes that reporters and editors should have the freedom to hold the powerful accountable. When an article involves sensitive subjects, Southwest Contemporary has a current client relationship with Lawyers for Reporters, a pro bono project that provides pre-publication review or refers the matter out to a law firm with significant media law experience. Any article that the editors consider sensitive will be referred to that organization for review.
Conflicts of Interest
Our employees and contributors are enthusiastic members of the arts communities they cover, often with longstanding ties. It is not practical—nor desired—for SWC contributors to be coldly detached from the issues they cover.
However, there should never be a reason to suspect that we are using our journalism to benefit people close to us. Our contributors will therefore avoid conflicts of interest and situations that raise doubts about their integrity as much as possible. Contributors must tell an editor of potential conflicts of interest so that the editor can decide if it is appropriate for the contributor to cover certain issues. When conflicts are unavoidable, our contributors must disclose them to their colleagues and to our readers—including in the text of stories when appropriate.
Our contributors must refrain as much as possible from reporting on family members and close friends or organizations in which they, their family, or friends have a financial interest. Journalists are also not allowed to report on organizations where they volunteer or advocacy organizations to which they belong.
Our journalists, in general, may request select, industry-specific press privileges in the course of doing their assigned work, including complimentary admission to museums or performances and review copies of books. They may not accept gifts, free lunches, tickets, travel, artworks, or other freebies that are provided in exchange for or to encourage coverage.
If our journalists do receive media credentials that provide special access to events, they should only use them to do their job. They may have fun while working, but it is not acceptable for a journalist to use media credentials off the clock as cheaper access to entertainment.
When in doubt, we talk it out among the staff and make every effort to be as transparent as possible.
Paying for Information
We do not pay sources for information or for interviews, and we do not pay subjects to shoot photos or videos of them.
We might buy a source a cup of coffee or lunch as part of an interview. And we pay fees for public records when required. But such small considerations should never be manipulated or held out as leverage in exchange for information.
Opinion and Reviews
Critical reviews and cultural criticism are central to SWC’s mission, and we label opinion/review pieces as such, using the clearest words possible (usually “Review”) to note that they are separate from news coverage.
Just because a piece expresses an opinion, though, does not mean that the writer is freed from the obligations of reporting. Opinion pieces must be based on verifiable facts. They also must show respect for others. In seeking out opinion writers, we look for diverse voices, including people who are not journalists or arts professionals. Opinion pieces, including reviews, reflect the views of their authors only.
Sponsored Content and Advertising
SWC accepts paid sponsored content and advertising and makes every effort to ensure that paid content is distinct from our news and review content. This means setting it apart from other content in page design or prominently and clearly labeling it as advertising or sponsored content. Readers should never be confused about what is editorial content and what is advertising.
All sponsored content and advertising must also be in keeping with SWC’s mission. If it contains lies, factual inaccuracies, offensive or degrading messaging, or otherwise undermines SWC’s integrity, it may be removed.