In a magazine where an individual author's name is not published with the article, it seems obvious to me that the article can be presumed to reflect the consensus of the entire editorial team on whatever has been written in the article. Now, in such a scenario, if a group of editors writes an article which is opinion based and the others strongly feel against the things written in the article then should the article make it to the publication according to standard Journalism ethics? Also, why?

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    I wonder whether this question would receive more and better answers at workplace.stackexchange.com.
    – user5645
    Oct 19, 2016 at 4:56
  • I think the term is ombudsman for the individual who determines the integrity of any written and printed piece...as opposed to something done electronically of course. I'm not sure in the Internet Age what "authority" exists for Publishing so this is a question that requires far greater specificity. Oct 20, 2016 at 0:40
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    @what Workplace might be able to answer this but it'd be a different spin on the same question. I'm okay having questions in more than one place. Nov 24, 2016 at 18:13
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    I think journalistic standards and conventions will be relevant, and answers on Workplace won't be informed by those. Nov 24, 2016 at 18:18
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    I'm not well-versed in journalistic ethics, but as an editor in a different field, if I feel strongly about something, I can always ask for my name to be removed from a work. It's an accepted practice.
    – TriskalJM
    Dec 8, 2016 at 21:08

3 Answers 3


All I can offer you is an example of what I've seen done. I don't know the industry standard for such things, and your journal can follow whatever practices it wants. This is just what my newspaper did.

When I worked on a student-run newspaper in college, the editorial was always published with a statement at the bottom reading something like "This topic was approved by a 6-1 vote of the editorial board." The editorial itself was usually written by a specific editor, chosen for that publication, and their name was attached to it as well. If there was a significant dissenting vote, a dissenting editor was chosen to write a short piece explaining their stance at the bottom of the article. The dissenting opinion usually omitted the name of the writer.

The only example of this I was able to find from my student newspaper is this one from 2013, about freedom of speech. I'm sure there's a more recent version, and it's entirely possible that their practices have changed in the intervening years, but searching for stuff on their website is hard.


This does strike me as a general ethical question. A publication represents an interest which sponsors its publication. A journalist who accepts employment at that publication is working for hire to perform services for the interest that owns the paper.

The interest is entitled to create an organ that represents its own views, an organ that represents a consensus view but also publishes a dissenting view, an organ that represents a consensus view without dissent, or an organ that published multiple views.

None of these things are unethical. A journalist who does not feel that they can work for an interest whose publication does not allow them to express their own opinions, or to conform to and support a consensus opinion would seem to have an ethical obligation to resign.

Everyone (more or less) has to right to publish their own views at their own expense. No one has to right to have their views published by someone else at the other party's expense.


Journals don't have a lot of room for error taking extra time to "get to the bottom of things." They have to get their product out, especially in the case of a team effort which costs hundreds of dollars an hour to produce.

In the case of a single author or investigative reporter, a single editor probably supervises, and individual differences are hashed out.

A team effort probably involves a company-wide policy and a chief editor. As Mark noted, if the employee really doesn't like it, there is always resignation, but since this scenario will repeat itself until said employee is a chief editor, most people will just swallow their pride and accept it. Full-time jobs in writing are few and far between.

If a chief editor is outvoted, that's a case-by-case basis, and the journal's president might get involved. Publications are private enterprises trying to turn a profit. When in doubt, the tendency is for the powers-that-be to choose sensationalism.

A peer-reviewed scientific journal is a different beast with the main issue being whether the data supports the conclusions. In this case, a single dissenting opinion might require the research team to recrunch the numbers so that the conclusion is more reliable--this may alter the conclusion. Again, it's up to the chief editor to make a formal decision. This person is an expert in the field.

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