Mumbai Live Editorial Guidebook

Values of Mumbai Live as a brand :

  • Trust : Not only do we trust in our employees and everybody who signs this charter but also our readers and their judgement. If the reader has a feedback, take that on board and work towards seeing how Mumbai Live can stand true to the expectation
  • Honest : We are an independent media platform with private equity backing us. There is no reason for us to be anything but absolutely true towards every event that we come to know of in the city
  • Accurate : At all times, it will be best efforts of Mumbai Live to report as accurately as possible on a situation. In the event there is an inevitable mistake, we encourage our team to make a public apology and add the correct information WITHOUT deleting the original content unless specific need of the time.
  • Impartial : As an independent media house, Mumbai Live Editors are completely impartial and hold no interest or position of power or conflict of interest when it comes to reporting their beat. All information shared is impartial and completely objective.
  • Editorial independence : Mumbai Live gives complete editorial independence to the entire team. If any member of the content team has an opinion on any story, they are encouraged to write an editorial. Therefore any editorial is a reflection of the opinion of the writer and is completely independent of the organization thoughts.
  • Sensitive : We understand that every now and again news contains sensitive matters. We urge our teams to use words that take the sensitivity of the matter into consideration. For example, instead of using died, use words like passed away. Any sensitive image/disturbing content will be marked so.
  • Safe for Children : As a safe for children website, Mumbai Live looks down upon any kind of unparliamentary language. Aforementioned, any sensitive/graphical or NSFW content is duly marked. Any kind of profanity or obscene language unless in quotes, is not encouraged.
  • Public Welfare : At all times, Mumbai Live will work towards the public welfare of the city of Mumbai. There are times in cases of for example, national Security where classified information should not be shared and Mumbai Live completely respects that. On the other hand, every information that can be used by the general public, even one person for a better or more informed living will be shared without any bias.
  • Accountable : The entire editorial team of Mumbai Live is accountable at all times for any content that is up on the website, except editorials which are personal reflections of the writer’s choice. The editorial and management can be held accountable for any report published.
  • Transparent : We aim to be completely transparent with our readers especially in matters of our editorials and advertorials. Time to time, we will need to share ads/ advertorials on Mumbai Live, however, these will be clearly defined and transparently disclosed.

A to Z of Mumbai Live:

  • A : Anti-corruption and Bribery: We look down upon any member of Mumbai Live team, whether content or not to take any kind of bribe or unsolicited payment that is not on record for any matter. Any gift/ prize/ handover even from a press event is to be disclosed to the company and value of those above Rs 10,000 need an approval from the HoD.
  • B : Breaking news: Only put a news in breaking news if it concerns everyone in the city and is of high importance. Please remove/ update the breaking news when it stalls and ensure to link the chief story to the breaking news. A breaking news if any must go in all three languages.
  • C : Credits: Due credits to every team member who has worked on a story must be given. In case there is a restriction on the product in terms of names that can be added, please add a line at the end of the post with italics text.
  • D : Defamation: We look down upon any kind of defamation when it comes to stories. However strongly your personal view is on the topic, do not resort to any kind of public defamation of anybody on the platform.
  • E : Election Coverage: Election coverage is fast and real time. However, at these times, the audience has an expectation from the media house to bring real stories to them. Be highly vigilant and do not report anything that is not verified. Mistakes in elections for example numbers are inevitable, accept them and share the correct details.
  • F : Fair Play: Each employee of Mumbai Live team is expected to participate in Fair Play. It means staying honest to your duty and performing to the best of the ability. Mumbai Live condemns any act of unlawful nature in trying to extract any kind of information that could be used for any story/ video.
  • G : Going Live: When going Live, ensure that your audio, video and internet connectivity is in place. Ensure people around you are aware that you are going live and if they are to be on the camera they are prepared and well briefed. Avoid being surprised when live and be in control of the situation.
  • H : Having Ads: Needless to say that revenues of the company pay the bills of the employees. One of the streams of revenue for Mumbai Live are ads. However, at no time will the ads be intrusive or block any content on the website.
  • I : Impartiality: The editorial board of Mumbai Live is fair and impartial. With no allegiance to any political party, religion, section, caste or sex, stories are treated on the merit of their impact and importance to the target reading audience. All editorial decisions are strictly made only on the content and impact of the story with no favouritism to any author, reporter or beat.
  • J : Judgements/ reporting on cases: When reporting on a case that is impending judgement in the court of law, editorial board has to be mindful that in no way or form is the reporting done as if the case has a foregone conclusion. The editor/author can share his views in an editorial piece but a case report should be submitted as is without any allegation or defence of the accused.
  • K : Keeping children in mind: With growing internet penetration, kids today have easy access to internet. At Mumbai Live we are mindful of this and the fact that children have a sensitive memory and are critical members of our society. Content not safe for kids will be marked so. Parents are requested to come forward and flag anything that in anyway can harm or have a negative impact on their children on Mumbai Live and the team will take the necessary actions.
  • L : Lawful: The team at Mumbai Live abides by the law and the entire team consists of law abiding citizens. When it comes to reporting and generating news, the team is well aware of the responsibilities and rights of the press as stated in the constitution. For a more detailed reading on the rights and responsibilities of press as our understanding.
  • M : Mistakes and how to deal with them: Since Mumbai Live is run by humans, and humans make mistakes, we are not infallible. We accept the same. However, any mistake made in reporting on social media or on a report generated, as soon as verified must be rectified and a correction note must be added in a way that is obvious for the reading audience to know. An apology for the same must follow.
  • N : NSFW Content: A lot of Mumbai Live users will browse the content on our website in offices. We understand that some content may not be most suitable for office environment. Therefore, any such content which is excessively loud or had imagery which may make you uncomfortable in public is marked as NSFW. It is due to a strict adherence to this policy that Mumbai Live will never have any content autoplay on your devices.
  • O : Other public appearances: As a team of eminent people in their own spaces, we are aware that our staff is/will be invited for several public events. However, unless representing Mumbai Live, in which case the member must be carrying his press badge and be on official duty, any comment passed or any act will be deemed as that of responsibility of the individual and not the company. Mumbai Live strongly condemns the usage of press badge or rights for matters of personal gain or preferential treatment when not on official duty.
  • P : Photo stories: All photo stories on Mumbai Live should carry pictures only that are suitable and approved for sharing. These pictures should be original and if not, must carry due credits of the original source. A photo story should minimum contain 100 words of text and at least 2 pictures to be counted as content.
  • Q : Quotes: When quoting a person in the story, be mindful of using the correct quote tags. Quotes are to be reported verbatim with (sic) added if they are not grammatically correct or coherent. When translating a quote for a report in another language, please mention that this is a translated quote and report in indirect speech.
  • R : Reporter’s/ Source’s privacy: We encourage our reporting team to have a network and sources of their own in order to bring the latest from in and around the city. There can be an instance where the reporter is not willing to share the source of his information. In such cases, the report must state clearly that the sole source of the story is the reporter with source being unverified. In case the news being false, it is the sole responsibility of the reporter.
  • S : Social Media: Inherently being a fast paced world, social media is a magnet for mistakes such as typos, grammar errors, etc. Mumbai Live team, while is encouraged to be as vigilant as possible, any mistakes made must be corrected as soon as possible by either editing the post like on Facebook or simply adding the correction in a thread on Twitter. Retweets done by the team are not endorsements of any opinion or a show of support. They are merely information that may be helpful or useful. Mumbai Live is not liable to produce every content on social media into a story on the website.
  • T : To follow when adding videos: When adding videos of a channel other than Mumbai Live please share due credits. Ensure that the video embedded is of watchable quality and adds value to the post. If option is available, keep the audio off by default.
  • U : Updated City Updates: City updates section on Mumbai Live is for quick updates around the city which may or may not be converted to full stories. City updates have a timestamp and there is a possibility that the story was true or stated as truth as that time. It may so happen that an update may have come which is posted at later timestamp. Editorial team must be mindful of ensuring this happens and readers therefore should read updates in chronological order.
  • V : Video Stories: Video stories just like photo stories must contain at least 100 words of text. Each video uploaded on Youtube, by default should be converted into a video story on Mumbai Live so that there is a cross platform information.
  • W : When using images: When using any image, be mindful of the copyrights on the image. Only utilize images which are either originally clicked by the team or are marked as available for commercial usage with editing. When in doubt for an image, do not use it. Always give due credits for the image. Ensure the image is not pixelated and is relatable to the article.
  • X : Xeroxing copyrights: When using images from a public portal like Flickr or Google images, the image rights on the platform apply to Mumbai Live. Same goes for any content or information that has been used on the website.
  • Y : Your personal social media: Every employee of Mumbai Live is encouraged to maintain a personal social media profile where they may or may not share Mumbai Live content. It is clarified that every view expressed is that of the person alone and does not reflect the beliefs or views of Mumbai Live in any way at all. All employees are encouraged to use social media responsibly and not indulge in any kind of act that may bring the organization into disruption.
  • Z : Zawster the Press Release: Time to time, we receive releases from our PR connects. These Press Releases are covered as they are shared. Releases are marked clearly and do not come under editorial, reporting or Mumbai Live creative perview.

Principles & practices of Mumbai Live

  • Guidance : Each member of the team at Mumbai Live is expected to guide and share his or her knowledge or expertise in a domain with the rest of the team. In order to ensure a knowledge flow, a open and two way culture is encouraged in the team. Every member has the freedom to ask and receive understanding on a competency that he/she may want to improvise.
  • Confidentiality : As a news and media organization, there are several conversations that happen on a day to day basis which are highly confidential. The entire team is expected to take this into account and avoid sharing anything other than the general topics to anybody. In case of any concern, the senior management team is always available for any clarification. Confidentiality of upcoming stories, reports, events, business plans, explanations, IPs etc are of utmost importance. Similarly when stories come, there may be a confidential personal information that the team may be privy to, the same must be very delicately handled and the team must at all times be careful with anything confidential.
  • Discrimination : As a strong practitioner of equality, Mumbai Live does not tolerate any kind of discrimination based on caste, colour, sex, custom, religion, region etc both towards to audience and intra organization. All employees are expected to be accomodating and respect the beliefs and views of individuals and behave as mature and responsible citizens of the country.
  • Impartiality : The organization looks down upon any kind of favouritism in any manner. All beats, all stories, team members are treated equally and hold the same importance. Committed to providing news and information across the city, Mumbai Live will never be heavy on a particular beat or topic intentionally. All the senior management staff is also expected to treat their team members equally and work hard towards their personal and professional development.
  • Tonality : The tonality on the website will always be reportive. At no point, even in an editorial can the tonality be aggressive or provocative. As a responsible media house, Mumbai Live team only reports what is happening around the city. In case strong language is used, it must be notified to the reader up front.
  • Ownership : Mumbai Live aims to connect with every individual, every home of Mumbai. Therefore it is imperative that the team of Mumbai Live is recognized and connects as individuals. All our authors, writers and reporters are therefore encouraged to add their names to stories that they have contributed to so that the news generators and reporters can be identified. We expect high quality work from the entire team and complete ownership.

Duties of Mumbai Live

  • Strong actions on unethical publishing behaviour : If any team member (s) of Mumbai Live are found to be violating or disrespecting any of the set team policies or guidelines stating in this document, a strong action will be taken. Any unlawful activity from any member will be strictly dealt with on a case to case basis.
  • Best efforts towards best quality content : It shall be the prime responsibility of the Editorial team to maintain high quality content so that the audience coming to Mumbai Live are served content that is engaging and informative.
  • Keeping editorial and advertorial transparent : The senior management of Mumbai Live shall at all times ensure that not just the team but also the reading audience is aware and ads are marked as ads in no uncertain terms. Mumbai Live team will never undertake a marketing campaign or a revenue generation stream that may disrupt the user experience.
  • Content warnings : For any content where strong language or graphical content is used or loud audio is involved, a warning will be specifically written so that the consumer is prepared for it. If you have any concerns about the content, you can contact the management at any time.
  • Access to Content : Content on Mumbai Live is free to view at all times. However, on mobile application or web, certain actions need us to identify our users and for the same you will be prompted to log in. However, under no circumstance, unless duly notified will Mumbai Live introduce any kind of Paywall and access to content on the platform shall remain free and available to all, across all geographies.
  • Right to dismiss : Any marketing banner, popup, engagement on Mumbai Live will always have the option to dismiss for the reader. These product features will be built and developed in a way that there is least intrusiveness to the experience of Mumbai Live across the platforms for the consumers.

Pre publishing content Mumbai Live Checklist

When you are about to hit the publish button, make sure this checklist is followed

  • Review the content for ROT (If it is redundant, old or trivial) : If the content ticks any of these three parameters, it is advised not to be put on Mumbai Live.
  • Check if the facts stated are true : Clearly check independently if the facts stated alongside numbers and other information is factually true or not. Reject an article if there is any dubiousness about it or if any information shared is incorrect.
  • Check the stats and mention the sources : Any kind of statistic if used should be mentioned with the source and the link it has come from. If the stat has been picked from a research/study, do mention the name and the date of the study/ edition where it was picked up from.
  • Does the story meet the business goals and is aligned towards the larger business plan : Mumbai Live aims to bring local news and information about Mumbai to those living in the city and not. If a story does not have a connection to Mumbai or a genuinely traceable link to the city, it should not be covered.
  • Are copyrights and trademarks taken into account? : Before you publish, make sure the images are allowed to be used and shared across on the internet. If a picture is clicked by a photographer, please give due credits for the same. Any picture, with a watermark of another publication should not be used.
  • Is the content really valuable for the TG it is intending for : Make an informed decision if the story done fits in with the profile of our TG or not. It would be futile to do a story which does not fit with our audience profile or on a topic that is not interesting enough for the audience to read on.

Post publishing content Mumbai Live Checklist

Once the publish button has been hit, the following is the list of activities that must be done.

  • The article should be shared on social media at least twice across the platforms. On Facebook the second share may or may not be warranted, but on Twitter it must be. Choose wisely on the Linkedin stories that are being shared.
  • Inform the edit desk so that the article if needed to be translated in other language is done.
  • Seek if the article needs to be boosted/ done a multi share of across the media. For this keep the marketing team informed on the important articles that have been published. What article is to be pushed with a paid ad or not will be a call that marketing team will take up individually.
  • If it is an advertorial, update the content marketing team that the article has been done and the same can be relayed.
  • If the article requires further investigation, follow up set up the same and ensure that the readers are aware that you are following up. Keep the links to the previous articles ready and updated.
  • Review the stats- shares, traffic etc on your posts by visiting Analytics at least once a month so you have some idea of trends on what works and what does not. You may as a team schedule a face off with the marketing team to get help on this.

Tips & Anonymous contributors

When you receive an anonymous tip/ information for a news story follow the following checklist

  • Try and verify the tip first if it factually correct or not. You may do this from an independent source or someone in your circle without revealing that a tip has come in.
  • Ask the tipper if he can provide any authenticity proof by explaining that the news portal is read by thousands of people every day and that it would be a case of false reporting if the story turns out to be true. Follow this as a SOP to ask for the authenticity.
  • Ensure from the tipper if this is exclusive and nobody else has this info. Many times tippers are just looking to get the news out in search for personal fame. It would be bad to put an exclusive out and then have 20 other publications put the same exclusive out.
  • Publish with clear statement that this was received in a tip and may or may not be 100%. If any story comes which is not from your trusted source, make sure you mention the same that this was received anonymously or as received by you.
  • Keep the source anonymous. In case of criminal activity tips or tips of violence, the privacy of the tipper is of extreme importance. Be responsible and ensure complete anonymity is maintained. Case to case, discuss this with your editorial committee or senior management when in any doubt.
  • Tip is not same as User generated content. Treat it accordingly. While UGC cannot be edited or modified, a tip is not the same. Please correct the language, grammar and ensure any personal details from the tip such as phone numbers, minor pictures etc are removed.
  • When not verified, add the tip was not verified in the content despite the best efforts to verify. In this case make an editorial choice whether you wish to run the story or not first, before you go ahead.
  • State where the tip was received from clearly in the report. It could be the tip was received on an email, whatsapp or the contact form. It is good for the user to know where did the tip come in so that the next time if he has a tip, the same route or medium could be used.

What not to include/ write in stories

When writing or publishing a stories, ensure the following is judiciously followed

  • Personal information/ unnecessary details: When sharing any pictures/ screenshots etc, make sure no private information of any individual is revealed. If there is a phone number or a spot that will give a sensitive location away, please pixelate and edit the picture accordingly.
  • Contact information: Ensure to remove/ pixelate any contact information that may be included. Only share information that is available in public domain.
  • Warn before any strong visuals/ language: if you are using a strong language or an image that may not be suitable, please forewarn. If content included descriptions that may be objectionable, put the warning message up front.
  • Abbreviations without at least once expanding, however common should not be used. Even a simple term for example, FIR, should not be used until specified at least once as First Investigation Report (FIR) and so forth.
  • Remarks/ Opinions when filing a story: When filing a story, refrain from your comments in the narrative. If you must react to a story or give the editor’s take, make sure the same is done after the narrative is complete.
  • Any comments on race, culture, sex, religion, caste, beliefs etc of the person will not be tolerated. Even if you are reporting on a topic that you personally are not in the favour of, have a clear focus on the narrative and not the personal practice or views.
  • Minor’s pictures unless approved: Avoid using pictures of minors in the story. If you must, please use pictures that have the accepted copyrights or in case self clicked, do mention that an approval from the parents/ guardian etc was duly taken.
  • Avoid loose/ unquantifiable words: Words such as many, several, so many, so often are loose and not quantifiable. Make a clear attempt not to use aloof words and stick to fact based narrative.

Editorial Guidelines

When you embark on a journey to work on an editorial keep the following in mind:

  • Shortlisting and picking up a topic: Pick up a topic that is interesting and that people would want to know about. It is always good to give an opinion or editorial on something that is hot, recent or evergreen.
  • Define your TG: Define the target audience of your editorial and word it accordingly. If you are for example writing an opinionated post that talks to children about safety, keep the language and images that kids would enjoy or understand. Always have a TG in mind when starting an editorial.
  • Check if the editorial fits the editorial calendar: Keep a tab on when the editorial will come out and if it fits the overall theme of the air around. We would not want to do an editorial on Indian Cricket team when there is no game and the whole world is talking about the upcoming elections. So be mindful of the calendar before deciding to go ahead with the editorial.
  • Follow the following content guidelines:
    • The topic should be of high intent and high interest
    • The topic should be timely and relevant to the people
    • If not relevant, the topic should be useful and help make a decision or help them
    • Editorial should be easy to understand and consume without being too jargon lead
    • Editorial content should be completely original and self composed
    • Editorial should have a specific purpose and a conclusion
  • Make an informed choice on the content type when writing an editorial. Some stories are better said on a video, so make the full utilization.
  • Do not publish without relevant SEO details.
  • A hygiene check involving the following should be done:
    • Tonality
    • Length of the article
    • Links are working
    • Videos embedded have requisite permissions
    • Translation wherever if done is appropriate
  • Refer the editorial to marketing when completed so that if the team can push the article more in the form of a boost or a specific strategy the same can be done. Ideally the team should be informed when the editorial is in a planning stage.

Editorial Chain that Mumbai Live Follows

Reporter -> Writer -> Proofreader -> Editorial committee/ Managing Editor

Roles and Responsibilities

Reporter

  • Acknowledgement/ protection of sources and their identity.
  • Accuracy of information shared.
  • Their safety and well being.
  • Keeping in mind the privacy of sources and subject if needed.
  • Live updates when needed.
  • Pictures of the incident or that support the story.
  • Dispersal of information in real time to the desk so it can be quickly moved to a story.
  • Accuracy of quotes so they can be produced as they have been reported in the story.
  • Confidentiality should be maintained at all times when share a story so that before it goes up on Mumbai Live, nobody has a sniff of it.
  • WhatsApp groups are commonly used for communication or briefing a group of reporters. Several reporters are a part of whatsapp groups. Whenever using info out of the whatsapp group, do not tag it is as exclusive because several other organizations will get the same information from the group.
  • Carry your Identity card at all times when you are reporting and ensure that on field people know why are you clicking or asking a question.
  • Follow all human rights and do not harass people or invade into private spaces for the sake of story. Respect the rights of others.
  • Animal Rights must be taken into consideration whenever animals are involved in any reports. All the laws must be followed and nobody should be harmed.
  • When working on a story that needs access to potentially hazardous situation, right kind of protection must be followed. Mumbai Live places the health and safety of its employees first and the health and well being of the employee is her/her responsibility.

Writer

  • The story written should be of high quality and grammatically right.
  • Accuracy in the story should be maintained to the tee.
  • Plagiarism of any kind will not be tolerated.
  • Writers will always have a lot of extra data and information available when composing story. The data or personal information should not be used for any personal gains and must be disposed off or deleted as soon as possible.
  • Concurrent submissions if a story is rejected by the desk will be looked down upon.
  • Authorship for the articles must be specifically mentioned unless it is a press release, in case of which the story should be appropriately tagged.
  • Full disclosure & if any conflict of interest should be made in the story. If the brand/ coverage included travels or food or any kind of service that was availed by the writer, the information should be disclosed right at the start.
  • Acknowledgement/ protection of ID of sources should be carefully done.
  • Cross check the facts independently before writing them down as facts. If you are unable to verify ensure that the copy states that in no uncertain terms.
  • Follow the language of choice and rules for the language. Follow the grammar and the best practices of the language. Take care of this especially when you are translating from one language to another. Focus on the context of the language than literal translation.

Proofreader

  • Promptness in action is expected from all proofreaders. If you are already in the middle of a copy edit and think it will take time, set the expectation right to the writer who has submitted the story. If you are unable to carry out the proof read, for whatever specific reason, make sure the writer knows quickly so the story is not left unattended for a long duration.
  • High confidentiality must be maintained when it comes to stories or reports that have come to your table. Do not talk about the story in any form to anybody but the author. It may be a strong exclusive or a story of high value to the author which may undo a lot of hard work if distributed without being online first.
  • Objectivity should be maintained when proofreading. If there are no glaring mistakes and the readability of the article is good, it should pass the desk quickly without trying to make changes which are not necessary and take time.
  • Acknowledge the sources must be cross checked. If a team of people of have worked on the story, a due credit must be given to all of them for their contribution.
  • Disclosure of any conflict of interest must be made.
  • The proofreader must at all times work at the best of his competence and understanding of the language.

Editorial Team

  • Objectivity at all times should be maintained when editing or rejecting a story.
  • Subject Understanding is a must. If there is someone in the team who understands the specific subject better, it is always welcome to utilize another head to bounce the story off.
  • Fair Play must be maintained in the team and rules of objectivity must be the same for everyone and every beat.
  • Independence must be given to all the writers and reporters to express their views in editorials and no view should be changed for any kind of personal gain. If a name is going on the editorial, it should reflect the thoughts of the writer.
  • Confidentiality at all costs must be maintained not just from other organizations but intra organization also when handling sensitive information.
  • Full disclosure should be made to the team for any decision to pick or not pick a story.
  • Conflict of interest, if any should be disclosed to the team and the editorial duties should be handed over to another body in the team.