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Reader Information

Our Editorial and Operational Policies

Please visit our "About Us" page if you'd like information about the mission and direction of this publication, details about our editorial expertise or information about writing for or advertising on this site.  

That said, following are important policies for our general readers. Accessing of any of our pages, reading any article or gathering travel information from this site constitutes acceptance and understanding of these policies.  We have listed a date after each policy, and when and if the information is updated that date will change.

We encourage all of you to read these policies. 

  • Blog and Trip Reports
  • Accuracy of Editorial Information
  • Reader Responsibilities when Planning Travel, Booking Travel or Going on a Trip 
  • Reader Complaints about Travel Suppliers
  • Our Privacy Statement
  • Other Information

Blog and Trip Reports Policy (Effective and updated 2/26/07)

We welcome your freeback on any blog topic, a travel supplier, your own vacation experience if its pertinent to our readers, and general feedback about travel and tourism.

We will eagerly consider using your comments in our travel blog as well as for a reader trip or cruise review. If you're a budding travel writer, here is your chance to show your abilities and create buzz among your friends and family.

If you do submit blog comments or trip report feedback, the information will not go “live” immediately. All feedback is reviewed for appropriateness. No profanity or "screaming" comments  will be published. 

We seek insightful responses that may assist other readers. We greatly appreciate all comments but we have limited space so we only have the ability to run a sampling of responsesWe cannot promise that any information submitted will be used. We will consider using comments and trip reports that may appeal to our audience or add insight to a particular issue. But that is solely at our discretion.

Regrettably, we lack the staff to notify readers about whether information will or won’t be used. But we thank you in advance for any responses you do submit. All feedback is valuable. All will be reviewed carefully.

If you submit comments, you should know that the comments may be used publicly without further contact to you on our part. We may elect to use only a small portion of your comments or trip reports. We retain all rights to edit, either for style, format or content appropriateness.

We do not pay in any way for any reader feedback or trip reports, blog comments or cruise reviews, even from someone considered a professional writer (unless that writer has a specific contract provided by us in advance of any project). When you upload comments or trip/cruise reports, you  accept that you will not receive any renumeration.

If we do use your comments or article, for privacy/identity protection we will only use your first name or Internet "handle" as well as your city or region (i.e. Tom from Memphis,, TN or cruisegirl34 from Mississippi). We will not reveal your full name, address, or email address to any other reader or list it publicly; that is only for our informational purposes in case we need to contact you with a question or to reverify something in what you have submitted.

We are unable to put readers in touch with one another. Also, you should be 13 or older to provide publishable feedback.

Accuracy of Our Information (Effective and updated 2/26/07)

This publication is an online newspaper. It's produced solely as a journalism product. We strive to do our best to publish accurate travel information for readers.

As a result, we contract only with professional travel writers or journalists to create the main site content. Our writers are highly experienced. They have provided good credentials for travel and tourism writing. They also have good travel industry contacts -- critical for gathering accurate information for stories.

Many of our contracted writers are members of the Society of American Travel Writers (an accredited organization that writers may join only after extensive experience and membership approval). 

We also do not allow our writers to work for any travel suppliers in any capacity. They only do freelance work for travel or mainstream media organizations. If we find any writer has an accuracy problem or receives monetary renumeration from any supplier, that writer will be dropped immediately from our pool of freelancers.

In most cases we also use professional copy editors for review of the copy. We will correct any inaccuracies we find online (correcting facts not style)within a reasonable time after discovery. We will investigate any reports of inaccuracy reported by a reader, travel writer or an industry supplier if we are able to verify this information upon further checking. We wish our information to be as accurate and factually helpful to readers as possible.

That said, errors can and do occur in any journalism venture, even the best ones. Major daily newspapers offer "corrections" on a daily basis. We strive for accuracy but if any errors do occur, we'll correct the piece as soon as possible.  

Reader Responsibilities When Booking or Considering A Vacation Purchase, Trip or Cruise (Effective and updated 2/28/07)

With all the above taken into consideration, we accept no responsibility to readers for something they read in one of our stories and then act upon in terms of planning for or booking a particular trip or travel outing. While we strive for accurate information, this newspaper should never be used as your sole resource for travel planning.

Our assessment is that readers should use the services of a qualified professional travel agent when booking any travel. Most agents do not charge for booking vacation packages, resort vacation stays or cruises. There may be a slight charge for booking an air ticket or providing other services but the value-added services they provide are well worth the small fee. Always ask, though, about fees before committing to a travel purchase.

To find a list of agents, you might contact www.astanet.com for agent members belonging to the American Society of Travel Agents. Or, you might visit www.cruising.org to get a list of agents who are members of Cruise Lines International Association. These are two major professional groups that may help you in selecting a good travel agent for your travel needs. There are also other professional groups that may assist. Read our story on finding a good travel agent on the Travel Tips and Gear themed page.

When you visit SouthernTravelNews.com™ or our sister site SouthernCruising.com™ you also accept that if you opt to book based on any information within our site, you should first speak with a travel agent. You should ALSO consult multiple other resources -- such as online and mainstream travel publications, the Better Business Bureau and other reputable travel groups as needed BEFORE you expend any expense or effort in booking travel. It is prudent never to book any trip based upon one article or one publication alone. 

Do your homework thoroughly. The responsibility for decisions in planning, booking or participating in any type of travel activity rests solely with the reader. Many travel experiences are good or bad, based totally on the subjective approach of the individual.

As for suppliers mentioned in stories or shown as sponsors or in advertisements on this site or our e-zine: We make no recommendations for booking with any supplier. No supplier speaks for us. We do not directly sell any travel on this site. We assume NO liability arising from clickling advertiser links on this site. When you click on a sponsor or ad link, the transaction is then solely between you and that specific travel supplier. We assume no responsibility for the quality nor the outcome of those transactions. We do not have any ownership partnerships with other travel suppliers.

We offer news and views based on our own experiences, the experiences of travel industry sources and our freelance journalists. But in the end, only you -- after thorough evaluation, additional research and use of the types of resources mentioned above -- can decide whether it's right for you to make a specific travel purchase.

Reader Complaints About Travel Suppliers (Effective and updated 2/26/07)

Most local television stations and major daily newspapers have ombudsmen; these people may assist you with a travel supplier complaint. Your state attorney general's office also may help. Also, several other consumer travel sites have major "forums" for readers; this is a place to air travel complaints and hear responses both from fellow readers and travel suppliers. 

At this point, we do not have the staff to research such individual complaints and provide an adequate response. We do not offer "live" forums at this time.

That said, we may use a series of complaints on the same subject as fodder for a future story -- to alert readers to a particular issue. Or, we may report a travel complaint within a blog and ask for either travel supplier or reader feedback.

Privacy Policy (Effective and updated 2/26/07)

Your privacy is important to us. Therefore, we are pleased to provide this notice explaining our practices for online use of your information. This way you can make an informed decision about the use of our site.

Information We Collect

SouthernTravelNews.com™ and sister site SouthernCruising.com™ provide forms for reader feedback, general comments, blog comments and trip/cruise reports. In addition, we provide a button and sign-up sheet for readers to access a weekly e-zine we will begin sending, effective April 1. These forms do require some personal information to assure the validity of comments and information submitted.

The types of personally identifiable information that may be collected for this purpose include your name, address, email address and information about your interests and experiences with a vacation or trip, or questions about future trips, as well as other information we deem necessary to fulfill your requests.

If you choose to submit reader feedback, blog questions or trip reports (that may or may not be published), we may publish your screen name and other information you have provided to us, such as your home town. But we will generally not provide your email address, nor your full name, nor your full address including street number, although we cannot guarantee this.

We also may collect certain non-personally identifiable information from all readers using our site -- when they visit our individual web pages. For example, we may gather information about the type of browser you are using, whether that's Internet Explorer, Netscape or another browser. We also may gather information about the type of operating system you are using, such as Windows XP or Mac OS. We also may collect the domain name of your Internet service provider, such as Verizon or America Online.

At times, we may choose to use non-personally identifiable information that we collect so we may improve the design and content of our site. It may help us personalize your Internet experience, analyze site statistics or offer you products, programs, or services.

In addition, while the above privacy measures are in place to generally protect reader privacy, we may, at times, void those policies in response to legitimate requests from government agencies, law enforcement, a court order, subpoena or any other legal system process. We will also on a selective basis disclose information in response to to a government or law enforcement agency's request, or where we feel or are legally advised it's needed to investigate, prevent or take action related to illegal activities, suspect fraud, situation involving threats to the safety of any person, violations of our terms of use or as required by law.

We may also transfer information about you if we are acquired by or merged with another company.

Although we have reasonable measures in place to protect unauthorized disclosures of information, we cannot assure you that personally identifiable information that we collect will not  be disclosed in a manner inconsistent with this privacy statement.

We may on occasion combine information we receive online with outside records to enhance our ability to market to you those products or services that may be of interest to you. Those communications will have an opt-out option if you should wish not to receive those in the future. Or email us at admin@southerntravelnews.com with your contact information and say "remove from marketing lists."  

Cookies and Web Beacons

We may use cookies to help us understand site usage and to improve what's offered online. Cookies do not -- on their own -- tell us your e-mail address or other personally identifiable information unless you choose to provide this information to us, such as by filling out a feedback form or reader trip report. Once you do provide that personally identifiable information, however, it may be linked to the data stored in the cookie. We may use cookies to offer you products, programs, or services.

At times, we also may use "Web beacons" -- basically pieces of code placed on a Web page to monitor behavior and to collect data about how many visitors view a web page and for other purposes. For example, we might count how many visitors a day visit the North Carolina page. Or we might use a Web beacon to deliver a cookie to your browser.

Sponsors, Advertisers, Third-Party Sites and Ad Servers

Once you click a sponsor link or advertiser banner on our site, or if you click a Web link to a particular travel supplier or tourism organization on any page within our site, you will reach a site that may have privacy practices very different from our own. Readers should review those other sites' privacy notices as we have no control over information that is submitted to or collected by any third parties.

If we offer content that is sponsored or co-branded, the third parties may obtain personally identifiable information that visitors voluntarily submit to participate in the site activity. That might include a survey or contest. Again, SouthernTravelNews.com™ and SouthernCruising.com™ have no control over these sites and the third parties' use of your information.

At times, we may use a third party ad server (Google, for example) to present advertisements you see on our Web pages. These third party ad servers may use cookies, web beacons, clear .gifs or similar technologies to help present such advertisements. These techniques are also used for measurement and research purposes. Again, this is covered by the third parties' own policies not our own.

Our Security Practices

Our Web design firm, which handles our hosting, has assured us in writing that it has reasonable security measures in place to protect your private information. We also have virus protection and firewall protection programs in place on any computers used to upload information to our site and secure your information. 

Parents' Information 

This site is designed for general adult audiences but most material is suitable for those of any age. We generally will not divulge one reader's address or personal information to another reader, but there always may be exceptions should an inadvertent error occur. Again, online, we generally only use a first name and city or an Internet ID and city, not a street address or email or phone number. 

Contacting Us & Updates

Any questions? Email us at admin@southerntravelnews.com. 

This privacy information was posted on Feb. 26, 2007.

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