Surgical Times launched in July 2021 as an industry-independent, privately-funded outlet aimed at providing objective and informative plastic surgery news. It is not affiliated with or financed by a plastic or cosmetic surgeon or practice, or an industry device manufacturer.
We believe the most important coverage we can provide to the public are accurate and informative articles on topics of risk, safety, industry practices that are poorly known or poorly understood, and patient or provider stories that often but not always tend to act as a counterpoint to widely-established narratives.
This is the classic and long-established “man bites dog” view of journalism, where the unusual and infrequent are reported more often exactly because they are so infrequent—and, since stories of the opposite help sell expensive legal, professional, and personal services, they are already told so often and by so many.
However, we recognize we mustn’t be so short-sighted, tunnel-visioned, or limited in perspective that we fail to report the helpful, the human, and the ordinary. Or so inane as to suggest ‘all men bite all dogs,’ or that dogs themselves don’t bite.
We state that not to anthropomorphize the people and subjects we write about in any way, but merely because expanding on a statement made when journalism was in its infancy seems helpful in letting readers know what we cover, what we don’t, and why.
With original news reporting so rare and news regurgitating or rewriting so frequent, we aim not to be the most frequent publisher, but to publish the most helpful and important stories we can.
Celebrity cosmetic surgery stories fall lowest on our reporting rungs; safety and standards on our highest, roughly speaking.
We intend to be or become the “paper of record” in cosmetic surgery but recognize we are far from that today. Our balance sheets help explain why: the ads you see, which we try to keep to a minimum, are so relatively non-remunerative that even many major, national outlets are going under today, as news deserts grow exponentially, and as America’s oldest papers are forced to lay off large percentages of their workforce.
So our focus is not on publishing the greatest number of reports, but on the value of what we do report.
Surgical Times welcomes commentary on any of its articles, tips on news or stories related to the industry, reader letters and/or op-eds, and it considers requests it receives to correct, update, or append its previously published stories. Readers may contact us through any of the following means:
It is our policy to investigate and correct errors in our reporting the moment we learn of them.
If you feel we have reported something in error, please email us at email@example.com.
We strive to provide fully accurate reports of the topics we cover. Where we get it wrong, we appreciate reader efforts to inform us of such, and we work promptly to reverify our reporting or to correct our inaccuracies.
Our corrections policy begins well before we publish an article, by verifying facts, and reaching out to persons who are the subject of our stories. In alignment with the SPJ Code of Ethics, we make great effort to contact the people who are the subjects of our coverage. These attempts are typically made in direct ratio to a) the import or severity of a story, b) the nature of the party involved, such as whether they are a private individual, all-purpose public figure, or limited-purpose public figure, c) the nature of the story itself, d) the timeliness of the story: how important is it that readers are aware of this now rather than later?
In stories of alleged ethical or legal violations, we often reach out over the course of months, and seek out multiple way of reaching people, in addition to reaching out to government agencies or departments, and other industry experts.
In all cases, we strive to reach out on channels and within timeframes that are on par with or better than industry-accepted standards.
In stories that are already “viral” or that have already been the subject of national news, we typically invest additional time and effort into contacting the subjects of these stories, particularly when their positions or comments have yet to be successfully solicited or heard by other outlets.
When we correct or update an article, we add a dated note to the article that explains what was corrected, how, and what we learned of when looking into why the error occurred.
A synthesis of Surgical Times policies not meant to be comprehensive.
“The Elements of Journalism, Revised and Updated 4th Edition: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect,” by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel (Crown, 2021), and the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics are perhaps the best overarching descriptions of the standards, values, and procedures we strive always to uphold.
- “Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.
- Its first loyalty is to citizens.
- Its essence is a discipline of verification.
- Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
- It must serve as a monitor of power.
- It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
- It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.
- It must present the news in a way that is comprehensive and proportional.
- Its practicioners have an obligation to exercise their personal conscience.
- Citizens have rights and responsibilities when it comes to the news as well—even more so as they become producers and editors themselves.”
The entirety of the latter half of the Associated Press’ Stylebook (🔗), which covers reporting technique, tips, and standards, also influences in many ways how we report what we do.
Readers who feel a story from the Times violates these values are welcome to comment upon it directly, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write a letter to the editor.
LIMITATIONS TO OUR REPORTING
Surgical Times acknowledges that, like most or all modern media outlets, it operates with certain limitations, which in the interest of transparency it believes readers should also be aware of.
Our reporting may cover matters about which we initially have little or no direct knowledge. For instance, our reporters operate and write from within the United States only, yet we may cover stories from abroad and even at home which we were not present to witness.
Recognizing these limitations is the first part of overcoming them, or thoroughly compensating for them, which we work to do by thoroughly reviewing facts reported by other well-established news outlets, identifying potential discrepancies, or obtaining court documents and other data from behind paywalls and at our cost, and always seeking to reach the source of the story.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND USER-GENERATED CONTENT
How we approach social media content sources.
Given the day and age we live in, social media may be a source of a story we publish, just as it is for most modern national and local outlets.
In some cases, a first-party social media post is the source and substance of an article of ours, in which case we typically assign it to a category we call “Doc Talk.” (🔗)
When social media or other “user-generated content” is the primary subject of our story, we work to verify it, and to present it within the context most likely to be of value to readers.
This might entail including sources that suggest something to the contrary, or that support the initial claim being made, the verification of facts, and presenting the commentary with reference to the status it holds relative to peer-reviewed literature, or other authoritative sources.
If a social media post or user-generated content source is merely informational and doesn’t allege or imply wrongdoing, we will usually not reach out to the creator of the content if the story appears complete.
If a social media post or user-generated content source makes or discusses substantial claims or events, requires clarification, or leads to a bigger picture our readers should be aware of, we will reach out to its creator and other parties.
ARTICLE TITLES, IMPLIED AGREEMENT
Our headlines intend to convey the ‘core story,’ not our own stance or position on a topic.
Like many newsrooms, our team often writes about things with which it may not “agree.” But our role is to faithfully report what was done or said, when, where, by whom, and why it matters. Within reason, that also means our journalists should leave their own stance or opinion on the matter out of the story.
An unintended implied-agreement is most often seen, when it is, in article titles, which seek to concisely convey the “core story.”
We do our best to craft headlines that are of interest to those whose lives they may impact, while avoiding “click-bait” and other tactics entirely. Our primary focus is relaying events, opinions, and statements as faithfully and accurately as they occurred, which is what our articles aim to and should reflect.
We are not perfect and don’t pretend to be: chastise us in an article comment (they’re open!), or email us.
To cite a non-inflammatory example, Surgical Times has published articles on “the best” surgeons in the industry or within a specific geographic or demographic. In doing so, the Times itself is not claiming these surgeons are “the best,” nor suggesting they or others are not “the best.”
Instead, we are merely reporting on the results of a (usually high-profile) third-party poll of the industry, its providers, or patients; or are reporting the results of our own numerical comparison, the source and methodology of which we should describe and link to, so that readers can determine how we arrived at the ratings we did, and whether the information remains current.
We link to the original data sources our articles draw on.
In keeping with established internet protocol and the right of individuals to be recognized as the creator or source of their ideas, statements, actions, and other creations, Surgical Times links out to the sources of information its news reports draw on or reference.
Surgical Times does not accept “guest posts,” or any similar “link-building” offers, but it does welcome Op-Eds from patients, providers, and others.
External links from the Times are not intended as and should not be construed as endorsements.
Our news gathering, reporting, and writing is all done solely by real people. Surgical Times does not publish AI-written content or articles, nor use AI-writing services in any part of its process.
STORY TIPS AND PITCHES
News and story tips are welcome at email@example.com. We decline covering tips and stories of a purely or primarily promotional nature, though we do republish press releases of particular interest or importance (🔗). We invite interested readers to consider whether they require the services of a publicist, which we are not, or an objective news outlet, which we are.
Comments on articles are welcome. Posted in real-time, they may be subsequently moderated.
Surgical Times welcomes opinion article submissions on all aspects of the practice of plastic surgery. For details on the articles we accept for publication as well as what we require of them, please visit Submit an Op-Ed (🔗).