Professional Conduct Guidelines

Bay Area Travel Writers

Code of Professional Conduct

Rev. 6 (3-8-15)


As an organization of professional travel writers and photographers, Bay Area Travel Writers (BATW) is committed to promoting the highest standards of journalism and professional conduct among its members. In support of this commitment, BATW:

  • Endeavors to foster the development of members’ professional skills;
  • Promotes respect for the cultural and environmental integrity of the global destinations that members visit, write about and photograph;
  • And herein sets forth clear principles of professional conduct for its members.

Upon joining BATW all members agree to adhere to these principles throughout their membership and acknowledge that failure to do so may result in disciplinary action, including reprimand, suspension and, for egregious misconduct, termination of membership.

By virtue of your membership in BATW, you are an informal BATW ambassador even when you are not at a BATW-sponsored event (particularly if you have cited your BATW membership as a credential for participation).


  1. To maintain and encourage high standards of professional journalism, BATW members shall refrain from:
  • Engaging in libel, slander and plagiarism;
  • Misrepresenting their markets, credentials, or assignments;
  • Engaging in any other conduct that brings discredit upon BATW or harms its reputation or professionalism.
  1. BATW members should accept press trips only if they have a genuine professional interest in the destination and a reasonable prospect of subsequently having an article, photo, book entry, or broadcast, published or transmitted. To this end, members should:
  • Not deliberately misrepresent the status of an assignment in order to secure participation in a press trip.

While attending a press trip, luncheon, reception or other hosted event developed by, for or in conjunction with BATW, the member should:

  • Refrain from conduct or unreasonable demands upon the host that reflect badly not only upon that particular member, but upon BATW; as examples:
    • Do not request free transportation if it is not offered;
    • Do not request free meals if they are not offered;
    • Personally pay for all services reasonably considered either as (a) personal or (b) over and above services voluntarily provided by the host;
    • Follow attendance procedures outlined by BATW or the host (for example, if non-BATW guests are required to pay a fee, don’t ask for an exception to be made).
  • Respect the standards of the local community and culture;
  • Arrive in a timely manner for all functions;
  • Attend all scheduled events unless cleared in advance with the host.
  1. For BATW to function as a professional, volunteer-run organization, members must interact in a professional and courteous manner when participating in any BATW activity or meeting. If inter-personal problems develop between members, those involved must prevent the problems from affecting BATW in a negative manner.

If such problems cannot be resolved privately and in a reasonable manner, then a member may file a complaint with the Professional Standards (Ethics) Committee, if appropriate. Alternatively, members may request informal mediation of a dispute with another member from the Committee.

  1. In presenting an accurate picture of a destination, BATW members realize their primary responsibility is to their audience, not to their sponsors.

BATW has established a procedure to address situations in which members violate the Code of Professional Conduct and/or engage in conduct considered detrimental to the best interests of the organization. A member or host may request a copy of the complaint procedure from and subsequently file a complaint in writing to

Copies of the detailed complaint procedure can be obtained by writing to