Media ethics and retention


This page is intended to try to coalesce Raindrop Works’ intent to establish journalistic ethics, as well as expectations for the general public.

  • News manipulation: we know that the news has the ability to change public perception, and it has the ability to be twisted by others to shift perception in a less truthful manner. This is something our founder saw when she first shifted Raindrop Works to a media focus. Traditional media, even when local, has a spin towards the views of the people who own them, or in an effort to save money, they only report on events when they’re ‘sexy’ or on fire. So riots and burning are eye catching, but peaceful protesting doesn’t make the news. It makes it easy for the only ‘official’ source to be a government agency. This is what a new form of citizen journalism is now trying to combat. Bringing the news that the traditional media doesn’t want to or can’t report on. As such, while the editorials may be biased based on personal belief, we do our best to not edit or cut portions of our footage that may change the narrative.
  • Privacy in journalism: while we recognize that freedom of press is a right, and when we’re operating in public it’s presumed that everyone may be recorded at any time, we also recognize that there are people who don’t want to be actively recorded. This is especially true in the times in which these guidelines are written. As such, journalists will attempt to focus recording on the individuals we are actually reporting on, and minimize documenting uninvolved individuals. However, we can only make a good faith effort. It is still up to individuals to be mindful of their surroundings and placement.
  • Legal considerations: Since it is well understood that live streams and youtube videos are in the public view, we know that it’s reasonable that law enforcement will already have access to them, but not necessarily the high quality original videos that we may have on recording instruments. That said, those recordings are owned by the reporter, and are subject to Constitutionally guaranteed protections. As such, unless determined that they will be needed in future instances, high quality raw video will only be maintained for a period of 14 days. This does not apply if a subpoena has been produced or I have reasonable expectations that a subpoena will be produced. That said, any such subpoena will, as a matter of course, be challenged to the best extent possible to quash or limit it to the absolute smallest portion required by court order. Since the documentation has most likely been already made available through public channels, it reduces the need for my copies.
  • Body Cameras: Individuals may feel a need for increased personal protection and wear body worn cameras for evidence of individual interactions with law enforcement personnel. These cameras are not intended to be used to document protesters. As such, events where members did not engage with law enforcement personnel will not retain footage beyond 24 hours after the end of the event. If they did engage with law enforcement, retention will be at the discretion of the member if it is needed for newsworthiness or evidence.

These policies will take affect immediately (12 July 2020), but may be subject to change at any time. Any significant changes will be documented below this line. – Heather Van Wilde

22 Sept 2020 – Body Camera policy added (previous version archived here)