News Policies

News Policies

Access Press is a monthly print publication with a web and social media presence. We provide news and information by and for Minnesotans with disabilities. Access Press is managed by a nonprofit board of directors. Content is published at the discretion of the editors. 

Access Press publishes content in the form of news stories relevant to Minnesotans with disabilities, photos, commentary pieces, news about people and organizations, and listings for upcoming events. Newspaper sections available for submissions are the History Note, From Our Community, People and Places, Opportunities, Enjoy! and Around the Dial. 

Our focus is on news and information that doesn’t have a “pity” component. Our reading audience lives with disabilities or supports people with disabilities. We use a combination of Associated Press style and “people first” and “identity-first” language in writing and editing copy. 

Editorial Independence Policy

Access Press adheres to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics.

Comments & Submissions

Access Press welcomes user comments on our stories and posts. Access Press’s mission is to promote the social inclusion and legal rights of people with disabilities by providing a forum for news, features, opinion, and conversation to benefit people who are often invisible and marginalized in mainstream society. We intend for this area to be used by our readers as a place for civil, thought-provoking, and high-quality public discussion. 

Access Press does not permit the use of foul language, personal attacks, insult of the intelligence or character of fellow commenters and others, or nicknames or invented names meant to denigrate or taunt others. We also don’t allow the use of language that may be libelous or interpreted as inciting hate or sexual harassment. 

We will reject inflammatory and highly provocative comments that seem likely to take over the comment thread by making the discussion more about the commenter’s inflammatory view than about the story. We also will reject comments that are clearly off-topic. 

Access Press reserves the right to remove postings that violate these guidelines; however, we are under no obligation to do so. User comments are reviewed by moderators and may be included or excluded at our discretion. User comments are reviewed to ensure that comments meet these standards and adhere to Access Press’s terms of use and privacy policy. 

Access Press reserves the right to ban any user that repeatedly violates our terms of use or commenting policy.

Please contact the editor before submitting news or feature articles. Specific guidelines for each section of the newspaper are below. 

Deadline for the print edition is the 15th of each month. 

Corrections 

If we are substantively correcting an article, photo caption, headline, graphic, video or other material, we will promptly publish a correction explaining the change. 

Please reach out to jane@accesspress.org for editorial concerns or corrections needed and tricia@accesspress.org for website issues, or call us at (651) 644-2133.

Clarifications 

When our journalism is factually correct but the language we used to explain those facts is not as clear or detailed as it should be, the language should be rewritten and a clarification added to the story. A clarification can also be used to note that we initially failed to seek a comment or response that has since been added to the story or that new reporting has shifted our account of an event. 

Editor’s notes 

A correction that calls into question the entire substance of an article raises a significant ethical matter or addresses whether an article did not meet our standards, may require an editor’s note and be followed by an explanation of what is at issue. A senior editor must approve the addition of an editor’s note to a story. 

Transparency

Access Press accepts funds from individual donors, companies, foundations, and Government agencies. While an agency may provide funds to Access Press to fund a particular section of the paper, they have no editorial control of content. Please see our full Transparency in Funding Policy and our full list of donors

We strive to lift experiences and voices of all people with disabilities in Minnesota and the Native Nations who share that geography.  

We work to ensure our board, staff, and the journalism we produce is diverse and inclusive. Access Press’s board of directors supports our staff’s commitment to equitable journalism and will work to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our work.

Conflict of Interest Policy

See our full Conflict of Interest Policy here.

About Our Content

History Note

Every month, funded in part by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, Access Press publishes a history note focused on an aspect of Minnesota disability history. Length is up to 550 words. Photos are welcome. 

History notes may contain language that is offensive, such as use of the words “crip” or “retarded.” We ask that potentially offensive language be put in a historic context. 

History notes can include organizational history when there is a significant anniversary. 

Please check with the editorial staff before putting time into a submission as we may have covered that topic before. 

From Our Community

Access Press offers space for letters to the editor as well as commentaries on topics of interest to Minnesota’s disability community. Letters should be no more than 500 words, with 750 words per commentary. Ask the editor if more space is needed. 

Letters and guest commentaries must be signed by the authors or authors. With letters, a writer’s hometown is published but not a street address. With commentaries more information is published about the writer and/or groups. 

Please send contact information, in the form of a phone number or email, in case the editor has questions about a letter or commentary. Contact information isn’t published unless the writer specifically requests that the newspaper do so. 

Pictures of the author can be published with a guest commentary but aren’t required. 

Access Press asks that letters and guest commentaries be specifically written for the newspaper. Letters must have a focus on disability issues and ideally, a focus on those issues as they affect Minnesotans. Form letters will not be published.  

Unsigned letters will not be published. 

Because Access Press is a non-profit publication and must follow regulations on political partisanship, political endorsement letters are not published. That is true for candidates’ endorsements as well as for ballot questions. 

Before making a submission, writers are always encouraged to contact the newspaper to discuss ideas or to ask questions about From Our Community submissions. 

Let the newspaper staff know if accommodations are needed to submit a letter or commentary. 

Letters and commentaries reflect the view of the authors and not the views of the staff and board of directors of Access Press

Columns

For space and equity reasons, Access Press does not publish ongoing columns. Our editorial staff considers ideas but reserves the right to approve or reject columns. We may run a column as a one-time commentary. 

People and Places

The People and Places section is for news about Minnesotans with disabilities, Minnesotans who are involved in the disability community, their organizations and their accomplishments. News items include major award winners, new or retiring organization leaders, authors, new or retiring board members, new business owners, new or relocated facilities and other similar items.  

We ask that submissions not be more than 500 words long. The exception there is for annual awards by a disability service organization, which are given more space. 

We welcome pictures, although for multiple award winners we ask that there either be a group photo of winners or photos that don’t have the same person handing out every award pictured. We like to feature as many different people as possible. 

News items about people and places must have a timely tie and come in as soon as possible after an event. 

Calendars

Opportunities

The Opportunities section is for conferences, seminars, classes, ongoing support groups and events by and for people with disabilities. Groups seeking board members, new web features from nonprofits and changes in services such as new phone numbers or moves to virtual services are welcome here. 

Listings must be from nonprofit groups or group organizers. Preference is given to free or low-cost events. 

All submissions must have a tie to Minnesota’s disability community and must specify accommodations or where information on accommodations can be found. 

Enjoy!

Enjoy! listings are for accessible music, theater and arts events and venues, as well as outdoor activities, fundraisers, galas, banquets, and charity walks and runs. Items must have a disability community tie. 

Preference is given to free or low-cost events. We do limit fundraisers to a few times a year per group. 

Around the Dial

This is a listing of radio, TV and YouTube programs by and for Minnesotans with disabilities. It runs on a space-available basis. Submissions from those who provide public access television, radio or podcasts are welcome.