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Reminder: We Don't 'Participate' In Marches & Rallies

With high-profile marches happening today and this weekend, here are links to our thinking about why we don't get involved and what is and isn't OK:

- We can go see what's happening, but can't "participate."

- Taking part could "raise questions about NPR's independence and impartiality."

- "Some of us have children, nieces, nephews or young visitors who want to take part. If you feel you need to be there to keep them safe or from getting lost, that's obviously fine. Stay as close as you think is necessary (yes, you can get into the middle of a crowd). But, again, the goal is to be watching, not participating."

- "The question will be asked: 'If my job does not touch on NPR's journalism, can I attend and participate in this or any other 'political' march?' We can't give an answer that would cover everyone and every eventuality. The best advice is to discuss it beforehand with your supervisor. We can say that those who are in 'outward-facing' positions — jobs that sometimes put them in the position of representing NPR to the outside world — should adhere to the same guidelines that our journalists follow."

- "The Evolution Of Our Guidance."

Related notes from earlier posts:

- On social media, stay away from opinion. Also, remember that retweets may been seen as endorsements. Basically, proceed "as if what you're saying or passing along is information that you would put on the air or in a 'traditional' NPR.org news story. If it needs context, attribution, clarification or 'knocking down,' provide it."

- We have to be wary of crowd estimates. This is also a subject we've covered before. Focus on describing the crowds and do not cite figures coming from the organizers or critics as if they're real. They are claims. If authorities come up with estimates (and in many places, including Washington, D.C., the authorities steer clear of doing that) use judgement about citing them and definitely attribute the information.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.