Code of Ethics
SOCIETY OF AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITERS
All members of the Society of American Travel Writers-Actives and Associates-subscribe to the highest standards of professionalism and, by accepting membership, agree to abide by the Code of Ethics of the Society.
The code is comprised of principles and rules, and procedures for enforcement. The principles represent the highest standards of conduct toward which all members should strive, and represent the overriding concepts from which the specific rules are derived.
The rules are mandatory. They state the minimum level of conduct below which no member of SATW can fall without being subject to disciplinary action. The rules are uniformly applied to all members.
The procedures set forth the process by which violators of the rules will be investigated and disciplined. Disciplinary action, which may be imposed by the ethics committee or the executive committee of SATW, may range from a reprimand to suspension or expulsion from membership in the Society.
Please be advised that the complete and up-to-date Code of Ethics and Disciplinary Rules and rules regarding the Ethics Committee are set forth on SATW’s website at connect.satw.org. Please note that the rules and procedures for disciplinary actions are set forth in the Operations Manual.
SATW members are professional travel communicators and should always strive to maintain the highest professional standards.
- Members shall not engage in plagiarism or infringement of the rights, including copyright, of others.
- No member shall publish information about a destination about which he or she has no first-hand knowledge unless the member uses reliable sources of information.
- No member shall misrepresent his or her SATW membership category or status.
- No member shall falsely represent his or her credentials or work output as part of any SATW membership review or listing.
- No member shall use the SATW name or insignia except to designate his or her membership, and no member may use official SATW stationery except for the conduct of official business of the Society.
- Members shall not engage in conduct that embarrasses the Society or that will otherwise harm its reputation or professionalism.
SATW members should conduct business in a professional manner.
- No member shall knowingly sell rights that he or she does not own.
- No member shall permit his or her byline to appear as sole author on work not produced by him or her, nor shall a member be listed as co-author of a work to which he or she has not contributed.
- When photographs or editorial materials have been furnished by others, a member shall so advise the publisher.
- No member shall deliberately misrepresent his or her participation in a press trip in order to secure an editorial assignment.
- Associate members shall not accept nor pay money for acquiring new accounts, except for proposal fees, and shall not offer cash or any other form of payment to editors or writers in exchange for editorial coverage purporting to be objective unbiased reporting of information.
SATW members should maintain the highest standards of professionalism on press trips.
- No member shall deliberately misrepresent the status of an assignment in order to secure participation in a press trip.
- All assistants accompanying a member on a press trip shall be fully qualified assistants; all others accompanying a member must be identified as guests. The participation of guests on press trips is subject to the restrictions of the host and at no time shall a guest attend in place of a member.
- A member shall personally pay for all services required by that member that are personal, or over and above the services voluntarily provided by the host.
SATW members should avoid all conflicts of interest
- No member shall accept payment or courtesies in exchange for an agreement to produce favorable material about a travel destination, service or supplier that is contrary to his or her own professional appraisal.
- Members who are or have been employed by or associated with a travel destination, service firm or supplier shall disclose that fact to all potential editors and/or publishers prior to accepting an assignment relating to that destination or involving that service firm or supplier.
As provided in the Procedures section below, the Society shall discipline members found guilty of violations of the SATW Ethics Code, as well as for conduct detrimental to the best interests of the Society.
- Complaints of suspected violations of any rule of the SATW Code of Ethics must be made in writing, signed by the complainant(s), and sent to the Society’s executive director at the Society’s headquarters office.
- The executive director will immediately forward copies of the complaint to the members of the Society’s ethics committee and the president.
- The ethics committee will promptly investigate all complaints forwarded to it and, within 60 days, shall determine if the complaint shall be dismissed, investigated further, or set for a hearing.
- If the complaint is dismissed, the ethics committee will notify the complainant(s) and the president of the committee’s decision, which shall be final.
- If the ethics committee determines that the complaint should be investigated further, the committee shall notify the member of the complaint and by whom it was made, and advise him or her of the right to present evidence relating to the complaint. The ethics committee may interview by telephone, by mail, or in person, either members or others who have information relevant to the complaint.
- If the ethics committee determines after further investigation that a violation has occurred for which a reprimand is appropriate, the committee shall prepare a written report detailing its finding of the facts, the nature of the misconduct so established, and the form of the reprimand imposed; a copy of the report will be sent to the charged party, the complainant(s), and the president. The decision of the ethics committee shall be final unless appealed by the charged party to the executive committee within 60 days of the decision; the request for an appeal must be made within that time frame by certified mail to the president at the Society’s headquarters office.
- If the ethics committee determines after further investigation that a violation has occurred for which suspension or expulsion from membership may be appropriate, the ethics committee shall hold a hearing by telephone conference call or at a location mutually convenient for all parties. Notice shall be given to the charged party, the complainant(s), and the president at least 60 days prior to the date set for the hearing. The charged party may appear with counsel at his or her own expense. The chairman of the ethics committee shall preside over the hearing, which shall be conducted in an informal manner, with or without the presence of SATWs legal counsel. At the option of the charged party, a hearing may be waived and the complaint resolved by documents submitted in response by both the charged party and the complainant(s). After the conclusion of the hearing, the full committee shall decide by four-fifths vote to suspend or expel the charged member. The decision of the ethics committee shall be final unless appealed by the charged party to the executive committee within 60 days of notice of the decision; the request for an appeal must be made within that time frame by certified mail to the president at the Society’s headquarters office.
- Upon any appeal filed by a charged party subject to reprimand, suspension or expulsion, the executive committee shall hold a hearing by telephone conference call or at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the board of directors. The charged party may appear at the appeal hearing with counsel at his or her own expense. The president shall preside over the appeal hearing, which shall be conducted in an informal manner, with or without the presence of SATWs legal counsel. At the option of the charged party, an appeal hearing may be waived and the appeal resolved by documents submitted in response by both the charged party and the complainant. After the conclusion of the hearing, the full committee shall decide by four-fifths vote (with the President not voting) to uphold or reverse the decision of the ethics committee.
- All proceedings of the ethics committee and all appeal proceedings of the executive committee shall be held in closed sessions, unless open sessions are requested by the charged party. All evidence submitted to either committee shall be maintained in the strictest of confidence.
- A suspension may be imposed for any definite period of time. At the conclusion of the suspension period, no formal action is required for reinstatement of membership. A member who is expelled cannot be reinstated or reapply for membership.