DealStreetAsia (DSA) is a Singapore-headquartered financial news platform tracking the business of startups and private equity, venture capital and corporate investments across Asia, with a focus on Southeast Asia, India and Greater China. Our coverage extends to mergers and acquisitions, and alternative fundraising avenues, including but not limited to initial public offerings and debt financing, involving PE/VC-backed startups.
Our coverage is powered by our strong team of two dozen (and growing) writers and researchers, who live and work in key markets across the region, including Singapore, Greater China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and India. Our focus on news gathering, exclusive deal breaks and interviews, and big picture coverage of the ASEAN, India, and Greater China markets differentiates us in an aggregation-dominant market. In mid-2019, Nikkei Inc, the owner of Financial Times, picked up a controlling stake in us.
The Code of Ethics published here will guide the work lives of everyone at DSA at all times.
This document shall serve to help ensure that the highest possible editorial integrity, ethics, and professional standards are upheld by employees/consultants/content creators at DSA.
As a news organisation, DSA is committed to producing content that is newsworthy, credible, and without bias. This is vital to the ethos, and sustainability of the company and its operations.
This document has been put together by our editors and borrows from FactoryDaily’s code of conduct (with permission), as well as from the Mint Code of Journalistic Conduct. It builds on widely-accepted ideas and standards on ethics of global newsrooms.
This Code is intended to serve as a guideline to our journalists and does not include answers to every single ethical dilemma that may arise. In most cases, if something does not feel right, it probably is not, and calls for a discussion with a supervising editor. If a journalist is still unsure, bring the discussion up to the Editor-in-Chief.
For purposes of wider clarity, we define journalists/writers as anyone in the newsroom who is involved in creating content for DSA. An employee as defined in this document is any individual who receives a salary from DSA for work done as assigned by the company.
As we grow as a company, we will periodically review and update this Code. All changes will be disclosed as and when that happens.
Journalists’ ethics and integrity
- DSA’s content is centred on financial news and analysis. In the course of their work, DSA writers/researchers are privy to market intelligence. Under no circumstances should they use advanced knowledge of deals and other related information to their own financial advantage, and that of family members and friends.
- All interviews and other editorial interactions shall be, as far as possible, on-the-record, and the interviewee(s) should be informed of this.
- The default in an interview is that comments are on the record. For avoidance of doubt, reporters must confirm with their interviewee(s) at the start of each interview which of the comments are on the record and attributable, or as the case may be, not to be attributed but used in the story as background, or off-the-record.
- For interviews and other editorial interactions that are for background purposes, the reporter and interviewee(s) must agree that information and comments from that particular meeting would be used in a story, but not attributed to the interviewee(s).
- Sources of information or comments will only be used without attribution in cases where the comments or information cannot be obtained otherwise, or on the record. We will consider the motives of these sources before promising anonymity. Editors shall check with the reporters on the nature of these sources, their relationship to other story, and their reasons for being anonymous. The editors have the right to know the identities of these sources, and shall keep them confidential.
- Off-the-record comments are just that: not on the record and consequently not to be used in a story.
- Quotes must have clear attributions, and never be taken out of context. Quotes may be changed for sentence structure and grammar without distorting the meaning. When quotes in other languages are translated to English, all attempts will be made to ensure that the original flavour of the conversation is not lost.
- Journalists must ensure any information on deals, scoops, and other developments that is to be published have at least two independent, verifiable sources.
- DSA shall also offer a right of response to organisations and individuals who are the subject of news reports, criticism or allegations, not necessarily only of wrongdoing, that are to be carried in an editorial article on our website.
- The onus is on the journalist(s) filing the relevant story to contact the organisation or individual with the relevant details required for a fair and informed response, at least 12 hours before the story is to be published. After that, the story may be published, under the discretion of the editors, with the statement that “DealStreetAsia has contacted the company for comment, but it has yet to respond.”
- In some cases, before waiting for the 12-hour window, the editors may choose to publish a newsworthy story in the interest of timeliness. The story will then be updated with the comments when they come in.
- Journalists/researchers shall not pander to the expectations or requests of sources, interviewees, and subjects of articles, when it comes to editorial decisions on the articles, such as when it is to be published, and what the headline is.
- At times, questions are sent to interviewees prior to the interview. Quotes may also be played back, but the full story, or additional information that is being added to the story, will not be shared. Numbers, data and other figures used in a story may be shared with sources for the purposes of fact checking. It is unacceptable for any DSA journalist or employee to share a finished story with anyone outside before publication. The one exception to this rule is the playback of an edited column to a columnist for fact-checking and accuracy purposes.
- DSA does not pay for interviews or access to sources.
- Plagiarism shall not be tolerated under any circumstances and is an offence that may result in termination of services of the person(s) involved in it.
- Third-party content published on DSA’s site must carry appropriate attributions.
- Journalists/researchers shall ensure their stories are factual and accurate. When in doubt, take it out.
- When journalists/analysts/researchers are invited by an individual or organisation for an out-of-town assignment, DSA shall bear the costs of travel, accommodation, and related expenses.
- Journalists/analysts/researchers shall also not guarantee coverage to an organisation and/or individual.
- DSA’s writers/researchers shall not, under any circumstances, solicit, or receive, any form of gratification in return for a service or favour, or for publishing a story.
- Journalists/researchers shall avoid expensive lunches, dinners or drinks with sources and contacts. A source can pay for a meal if we meet him or her often enough to warrant a return of the favour. If not, DSA will offer to pay. It is generally acceptable to have lunch or dinner if it is part of the proceedings of an event, eg a press conference or an industry event.
- DSA employees must conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times, when representing the company.
- DSA employees shall not author, produce, or be associated with content, online or otherwise, that is false, inappropriate, inflammatory, and disrespectful.
- Editorial staff shall maintain a professional distance from their interviewees and contacts, so as to maintain the independence of DSA content. This includes being neutral in social media posts and comments.
- DSA’s employees shall be fully committed to their employment at the company. As such, they shall not solicit, or accept, any paid assignments or positions, with any other organisation or individual. This includes, but is not limited to, writing assignments and for-profit directorships.
- However, invitations for certain assignments, such as moderating panels under the aegis of DSA, may be accepted upon consultation with the Editor-in-Chief. Such assignments would be taken pro bono.
- DSA employees may in their time outside of work take on commitments to non-profit organisations and charities. However, time spent on such commitments should take place only outside of working hours, and not interfere with any assignments or deadlines under DSA employment.
- DSA employees/consultants shall not, under any circumstances, give away the company’s intellectual property, and confidential and internal information pertaining to the company’s business and operations, to any organisation or individual outside of the company, nor shall they use any such information for their personal gain or that of others. This obligation applies even after the employee/consultant has left DSA.
- DSA employees shall not disparage the company in any manner on any platform such as but not limited to written communications, social media, and blogs.
- DSA employees must not engage in day trading of any shares. They are free to invest in publicly-listed mutual fund schemes. Should an employee own publicly-listed company shares before joining DSA, he or she must declare the ownership of those shares to the Editor-in-Chief.
- Further, editors / reporters / consultants /researchers / analysts must not write about, or make editorial decisions about, companies in which they own shares.
- DSA employees and their immediate family members are discouraged from owning shares in the companies that are covered by DSA’s editorial content. If an employee does own shares in companies, he or she shall disclose to the Editor-in-Chief details of the stock and take direction. (Immediate family is defined as spouse or significant other and children younger than 18 years.)
- DSA employees will not record phone or video conversations with sources unless all parties to the conversation have given consent. In certain exceptional circumstances, such as in relation to certain investigative journalism in the public interest, it may be acceptable to record a conversation without consent. However, writers/researchers will only do so after first obtaining clearance from the supervising editor or the Editor-in-Chief.
- DSA has zero tolerance for sexual harassment at the workplace. This includes unwanted, unacceptable, inappropriate behavior towards the recipient that creates an intimidating, hostile, unstable or offensive work environment. Harassment can be physical, verbal or non-verbal. Individuals are encouraged to report incidents of workplace harassment to a direct supervisor, or management.
- All DSA employees/consultants shall abide by the laws of the countries where they live and work.
- All corrections and updates to a story will be clearly marked as such in an ‘Editor’s Note.’ If a significant correction is made, the change will be clearly explained at the top of the story. Smaller changes will be explained at the bottom of the story. If a company/executive/source disputes a quote after publication, DSA editors will compare it with the journalist’s notes and/or the audio recording, and will issue a correction if it is warranted.
- DSA editors have the final word on how a story is represented. A story’s angle, headline, and time of publication are solely editorial decisions made at the discretion of the editors, in consultation with the reporters. There shall not be any undue external influence on these decisions.
- DSA reporters shall not be obliged to offer interviewees quote checks, particularly if the interview was conducted on-the-record. Reporters must also have a recording of the conversation. If a company or interviewee should ask for a quote check, reporters should refer it to the editors.
- If an interview was conducted on background, the reporter must then clarify with the interviewee which particular portions of the interview would be published, and how the attribution would read.
- We do not delete stories after publication, unless there are significant factual errors. In such cases, the page will have an editor’s note explaining the reason for deletion.
- That DSA is given advanced access, or access in general, is not a guarantee of coverage, nor does it affect the tone or timing of coverage, which is decided by the editors. However, DSA may negotiate the timing of the release of a story with a company on a case-by-case basis if it makes sense editorially.
- DSA does not accept any compensation, monetary or otherwise, for coverage.
- Writers – who contribute to editorial content – shall not be involved in any business issues. These include subscriptions, sales, sponsorships, and events. The Editor-in-Chief and the editors will regularly interact with executives tasked with business objectives. Such meetings may be strategic in nature, such as the review of quarterly targets, discussion of other business objectives, etc. These conversations shall not influence editorial decisions.
- Journalists and contributors to editorial content shall not take direction from advertisers and/or DSA’s advertising sales and marketing teams about editorial content, such as what to write on, the tone, timing or placement of coverage.
- While DSA will have branded content or native advertising on its site, such content shall be undertaken by a separate, non-editorial team and shall be clearly labelled as branded content or advertising. These labels may be ‘Sponsored feature’, ‘Advertorial’, ‘Advertisement’, ‘Marketing feature’, or the like. DSA shall not allow advertising to disguise itself as newsroom-originated, editorial content.
- DSA does not accept gifts or favours of any kind. Employees are required to send a link to our Code of Ethics to any person or company that insists on sending gifts. The exceptions are festivals or special occasions, when it might be common practice to gift sweets, food stuffs, and other perishables.
- No DSA employee or consultant shall permit his or her DSA affiliation to be noted in any external organisation’s materials or activities without the express written approval of the Editor-in-Chief