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The Video Consortium

Code of Conduct

All members of The Video Consortium, Inc (“The Video Consortium,” “Video Consortium,” “VC”) must comply with the guidelines detailed within this document, the contents of which apply to both real-life and virtual interactions. As a member, you agree that you have read and will follow the rules and guidelines set forth here. With any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at community@videoconsortium.org.

This global community is built on respect, truth, equity, thoughtfulness, empathy, and the advancement of the art and practice of nonfiction video storytelling. The Video Consortium takes those who disregard these values seriously, and anyone who violates these values may be expelled, sometimes immediately and as explained in detail below, from the community.

About + Mission
The Video Consortium is a global nonprofit media organization that connects the world’s nonfiction filmmakers and video journalists to tell bold stories that catalyze positive change. As the premier professional nonfiction video network by and for filmmakers, our global and regional programs democratize the media landscape, foster compassionate storytelling, support creative growth, and inspire audiences worldwide.

Our mission is to connect the world’s nonfiction filmmakers and video journalists — the people who tell our stories and inspire change in our communities through rigorous reporting and the visual craft. We envision an inclusive media ecosystem in which reporting teams reflect communities, fair pay is the norm, and creators are holistically equipped to tell today’s most pressing stories.

Applicability and Scope
Our growing membership base is one of our huge strengths, but it can also lead to communication issues and discord. To that end, we have a few ground rules that members must adhere to. This isn’t an exhaustive list of things that you can’t do. Rather, take it in the spirit in which it’s intended — a guide to make it easier to enrich all of us and the non-fiction video communities in which we participate.

This Code of Conduct applies to all members, organizers, volunteers, and contractors, and to all spaces managed by the Video Consortium. This includes the VC social forums, Slack channels, events, and any other forums created by the Video Consortium which the community uses for communication or interaction in any form.

As a member, you agree that you have read and will follow the rules and guidelines set forth here. If you believe someone is violating the code of conduct, we ask that you report it by emailing community@videoconsortium.org. For more details please see our Reporting Guide (below).

Toward a Welcoming and Safe Environment
We hope to create an environment in which individuals from diverse backgrounds can collaborate and interact in a positive and affirming way. Examples of behavior that contributes to creating this sort of environment include:

  • Being friendly and patient
  • Using welcoming and inclusive language
  • Being respectful of differing viewpoints and experiences
  • Trying to understand why, if, and when we disagree
  • Showing empathy towards other community members

Anti-Harassment Statement
This is a professional community, and we work in a field in which tough questions and hard-earned answers are the norm. When heated arguments arise, they will not be censored. However, we must continue to participate in tough debates and discussions as professionals who are eager to engage as much as they are to listen.

This community will not tolerate harassment of any kind. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Profane, defamatory, offensive, or abusive language
  • Unwelcome sexual attention
  • “Trolling” or posting deliberately disruptive statements meant to hijack comment threads or throw discussions off-track
  • Attacks on specific groups or any comments meant to harass, threaten, promote violence, or abuse an individual
  • Hateful or discriminatory comments regarding race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or political beliefs or any other characteristics or attributes protected by applicable law
  • Links or comments containing sexually explicit content material (work within reason allowed)
  • Promotion of illegal activity
  • Spam, link baiting or files containing viruses that could damage the operation of other people’s computers or mobile devices
  • Acknowledgement of intent to stalk an individual or collect private information without disclosure
  • Violations of copyright or intellectual property rights, including, without limitation, claiming another’s work as your own work
  • Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior
  • Expressing political and ideological beliefs in the context of hiring practices
  • Repeated harassment of others. In general, if someone asks you to stop, then stop
  • Any other content determined to be inappropriate, in poor taste, or otherwise contrary to the purposes the Video Consortium or any of its board members

In sum, the Video Consortium has a zero-tolerance policy for racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and any other form of prejudice. Concurrently, we recognize, as individuals and as a nonprofit, that we’re constantly growing and learning. Any member who violates this policy will be asked to address and repair any harm caused or, as appropriate, expelled from any kind of involvement.

Inappropriate Behavior
Membership to the Video Consortium is a privilege that can be revoked at any time if a member behaves inappropriately. Inappropriate behavior is defined as any behavior that is not in alignment with the principles and values of the Video Consortium and its members, which includes but is not limited to the examples of harassment set forth above. As representatives of the organization, members’ conduct is not limited to a VC context — be it in online forums or in-person gatherings — but includes any activity on personal social media profiles and behavior in professional work settings.

Job Postings, Hiring Practices, & Solicitation

  1. Job Postings
    The Video Consortium recognizes and appreciates that some members may be employers intent on promoting the representation of traditionally underrepresented or specific voices in the documentary film and journalism industry through its hiring practices. It’s legally important that job descriptions comply with applicable laws. Members may “encourage” members of specific groups to apply in their job posts, but in doing so should comply with anti-discrimination statutes and as well as policies contained in this Code of Conduct.

    Here’s an example of a posting that would comply with legal requirements:

    “We’re looking for an editor. Female BIPOC encouraged to apply.”

    For individuals' own legal liability, job postings should comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s rules and regulations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), and state and city laws, which are applicable to particular postings. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin (For more information on what types of posts may cause the posting member to be subject to liability under Title VII, see the Title VII Compliance Manual).

    Additionally, it’s an individual's responsibility to comply with all local regulations regarding job postings. For example, the standard under New York City Human Rights Law, which is stricter than federal law, prohibits discrimination for reasons of race, color, creed, sex, age, ethnicity, national origin, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, citizenship status, genetic information familial status (including pregnancy), gender identity, lawful use of any product or lawful recreational activities when not at work, military status or service, observance of Sabbath, political activities, use of service dog, prior arrests or criminal accusation, prior convictions, domestic violence victim status or any category protected by law from time to time. It’s an individuals’ responsibility to educate themselves about standard hiring practices within their local jurisdiction.

    The Video Consortium will not be liable for any job posts by individuals that violate any anti-discrimination statutes under any applicable law. Under 47 U.S. Code § 230, the Video Consortium is not responsible for individuals’ postings, however, in certain instances reserves the right to remove any post on the member forum, which, in the sole discretion of the Video Consortium or any of its Directors or Organizers, violates the policies set forth herein.

    Please note that none of the above is legal advice. The Video Consortium again encourages individuals to educate themselves about hiring practices.
  2. Hiring Practices
    If an individual is hired through a posting within the Video Consortium’s forum, or through connections found in our community, it is expected that the individual, upon satisfactory completion of the job, will be paid on-time and in full. It is also important to bear in mind that any violations of the Video Consortium’s code outside of our digital and physical spaces may affect a person's ability to participate within them. The Video Consortium stands behind the respect of — and for the rights of — freelancers.
  3. Soliciting External Services
    VC is devoted to creating meaningful relationships among its members. Companies or individuals may not send general solicitations for goods or services to individuals within the general Video Consortium population. Companies may not add VC members’ email addresses to their marketing lists, without individual VC members’ permission. If any of the above occurs, individuals or company representatives from that company may be subject to expulsion.

Reporting Guide
If you believe someone is violating the code of conduct we ask that you report it to the Video Consortium by emailing community@videoconsortium.org. All reports will be kept confidential. In some cases we may determine that a public statement will need to be made. If that's the case, the identities of all potentially aggrieved parties and reporters will remain confidential unless those individuals instruct us otherwise.

If you are unsure whether the incident is a violation, or whether the space where it happened is covered by this Code of Conduct, we encourage you to still report it. And knowing about incidents that are not violations, or happen outside our spaces, can also help us to improve the Code of Conduct or the processes surrounding it.

In your report, please include:

  • Your contact info (so we can get in touch with you if we need to follow up)
  • Names of any individuals involved. If there were other witnesses besides you, please try to include them as well
  • When and where the incident occurred. Please be as specific as possible
  • Your account of what occurred. If there is an available record (e.g. Facebook forum or Slack channel) please include a link or a screenshot
  • Any extra context you believe existed for the incident
  • If you believe this incident is ongoing
  • Any other information you believe we should have

What happens after you file a report?
You will receive an email from the VC’s Community Manager acknowledging receipt, and they will follow up within 72 hours. A VC team member will meet as soon as possible to review the incident and determine:

  • What happened
  • Whether this event constitutes a code of conduct violation
  • Who the bad actor was
  • Whether this is an ongoing situation, or if there is a threat to anyone's physical safety

If this is determined to be an ongoing incident or a threat to physical safety, VC’s immediate priority will be to protect everyone involved. This means we may delay an "official" response until we believe that the situation has ended and that everyone is physically safe.

Once the working group has a complete account of the events, they will make a decision as to how to respond.

Responses may include:

  • A private reprimand from VC to the individual(s) involved. In this case, a team member will deliver that reprimand to the individual(s) over email, cc'ing the entire group
  • A public reprimand. In this case, a team member will deliver that reprimand in the same venue that the violation occurred (i.e. in Facebook forum for a Facebook forum violation; email for an email violation, etc.). The team may choose to publish this message elsewhere for posterity
  • A permanent or temporary ban from some or all Video Consortium spaces (Facebook forum, events, etc.). The team will maintain records of all such bans so that they may be reviewed in the future, extended to new Video Consortium forums, or otherwise maintained
  • Taking no further punitive action (if we determine no violation occurred)

Once we've determined our final action, we'll contact the original reporter to let them know what action we'll be taking. We'll take into account feedback from the reporter on the appropriateness of our response, but we don't guarantee we'll act on it. We will be unable to follow up if the incident was reported anonymously.

Finally, VC will make a report on the situation to the Board of Directors. This group may or may not choose to issue a public report of the incident.

Any of the parties directly involved or affected can request reconsideration of the VC’s decision. To make such a request, email community@videoconsortium.org at with your request and motivation and VC will review the case in subsequent meetings.

Last updated September 20th, 2021.