Members of the Society of American Travel Writers are expected to maintain the highest professional standards. Journalists (Actives) and communications practitioners (Associates) agree to adhere to the principles and rules set forth in this code to maintain their membership. Our mission is to provide the public with accurate, fair and honest travel reporting.
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 and Code of Conduct Committee or the Executive Committee of SATW, may range from a reprimand to suspension or expulsion from membership in the Society.
SATW members shall maintain the highest professional standards.
1. No member shall misrepresent his or her SATW membership category or status.
2. No member shall falsely represent his or her credentials or work output as part of any SATW membership review or listing.
3. 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.
4. No member shall engage in conduct that embarrasses the Society or that will otherwise harm its reputation or professionalism.
SATW members shall conduct business in a professional manner.
1. No member shall engage in plagiarism or infringement of the rights, including copyright, of others.
2. No member shall disseminate information about a destination without doing comprehensive research and fact-checking.
3. No member shall knowingly sell rights that he or she does not own.
4. 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.
5. A member shall advise the publication when others have furnished photographs or editorial materials.
6. Content providers shall be open with editors/publishers about their own subsidized travel for an assignment.
7. Associate members shall not pay money for acquiring new accounts, except for proposal fees or finder’s fees.
8. No member shall offer or accept cash or any other form of payment in exchange for positive editorial coverage.
SATW members shall maintain the highest standards of professionalism on press trips and sponsored activities.
1. No member shall deliberately misrepresent the status of an assignment in order to secure participation in a press trip.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Members shall not engage in conduct that embarrasses the host.
5. Members shall not violate or ignore local regulations, customs and personal wishes of potential subjects in order to take images (April 2010).
SATW members shall avoid all real or perceived conflicts of interest.
All members shall adhere to the highest standards of journalistic integrity in their respective disciplines.
1. Content providers shall be open with editors/publishers about their own activity that could compromise or might appear to compromise their integrity on a given assignment, including non-editorial writing, researching or consulting, political involvement, holding office or serving in organizations dealing with the same or a similar subject matter, and/or association with a travel destination, service firm or supplier.
2. Members shall avoid accepting or giving gifts and promotional items of more than a nominal value.
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.
1. 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. Complaints may also be submitted electronically.
2. The Executive Director will immediately forward copies of the complaint to the members of the Society’s Ethics and Code of Conduct Committee and the President.
3. The Ethics and Code of Conduct 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.
4. If the complaint is dismissed, the Ethics and Code of Conduct Committee will notify the complainant(s) and the President of the committee’s decision, which shall be final.
5. If the Ethics and Code of Conduct 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 and Code of Conduct Committee may interview by telephone, by mail, or in person, either members or others who have information relevant to the complaint.
6. If the Ethics and Code of Conduct 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 and Code of Conduct 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.
7. If the Ethics and Code of Conduct Committee determines after further investigation that a violation has occurred for which suspension or expulsion from membership may be appropriate, the Ethics and Code of Conduct Committee shall hold a hearing by telephone conference call or at a location mutually convenient to all parties. Notice shall be given to the charged party, the complainant(s), and the President at least 30 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 and Code of Conduct Committee shall preside over the hearing, which shall be conducted in an informal manner, with or without the presence of SATW’s 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 and Code of Conduct 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.
8. 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 SATW’s 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 and Code of Conduct Committee.
9. All proceedings of the Ethics and Code of Conduct 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.
10. 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.
Revised and approved October 2015.