January 21, 2015

INN provides Policy on Editorial Independence for member organizations

The Investigative News Network is providing a new Policy on Editorial Independence for its member newsrooms.

The policy, approved by the INN board of directors during a meeting on January 5, 2015, is intended to set expectations for donors to member organizations and help ensure that they don't try to exert influence over the members' editorial process.

While there are many different business models among INN's more than 100 members, most nonprofit newsrooms are funded largely by philanthropic foundations and private membership.

Though it is entirely optional, INN suggests its members adopt the policy, post it on their website and provide a copy for each of their funders.

Policy on Editorial Independence for INN member organizations.

We subscribe to INN’s standards of editorial independence as follows:

Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We will maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.

Our organization also may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.

Our organization will make public all donors who give a total of $1,000 or more. We will accept anonymous donations for general support only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with INN's Membership Standards.

Download a template of the policy.