VIN News Service Frequently Asked Questions

August 6, 2019 (published) | October 27, 2021 (revised)

VIN News Service staff

What is the VIN News Service's relationship with VIN? Are you its public-relations arm?
The Veterinary Information Network is an international online membership community for the profession founded in 1991. VIN added a news service in 2008 to investigate and communicate news of interest and importance for and about veterinarians and their patients, and to amplify in the public arena the voices of veterinarians working in the trenches.

The purpose of the VIN News is not to provide public relations for VIN. The news service operates cooperatively with but independently from other VIN departments. Consideration of stories about VIN projects are judged by the same news criteria as story ideas from any other source. 

What is the role of VIN co-founder and president Dr. Paul Pion?
Paul works closely with VIN News, offering perspective, serving as a sounding board and suggesting story ideas. Anyone who knows Paul knows he has a wealth of knowledge and is not shy about giving his opinion. If he thinks a topic is important, he will say so. However, Paul does not dictate story coverage or story approaches. Those decisions are made by VIN News editors. 

VIN's motto is "for veterinarians, by veterinarians." Are you veterinarians? Why are VIN News stories published publicly?
Most members of the VIN News reporting team are not veterinarians. We are writers and journalists by training and experience. See Meet the news team for details.

VIN News stories are published publicly because part of our mission is to share veterinarians' perspectives with the public. 

I have something to say about a story. Where can I post a comment?
VIN members can comment on stories in members-only discussion boards on We do not host public reader-comment sections. These require a moderator to ensure that the discourse remains relevant and civil. We lack the staff to provide the necessary moderating. We do accept letters to the editor. See our letters policy. We are also always happy to receive feedback by email sent to  

How are VIN message boards used by VIN News?
As VIN employees or contractors, members of the VIN News team have access to message boards. One of our jobs is to help answer factual questions posted by members. We also read message boards to learn what concerns and interests veterinarians, to aid our understanding of issues that are important to veterinarians, and to educate ourselves on the wide range of perspectives held by veterinarians. The message boards also are a valuable source of potential news topics.

Ever mindful that the message boards are confidential within the VIN community, we do not quote from any post, with or without the poster's name, without the writer's explicit permission. Occasionally, we might give a general characterization of views expressed on message boards without first contacting the discussants, but only if the description is not specific to any particular post(s). 

I would like to advertise on VIN News. How do I go about that?
VIN News does not accept advertising. We are supported solely by the members of VIN (more than 95,000 at last count). Like VIN, the news service is noncommercial. For that reason, we tend not to write stories about products and services unless there is a compelling news angle. 

How do you decide what to cover?
Our team is small, so we have to be selective. There are always more good ideas than we are able to get to. We prioritize subjects that aren't well-covered by other media and topics that can benefit from veterinary perspectives. 

Do you accept story suggestions?
Yes. Send your ideas to

If I'm asked to be an information source for a story, what can I expect?
If a reporter contacts you for comment, that means they believe you have expertise or a viewpoint that is valuable to an article. If you do not wish to participate, for whatever reason, it is your right to decline. If you agree to participate, you'll discuss with the reporter when and how you will communicate. It could be in person, by phone, by video call, by email, by text, by messaging app or a combination.

To ensure accuracy, VIN News follows a fact-checking procedure in which sources are re-contacted, usually by email, to review passages in which they are quoted or paraphrased, including context. The review is for factual correctness only and is not an opportunity for sources to revise their words for political or marketing purposes. However, if they misspoke, such as by giving inaccurate information initially, or if the reporter misheard or misinterpreted a statement, the review enables them to identify any errors before they're published.

Does the check-back with sources compromise your reporting?
On the contrary, the fact check is intended to improve our reporting by making sure what we publish is accurate. The fact-check step helps to build trust between reporters and sources, which also contributes to better and more informed reporting.

Do you accept articles from outside contributors? Will you link to my website or blog?
We regularly work with freelance journalists and will consider unsolicited articles from other writers for possible publication as commentaries. Because VIN News occupies a peculiar niche (veterinary news is not all about puppies and kittens), we encourage anyone wishing to contribute to contact us first to discuss the proposed topic and approach. Most of our commentary writers are veterinarians or people who work closely with the veterinary community. We link on our homepage to a select few blogs; we do not link to outside websites. 

I would like to reprint a VIN News article or graphic. Do I need permission?
Thank you for asking! Please see our reprint policy

How do I contact you?
Reach us at We'd love to hear from you.

VIN News Service commentaries are opinion pieces presenting insights, personal experiences and/or perspectives on topical issues by members of the veterinary community. To submit a commentary for consideration, email

Information and opinions expressed in letters to the editor are those of the author and are independent of the VIN News Service. Letters may be edited for style. We do not verify their content for accuracy.