As an organization of media professionals dealing specifically with food, wine and travel, the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) recognizes the necessity of the strongest possible adherence by its membership to the highest standards of ethics, professionalism and courtesy in the profession.
Membership in IFWTWA assumes that the member, for himself or herself, for the organization’s own reputation, and for the industry as a whole, shall abide by these standards of ethics in his or her professional careers, as outlined in this Code. IFWTWA hereby asserts its right to set certain recognized standards in these areas, to enforce these criteria upon its membership and, periodically, to scrutinize members accordingly. Failure to adhere to this Code may result in expulsion from the organization or in other disciplinary action.
Areas of specific concern include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Objectivity, prejudice, and accuracy
Food and travel journalism must be accurate and free of unwarranted bias or unwarranted prejudice.
Members shall use the most severe efforts to avoid compromising recognized journalistic ethics when receiving complimentary food, travel, lodging, or related items (“comps”).
At all times, particularly with respect to the mores of other cultures, members shall treat their colleagues, host countries, and hosts with common courtesy, such courtesies including “thank you” correspondence, ample notice in the event of cancellations, and forwarding evidence of media treatment to the subject host.
- Plagiarism, Representation
Plagiarism or representation of first-hand knowledge when there has been none, or fraudulent use of a byline, is unacceptable.
Professional courtesies from an entity that the recipient knows before hand he or she cannot or will not be exposing in the media shall not be accepted, subject to the reasonable possibility of future exposure, unless the donor is made aware of such a situation. Whether the recipient or the donor has initiated such a situation is inconsequential.
In the event of receiving food or lodging “comps,” unless the host has specifically indicated otherwise, the recipient shall tip as though he or she were paying the bill.
As a food guest, unless a menu has no prices, only a reasonable, representative sample of food or spirits should be ordered, preferably by asking the host, waiter and/or wine steward to assist in ordering.
- Professional Associates
Anyone other than a fellow professional directly involved in the story shall not be included when receiving “comps” such as travel, lodging, meals, and services unless the host extends/approves the inclusion. Accompanying individuals are held to the same standards.
- Attendance and Scheduling
When signing up for a conference or media trip, attendance at ALL events is expected, unless there are special circumstances, which have been approved by IFWTWA and host ahead of time.
- Alcohol Consumption
Those members who drink alcohol should do so in moderation, when suggested by the host. Do not request a cocktail unless offered and then only one. If the host orders wine, that is the wine to drink unless they request your recommendations.
- Dietary Restrictions
Special dietary restrictions should be advised on the application. This may mean a lighter meal. The host will be advised but cannot guarantee special needs.
- Grievances and Special Requests
At all events, members shall avoid making critical comments about hosts. Any reasonable request or legitimate criticisms should be directed to the IFWTWA coordinator.
- Sexual Harassment
Members shall not engage in unwanted or inappropriate comments or actions of a sexual nature towards members, hosts, or anyone else.
- Special Health Needs
IFWTWA will make every effort to accommodate members with disabilities and/or health problems. However, members are expected to be in good enough health to travel and participate in scheduled events of a given trip. If they are not up to the scheduled activities, the hosts should be advised. It is their decision if they have the ability to accommodate these needs.
- Mobile Phone Etiquette
While on trips, we request your phone be on vibrate or off. Ignore calls unless you are expecting an emergency one. In that case, please leave the area to take the call. No chatting should be carried on with family or business associates, while at an activity, dinner or lunch. While on the bus, if you use your phone when the host is not speaking, please be considerate of others and keep your voice down. Using your PDA for promotional purposes of the area and productive media promotion is fine.
- Privacy and Confidentiality
Members shall keep legal matters, personnel or personal matters, contractual negotiations, ethics charges and hearings, and other proprietary information confidential. Members shall abide by IFWTWA’s policy of its database as confidential.
- Misuse of Membership
If hosts on trips other than IFWTWA-sponsored trips complain about an IFWTWA member’s conduct, the Board will consider such accusations and bring them to the member’s attention. If it is determined, there has been blatant misuse of the IFWTWA affiliation and card, the consequences specified below could apply.
- Other Items
In addition to the above Code of Conduct and IFWTWA bylaws, members are expected to abide by supplemental instructions and guidelines issued for individual trips.
By reading the above Code of Conduct, members understand and agree that failure to adhere to them can result in IFWTWA’s Board revoking the privilege of attending future trips or can cause immediate loss of membership, depending on the severity of the infraction(s).