My principles

My work is based on trust. I’ve found that readers, subjects and sources all benefit from a better understanding of my journalistic principles and process, which I describe below. If you have specific questions about how I do my job, you’re free to email me:

I do not believe in the concept of journalistic objectivity. I’m a human being with my own opinions, emotions and experiences, all of which influence the way that I identify stories, perceive the world and describe it back to readers.

That being said, I generally believe that the role of a journalist is, as much as possible, to get out of the way — to let subjects and facts speak for themselves, and when disputes exist, to allow parties on all sides to share their best arguments and information so that readers can make up their own minds about where they stand.

I also take pains to preserve my independence, so that readers, subjects and sources don’t have doubts about whether the news and facts they receive from me are tainted by conflicts of interest. As a rule, I do not accept meals or even so much as a cup of coffee from my sources, or from people I cover. I do no other paid work outside journalism, although each summer, I work for a few weeks catching fish at the mouth of the Susitna River, outside Anchorage, where I am compensated solely with salmon.

I will happily talk to you on a background basis, which means that you can share information with me that I will not link to you in a subsequent story. Depending on the seriousness of the subject matter, this can be a sensitive process, so I encourage you to reach out to me with questions. I take this commitment with the utmost seriousness and will take the steps necessary to protect your confidence, though sometimes this means I may not be able to use information or follow through with tips if it’s clear that the journalistic steps necessary for confirmation risk outing the source.

I do not donate to political candidates, parties or groups, and I am not registered with a political party.