Statement of Purpose
BDO is the leading health and wellness destination for people of color. We leverage culture, content, and technology to transform people’s lives for the better. Editorially, BDO shares culturally relevant tips and strategies on health, wellness, lifestyle and longevity.
We are committed to providing our audience with trusted, evidence-based health and medical information written and/or reviewed by some of the leading physicians and health experts in their field. Our daily goal is to ensure that BlackDoctor.org is your practical and relevant content source for health and medicine specifically pertaining to African Americans and people of color.
Our highly-skilled editorial team manages all of our content. Each individual piece of content is reviewed to ensure that it’s responsible, accurate, understandable, helpful, trustworthy, comprehensive, and up-to-date.
BDO’s medical content is reviewed by a team of board-certified medical reviewers as well as Morehouse School of Medicine. Our articles are written by health and medical journalists, patient advocates, and healthcare professionals who are committed to BDO’s editorial standards for accuracy, objectivity, and balance.
We are committed to providing information on a wide variety of health topics. However, the original editorial information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the BlackDoctor.org website.
BlackDoctor.org Editorial policies provide a framework for addressing situations in which the accuracy and integrity of reporting and writing could be compromised or called into question. The reporter and editor will work together to answer the following questions and reach a solution when there is a question about specific content. If a solution cannot be reached, the final decision is the responsibility of the editor in chief or next highest manager, who will make a decision after consulting all concerned parties.
The questions a reporter and editor should answer in order to reach a solution include (but may not be limited to):
- What do I know? What do I need to know?
- What is my journalistic purpose?
- What are my ethical concerns?
- What organizational policies and professional guidelines should I consider?
- How can I include other people, with different perspectives and diverse ideas, in the decision-making process?
Each situation and its resolution will be documented. The following details should be saved to a shared drive on the BDO server: 1) a short summary of the issue, 2) the resolution, 3) steps taken to resolve the issue, and 4) what steps should be taken to prevent similar situations in the future. Editorial supervisors should meet twice yearly to review these documents, learn from past experiences, and update BDO Editorial Standards as necessary.
BlackDoctor.org is committed to publishing content that reflects the diversity of our audience. Our goal is to provide medically accurate health and wellness information that is inclusive of all ages, genders, religions, and political affiliations where applicable.
Sourcing and Unnamed Sources Policy
All sources of content must be provided. Our Reporter should clearly indicate the recognized, scientific, or official sources of information in his or her articles. Editorial staff is separate and distinct from staff dedicated to creating advertising content for our advertisers. No person will serve on both staffs, no Editorial employee will be asked to perform duties on behalf of an advertiser.
- If a reporter uses another website, book, article, database, or any other supporting information that is not common knowledge, it must be cited.
- Whenever possible, particularly if a source is central to the article premise and position, a story should cite and link to the source material referenced.
- In some cases, it may be appropriate to attribute breaking news to a credible third-party source until a BlackDoctor.org story is available. The source should be cited appropriately.
If the source is not a well-known media outlet, journal, or individual, the reporter should include a brief description.
- The reporter should include a source’s professional, business, and personal affiliations (e.g., ties to pharmaceutical or other companies), and relationship to other source material mentioned (e.g., study authorship).
- Conflicts of interest must be noted as close to the top of the story as possible.
- A source’s qualification and relevance to the subject (e.g., patient or medical or health professional) must be clearly stated.
- If using social media for sourcing, a reporter should make sure to verify source identity.
- Sources should always be fully identified. In rare instances where a source may be in legal or physical jeopardy, the reporter must discuss the situation with editors and be prepared to identify the source to their editor.
- A reporter should always question the motives of sources coming forward with information that they do not wish to be associated with by name, and communicate those motives to readers.
- When it is deemed appropriate to withhold information about a source, the reporter should use the most complete description of the source possible (e.g., first name and occupation).
- In discussing attribution, a reporter should make every effort to allow identification. Identifying sources lends credibility to stories and engenders audience trust.
- Anything a source says “on the record” can be reported. A source who agrees to be interviewed for a story is presumed to be speaking on the record unless there is an express agreement that the any part or all of the interview is “off the record.”
- “Off the record” information can be used if it is confirmed with another source who speaks on the record.
- A reporter may withhold a source’s name if there is an express agreement that certain certain information given is “not for attribution.” The attribution should give as much information about the source as possible and agreed upon.
- Explain “off the record” and “not for attribution” to sources using the definitions above.
The reporter should make sure the source understands and agrees on the meaning of the above terms. Once a decision regarding “off the record” or “not for attribution” information has been made, it is important to protect that decision.
Verification and Fact-Checking Standards
Our experienced team of writers is dedicated to providing our users with the most accurate and trusted information to empower, educate, and inspire.
All of our content is reviewed by the executive editor to ensure accuracy and consistency of editorial style as well as voice.
Our team of board-certified medical reviewers is practicing specialists in their fields. The purpose of medical review and medical fact-checking is to ensure that all content is medically and pharmacologically accurate and that all factual statements about medical procedures and tests, symptoms, treatments, standards of care, and typical protocols are correct and up to date.
Corrections Policy and Practice
Trust is easily lost and a challenge to regain. In order to uphold the integrity of the publication and preserve readers’ trust, wrongs must be redressed promptly. Immediately relay reports about potential corrections to an editor. Corrections to online articles should be submitted and approved by the editor. Never promise a correction or takedown of an article without approval.
When addressing topics covered in this section, please submit a document to the shared drive as outlined.
- A correction is published when there is a factual error in a story.
- When a correction is made online, the reporter is responsible for contacting the appropriate team member to make necessary changes.
- Corrections should be made directly in the article, and text added at the bottom of the page should clarify what has been corrected.
- When a correction is made, the last updated date on the article should only be changed if the article has been substantially modified or undergone another medical review.
- Corrections should be concise and make clear how and why the mistake has been corrected.
- In general, “unpublish” requests are not granted. If the subject is suspected of inaccuracy, the editor and reporter should investigate and, if necessary, publish a correction. There may be situations in which fairness demands an update or follow-up coverage. Consider whether further editorial action is warranted, but do not remove the article as though it was never published.
Social Media Standards
- In the event an error in fact or emphasis is disseminated via a social media account, the reporter should contact their editor immediately. If deemed appropriate, the editor may take down the offending post and republish a corrected version of the content along with a correction.
- For questions regarding the appropriate use of message boards, chats, and other public forums, reporters and editors should contact the editor.
- Social media accounts owned by and maintained by BlackDoctor.org reporters and editors — Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or elsewhere — reflect upon the company and website’s reputation and credibility.
- Reporters and editors should refrain from writing, tweeting, or posting anything on company or personal accounts that could make a reader question their ability to do their job objectively and professionally.
- Make every effort to present an objective social media presence. Be mindful of the effects of endorsing or liking particular social media profiles or pages, such as politically sensitive Facebook groups. Perceived conflicts of interest — whether or not they’re based on fact — should be avoided.
- Including “RT ≠ endorsements” in a bio is not a license to post inappropriate material. Do not rely on such caveats.
- It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz surrounding a story. Avoid sensationalism.
- Do not misrepresent any story with headlines or quotes taken out of context.
- Do not oversimplify information.
- Promote transparency when using social networks by using your full name and professional title in social bios.
Covering Science: Best Practices
- Confounding factors and study weaknesses should be noted early in any article about medical or scientific research.
- Practice due diligence. Reporters must give sources at least two hours to respond to negative press before publication.
- All items of information about the benefits or performance of any treatment, product, or service are considered claims. All claims have to be backed up with scientific evidence (medical journals, reports, or others).
- All medical content must have a “last updated” date.
Licensed and Third-Party Content
When BlackDoctor.org licenses health and wellness content from third-parties for publication on our site, our editorial team and adjunct staff physician editors review the third-party’s editorial policies and procedures for consistency with the BlackDoctor.org Editorial Policies.
As more fully described in our Advertising Policy, BlackDoctor.org accepts Advertisers, which may include third party banners, badges, contextual advertising, and content created or provided by an Advertiser (collectively referred to as “Advertisements”, “Advertising”, or “From Our Advertiser”). Some advertisements, which may appear as text paragraphs, thumbnail pictures, badges, or other types of text or pictures, are what is known as “native advertisements” and appear adjacent to editorial content. These ads are labeled “Sponsor Content”, “From Our Sponsor”, “By (our Sponsor)”, “Provided by (our Sponsor)” or “From (our Sponsor).” Regardless of the form of an advertisement, the advertiser is responsible for the accuracy and objectivity of their Advertising and it is subject to our Advertising Policy. Advertising is not reviewed by the BDO Editorial Staff.
If you feel you may have a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately.
For feedback and questions related to all site content, including news, please connect with our editors via email at [email protected]. Inquiries will be promptly acknowledged.