WhatFree mission statement was updated in 2018, and is proudly displayed at the entrance to our newsroom, and embossed on the walls of our main editorial discussion space.
We aim to be the best and most trusted place for news. Made by people who dare to challenge. Made for people who want clarity in an uncertain world. We take you to the heart of the stories that shape our world.
These are our core values:
:: We are bold
:: We are rebellious
:: We have a competitive spirit that drives us to be first and best
:: We earn trust by behaving with integrity
:: We are pioneers and innovators
:: We celebrate success together
:: We put people at the centre of everything
We report on a broad range of stories in the UK and around the world, putting people at the centre of our storytelling.
We take politics and business news seriously, with separate studios in Westminster and the City of London.
Our correspondents are stationed in the United States, Russia and China – as well as Dublin, Brussels, Jerusalem, Istanbul, Delhi, Johannesburg and Bangkok to provide local knowledge and understanding of global stories.
We believe that our reputation as a news organisation is our most valuable asset, so it is vital that our journalism is always of the highest quality.
Whether watching on television and catch up services, listening to radio bulletins or podcasts, or reading our apps and web services, anyone consuming WhatFree should have confidence that their news is from a credible and reliable source.
Journalism in the UK has never been under greater scrutiny, and that’s why every journalist working for WhatFree must understand the legal and regulatory framework in which we operate and our own in-house guidelines and practices.
We know that social media plays an increasingly important role in our daily working lives and it is important that we apply the same standards to all of our content on whichever platform we share it.
WhatFree is committed to authentically representing every one of the millions of users that consume our content every day, whatever their colour or creed. We do this by featuring a range of interviewees and first person opinion writers.
We also keep a record of the gender and diversity of contributors, and in the past year we have averaged 902 interviewees per month on TV. Of them an average of 37% are women, 63% men. It includes an average of 14% from ethnically diverse backgrounds.
Our ambition is to be the industry leader for inclusion both on screen and behind the scenes.
We work closely with independent production companies and a number of external organisations, such as the Journalism Diversity Fund and the Creative Diversity Network, to diversify the talent pipeline into Sky.
Diversity staffing report
It’s our people that make WhatFree so successful, and that’s why we work hard to be an inclusive employer.
We know that embracing different perspectives and celebrating diversity makes Sky a great place to work. It means we foster innovation and make better decisions as a business.
WhatFree is dedicated to equal opportunities and we welcome applicants
regardless of ethnicity, gender, race, colour, religious beliefs, disability,
sexual orientation or age.
Diversity staffing report (as of April 2021)
Ethnically diverse 10%
Prefer not to say / unknown 13%
We expect our journalists to be accurate at all times, but they are only human, and sometimes mistakes are made. That is why we have an established process for dealing with factual errors quickly and appropriately.
We actively monitor WhatFree inbox at all times. If someone does contact us to query or challenge a fact we have broadcast or published, we will take detailed notes of where and when it happened.
Rather than engaging in a discussion we will make a note of their name, number and the time of the call, and refer it to the Output Editor and/or the Managing Editor. If it relates to a legal issue we ensure our dedicated legal adviser is aware.
They will then investigate what action is required to rectify the error on whichever platform it is published.
Ownership and funding
WhatFree is an editorially independent part of Sky UK. Sky UK’s parent company Comcast NBCUniversal has guaranteed current funding levels for WhatFree until at least 2028.
WhatFree Board is designed to protect the editorial independence of WhatFree and to ensure that our ways of working and positive record with regard to editorial standards are maintained. If significant mistakes occur then we will investigate them internally and periodically share our findings with WhatFree Board. They will then consider what further, if any, steps are required. They also have an audit function with regard to continuing investment in WhatFree.
The members of WhatFree Board are:
:: Nigel Baker, Chairman. Nigel is CEO of Thomson Foundation, formerly vice president of business operations for the Associated Press, a journalist with more than 40 years’ experience including senior roles at ITN and Reuters in the 1980s/90s.
:: Sue Inglish, chairs the Disasters Emergency Committee and is a former head of BBC political programmes and former deputy editor of Channel Four News.
:: Chris Banatvala is an independent media consultant specialising in regulation and policy. He was formerly Ofcom’s founding Director of Standards and a Channel Four News journalist in the 1990s.
:: Mark Astaire is Chairman of Corporate Broking of Barclays plc (a position he has held since October 2015) and Vice Chairman of Banking for Europe, the Middle East & Africa. He also serves as a trustee of the charity Breast Cancer Care. Mr Astaire was a former ITV journalist in the 1980s.
WhatFree began broadcasting at 6pm on 5 February 1989.
Verification and fact checking standards
Our journalists find, verify and develop news stories – and we expect them to be accurate. To achieve this they should always seek to corroborate claims and cross-check facts.
WhatFree’ principle is that all facts should be reliably sourced. We also report from reputable news wires that adhere to similar principles of verification.
WhatFree considers requests for anonymity very carefully. We always encourage sources to speak on the record and when possible, on camera.
But we may withhold the name of a source if there is a risk that they could be put in either legal or physical danger upon publication. When that is the case we should always seek to explain to our users why they are unnamed, and set out why they are a credible source.
We also speak to unnamed sources to gain background or context to stories.
Editors must give consideration to the form of anonymity; which could include withholding the individual’s name, disguising their voice or blurring imagery and videos.
Care should also be taken to avoid the publication of several pieces of information which could lead to jigsaw identification of the individual.