Editorial policy

Chytomo is an independent media outlet whose editorial policy is not influenced by business or governmental structures. The development of our editorial policy is determined only by our team, the board of the Chytomo NGO.

This document is not set in stone, but rather dynamic, adapting to social, political, and cultural processes, while addressing the challenges and difficulties faced by the editorial staff. The editorial policy is grounded in international journalistic standards and reflects the experience of the editorial staff and the recommendations of the Chytomo Expert Council. The Editor-In-Chief and Development Director are responsible for updating the editorial policy.

What do we do?

Chytomo fosters a community united by a shared love of texts and visual culture. It serves as a platform for communication and discussion for participants in the publishing industry, literary and artistic processes, reader communities, and specialized institutions that formulate and implement cultural policy or creature cultural programs.

Chytomo is based in Ukraine, where it initially focused on covering the Ukrainian literary scene and book market. Since 2022, Chytomo has expanded its scope to offer a closer look at book publishing and the literary landscape in Central and Eastern Europe and the so-called "small markets." Additionally, it aims to support the visibility of book communities, noteworthy events, authors, and publishers that contribute to intercultural dialogue.

Our editorial policy is guided by our mission and values.

What are our topics?

Publishing news and trends all over the world with a focus on local markets

While "big" language markets such as the English-speaking Commonwealth, Spanish, German, and French markets have always been covered in professional media, we believe that "small" cultures offer unique perspectives on European history and its future, contributing to the diversity and richness of European culture. We also aim to highlight the small publishing and creative businesses that go unnoticed by the mainstream media, despite the high quality of their content, while supporting young voices and innovative approaches.

Culture of reading

First and foremost , we explore the culture of reading books, reading as leisure, self-education and personal growth. We are interested in the change in reading habits around the world, the variety of reading practices and formats that readers choose: paper, electronic or audiobooks. Additionally, we delve into industry reforms, successful initiatives promoting reading, innovative business practices, and the preferences of people who read and inspire others by their example.

People read more than just books, so we also explore broader topics related to reading practices and information consumption. Additionally, we place importance on discussing reading as a means of countering disinformation, especially the debunking of imperial, colonial, and populist myths, and as a tool to develop critical thinking skills. All of this is also within the scope of Chytomo's mission.

The art of book publishing

We value books equally for their content and form, and when they combine, we can talk about an art object. The visual component of book publishing is important to us, so we pay attention to book design, fonts, lettering, and illustrations (see the "Watch" section).

But good style, editing, translation, and proofreading are no less art, so we talk about all kinds of activities related to the publication of a book.

Who do we work for?

We cater to readers who are eager to discover local literature and learn about news from "small" creative markets, in particular from the Eastern Partnership, Balkan and Baltic countries. Our mission is to enhance visibility among these readers and foster connections within these communities.

These include:

  • So-called “small language groups”
  • Countries that suffered from colonization: forced adoption of the colonizer's language, religion, and cultural practices
  • Countries lacking English-language media about books and literature in their domestic market
  • Countries seeking to redefine national identity and move away from colonial narratives.

Our primary focus is on "professional readers," i.e., specialized audiences — literary agents, Slavists, librarians, publishers, editors, authors, translators, illustrators, booksellers, and teachers — all those who can use Chytomo's materials to establish partnerships and promote reading. We strive to bridge the gap between specialized organizations to promote small market literature and increase their visibility.

In addition, we aim to work for newcomers to the creative industries, literary creativity, and book publishing. We take pride when Chytomo's materials become teaching materials for students of specialized universities, or are cited in diploma papers and research.

We work to ensure that our audience discovers literature in its finest forms, including high-quality translations and aesthetically pleasing editions.

It is important to note that we will not endorse books our experts consider to be of poor quality, even if we are writing about this book as part of a partnership.

Editorial structure

You can learn more about the Chytomo team in the About Us section. The News section is the responsibility of the News Editor, all original articles are the responsibility of the Executive Editor, and articles created in partnership are the responsibility of the Special Projects Editor. The Editor-In-Chief is responsible for the content of the entire site. Freelance writers are supervised by the Executive Editor and the Special Projects Editor. The Editor-In-Chief and the Development Director are responsible for adherence to the editorial policy and its revision, and they also propose mechanisms for its adjustment.

What standards does the editorial team follow?

The editorial board strictly adheres to international standards of journalism, ensuring the following principles:

  1. Balance of opinions: We aim to represent all parties involved in a conflict, ensuring proportional representation in terms of both semantic and quantitative indicators. We avoid marginalizing any party, refrain from taking quotes out of context, and focus on the essence of the conflict. Expert opinions are unbiased, and experts are not affiliated with any party involved in the conflict. We strive for approximately equal representation of the parties.
  2. Accuracy: We prioritize providing accurate information by specifying dates, names, positions of speakers, names of organizations, and other relevant details. We aim to present information with precision and fact-check where necessary.
  3. Efficiency: We value efficiency in our reporting, delivering information in a concise and effective manner while maintaining clarity and journalistic integrity.
  4. Separation of facts from comments: We distinguish between factual information and opinions, ensuring that comments are properly attributed within quotation marks. We avoid using value judgments, overly descriptive language, or brightly colored words. Our focus is on presenting information objectively and without unnecessary embellishment.
  5. Reliability: We prioritize reliable sources of information and clearly specify the sources used in our reporting. We consider the credibility and track record of the sources, avoiding reliance on obscure individuals or social media groups. Our commitment is to provide accurate and trustworthy information to our readers.
  6. Completeness: We aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of events by addressing the reasons behind them and their potential implications. Our reporting seeks to answer the questions of why something has happened and what its consequences might be.

By adhering to these principles, we strive to maintain the highest standards of journalistic integrity and provide our readers with reliable, informative and balanced reporting.

The editorial team also adheres to the BBC's values in journalism: audience trust; freedom of expression; independence; serving the public interest; fairness and accuracy; impartiality; protecting the socially vulnerable groups; avoiding unjustified offenses; and respecting privacy.

We appreciate feedback from our audience and encourage them to report any errors they may come across by reaching out to us at chytomo@gmail.com

How do we verify the information?

In our news reporting, we always fact-check and utilize reliable sources, avoiding any value judgments. Our team values accuracy, fairness, efficiency and exclusivity.

We place importance on obtaining exclusive information directly from the original source whenever possible. However, we prioritize the quality of our materials over speed, and therefore, we do not publish unverified information.

When publishing polls and ratings, Chytomo only relies on trusted sociological organizations. We do not publish data from companies that have a history of publishing questionable polls or engaging in covert PR for politicians over the past 15 years, according to Texty.org.ua regarding Ukrainian companies and individuals, as well as relevant monitorings in other countries.

Chytomo publishes statistics from official sources. Statistics provided by individuals or companies are verified by the editors by sending inquiries and taking comments from experts in the respective field.

What changes did the war in Ukraine bring to editorial policy?

  • We strictly refrain from sharing any materials that justify and promote Russian aggression against Ukraine or other countries; that repeat, support or mindlessly spread disinformation, including that of Russian origin; that call for the surrender or destruction of Ukrainians (as well as other peoples, states suffering from colonial aggression of other states or peoples). Since the start of the full-scale offensive, we have begun to pay more attention to the rights of writers, translators, journalists, and scholars, who are dying and suffering from the hands of the occupiers around the world. In this way, we show solidarity and emphasize the importance of conveying the truth.

In our texts and public communications, we have a zero-tolerance policy for the following

  • Racial discrimination, xenophobia, violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes statements that criminalize certain territorial or ethnic groups, statements about moral defects, inferiority of a certain group of society, mentioning a group or its individual representatives in a derogatory or offensive context, etc;)
  • Sexist and misogynistic statements and actions that belittle the role of women or men, non-binary individuals, objectify individuals based on their gender;
  • Unjustified excessive use of profanity that could offend a potential readers (except for purely artistic purposes );
  • Unjustified depiction of violence and victims of violence, if such content could traumatize individuals against whom criminal acts have been committed or their relatives. However, Chytomo does not "gloss over" the consequences of violence in wars, murder, and torture of people, if the editorial board deems it necessary for public disclosure and believes that the benefits of sharing such information outweigh the potential harm of remaining silent;
  • Justification of piracy, plagiarism or any violation of the law and consumer rights;
  • Calls for the violent overthrow of the state system, violation of Ukrainian legislation or infringement of the territorial integrity of states, whose sovereignty and borders are recognized in Europe;
  • Direct or indirect justification of Russians for their crimes against the people of Ukraine, Kartvelian (Georgia), Lithuanian or any other people and statehood;
  • Support for colonial narratives and stereotypes that devalue, diminish or distort the significance of the culture or historical heritage of any people, race or other community;
  • Involving children or adolescents in the material without the consent of their parents, guardians or other person legally responsible for the child or adolescent (e.g., a school principal);
  • Unwarranted interference with privacy, including when reporting on disasters, emergencies, riots or war. We do not engage in defamation or harassment.

We also do not tolerate disrespectful attitudes toward the Chytomo editorial office, its mission, values, employees and authors.

All of the above applies to both the publications of writers and user-generated comments on Chytomo’s social media. Comments that violate this policy will be removed.

At the same time, we remain open to publishing opinions that differ from the editorial position.

How much exclusive content does Chytomo produce?

Chytomo places a significant emphasis on publishing its own content. All articles are exclusive, we do not publish materials that have been published on other media resources, except for cases where we have obtained permission from the copyright holders to translate and publish articles in different languages.

We do not publish press releases or advertisements of companies without appropriate labeling.

Approximately 10% of the news content consists of exclusive reports, and another 30% of the news is based on primary sources. We try not to cite sources that have compromised themselves, i.e., have a track record of published false or inaccurate information, or whose news contains manipulative practices.

Respecting copyright guidelines, we always provide clear attribution to the sources of our news, including information from other media outlets, or images, photos, and illustrations that we utilize in our articles.

What formats does Chytomo have?

Chytomo’s traditional formats include news, summaries, interviews, reviews, essays, blogs, news monitoring, etc.

Chytomo’s analytical materials should be as argumentative as possible, with authoritative opinions and facts separated from commentary.

Our analytical pieces are grounded in data, incorporating comparisons with other countries or historical periods . Comments and opinions are supported by facts.

Chytomo provides reports from important book industry events – fairs, festivals, exhibitions, etc. When Chytomo journalists are invited to cover these events the content of the text and its critical perspective are not influenced by the event organizers.

Our reports are typically written on-site at the event which is stated at the end of the article. If an article about a certain event is written by a journalist based on comments from those present at the event, but the journalist was not attending, this is explicitly disclosed at the end of the article, and the article itself is not labeled as a report.

In addition, we are always open to experiments and innovative approaches in the presentation of information

How do we cover conflict situations?

Chytomo approaches the coverage of conflict situations with a commitment to impartiality, balance, and objectivity. If a journalist or editor of Chytomo cannot guarantee impartiality, favors or disfavors one of the parties to the conflict, or has a conflict of interest related to the topic being covered, he or she must inform the editor-in-chief. In such cases, another person will be assigned to cover the topic to maintain objectivity.

Covering a conflict does not imply taking sides, particularly if the positions taken do not contradict the values of the editorial board and allow for discussion At the same time, we believe that issues that undermine the position of Ukrainian culture and identity, the Ukrainian constitutional order, or human rights cannot be the subject of an impartial discussion.

Although it may affect efficiency, Chytomo endeavors to seek comments from all parties involved in a conflict before publishing news related to the conflict. If a party refuses to provide a comment, this will be noted in the publication along with the reason for the refusal.

In some cases, a balance of opinions can also be achieved by providing comprehensive background information, including hyperlinks to other materials on the topic.

How do we avoid conflict of interest?

Members of the editorial board and Chytomo writers must clearly declare personal, political, or business interests before embarking on a project or working on a text. If they have such an interest, they are excluded from participarting in the creation of relevant materials or decision-making of the NGO Chytomo.

We also do not publish articles about a book or work written by the author, publisher, editor, or other persons involved in its creation.

How do we work with authors and content creators?

The editors value the work of each team member and external staff, and recognize everyone’s contribution to the creation of a project or text. Chytomo always indicates the author at the beginning of the article, with a short biographical note placed on a separate page. At the end of the articles, the editorial staff indicates the team that worked on the text – editor, translator, illustrator, designer, etc.

Authors or other content creators may use a pseudonym if they wish. The editorial staff respects their decision and does not disclose their real names without their consent. Chytomo never provides journalists' contacts to third parties without the journalist's consent, nor does it publish or distribute other private data.

For authors who are working with the editorial board for the first time, we may ask for documentary evidence of work experience, diplomas confirming the appropriate level of expertise, or, if necessary, letters of recommendation from external experts.

How do we work with anonymous sources?

According to our editorial standards, a source can only be anonymous only if the information provided is of significant public importance and naming the source could endanger their life or health. In such cases, Chytomo takes full responsibility for the information obtained from the anonymous source. We try to verify the authenticity of the information from the source in other ways (for example, using the tips in the verification guide).

In an article that utilizes an anonymous source, it is obligatory to indicate the name of not only the journalist but also the editor who worked on the text. We try to explain the refusal to comment, not just state it.

How do we work with automatically generated content?

The editorial team prefers exclusive content created by the intellectual and creative efforts of employees who are qualified to perform editorial tasks. However, we do not exclude the use of AI-generated content.

If an author uses AI to co-create a text, we reserve the right to determine whether such a text should be labeled "created with the help of AI (indicating a specific tool)", provided that the text is not fully generated and is not positioned by the author as a work of art or a part of it. Otherwise, labeling is required.

If an illustration was created using Midjourney or another text-to-image AI, we ask for an acknowledgment of its use, which is indicated at the end of the article. We use the same approach to audio and video formats.

How do we label ads and native publications?

Chytomo offers various advertising opportunities for partners.

When a partner orders content, it does not guarantee a biased style favoring the customer, and the content must not contain distorted facts. The publication of content created in partnership is possible only if such material meets the interest of Chytomo’s audience and contains useful information, in the opinion of the editorial board.

Partners can be commercial companies, public organizations, institutes, or other media. Native and promotional materials are marked with the message "Material created in partnership."

Native and advertising materials may feature additional graphic elements using the partner's brand book or logos.

Donor organizations, partners, and individuals who provide financial support to Chytomo have no influence on our editorial policy or editorial processes. Our cooperation with our partners is based on mutual trust, honest dialogue, and shared values. We fulfill our obligations to them within the framework of individual projects, but this does not give any third-party organizations or individuals the right to interfere with the work of journalists, impose their opinions on the editorial board, or censor them.

As part of our commitment to transparency, Chytomo publishes an annual report on its work and sources of project funding, which is available under the tag "Summaries" (in Ukrainian, from the end of 2023 the annual report will be available in English).

How do we pay fees for materials?

We discuss the amount and method of remuneration with the authors in advance.

The amount of the fee does not depend on the volume of the material, but on the elaboration, depth of the topic, exclusivity of the content, and the inclusion of comments and analysis.

If an author proposes a text as their own initiative, it will be eligible for payment. If the topic and elaboration of the material comply with the editorial policy, and the publication was pre-approved by the Executive Editor.

How do we distribute the content published on Chytomo?

We respect the right of every author to be read and seen by the audience for which the text or other content was created. In addition, we strive to communicate important news to the widest possible audience. That is why the editorial board may grant permission to news aggregators and partner media to utilize our materials.

The use of author's publications is always discussed with the editorial board, which reserves the right to grant or deny permission to publish in each instance.

Selected content is also distributed in Chytomo's newsletters, which you can subscribe to using the website's home page. The editorial staff does not collect, buy or provide email addresses for sending newsletters, but uses only those addresses with which it has direct contact and which have voluntarily agreed to receive the newsletter. Each subscriber has a guaranteed right to unsubscribe from receiving emails from Chytomo.

How do we correct errors?

We view every mistake as an opportunity to learn and improve our practices, ensuring that they are not repeated in the future.

If an article has been edited after publication to correct an inaccuracy in the material, we add a note about the amendment or correction at the end of the text with the date of the change. If the error is small and does not affect the content (for example, a misspelling of a word), the correction is made without an additional note.

If a news item is changed or significantly updated, and there is not enough information for a new news item, the headline of the relevant story should say so: Updated, Corrected. For example, A new reading strategy has been approved in Ukraine (Updated).

All our materials published on the Internet become part of a permanently accessible archive and are not deleted. The only exceptions to this general rule are for legal reasons, a risk to personal safety, or a serious violation of editorial standards that can only be remedied by removing the material.

If for some reason the editorial office has published a fake news item, it can be removed with an apology on at least three relevant social media channels of the editorial office. We also try to communicate errors to individuals or organizations that are directly affected by the false information.

All errors are corrected as soon as possible after they are discovered. Corrections are made while maintaining the link and the section where the material was published.

Final provisions

The editorial team encourages team members to continuously learn through external trainings, which are voluntary. This approach enables us to meet the challenges faced by Chytomo, update our methodologies and work practices, and review our editorial policy. Any team member can initiate a review.

The editorial policy is a mandatory document that is provided for review to all those who work with us on a regular basis.

If you see deviations from the editorial policy in Chytomo articles or have suggestions for revising certain points in it, please write to us at chytomo@gmail.com