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Standards & Ethics

INN was founded on these principles and we make sure every organization that applies for membership adheres to them. Editorial independence and financial transparency are critical pillars of nonprofit journalism that aim to strengthen public trust in journalism. They help ensure that funders, partners and parent organizations will not influence a publication’s reporting. By becoming members of INN, organizations demonstrate that they follow industry-upheld standards.

Members are required to maintain a “firewall” between editorial practices and funding. We ask news organizations to uphold editorial independence and to post an editorial independence policy on their websites to let readers know the news organization’s reporting is not influenced by any funder, partner or parent organization. Editorial independence policies and practices may look different for every organization. We encourage you to consider them in depth with your board and staff.

Nonprofit newsrooms that are members of the Institute for Nonprofit News pledge to be transparent about the funding of their news operations and maintain editorial independence from all revenue sources to ensure news judgments are made in the interest of the communities they serve as journalists.

The journalism produced by INN members is in service to the public. Members agree to inform the public of their financial supporters. Financial transparency allows audiences to know that the organization conducts its business in an open manner. They can trust the newsroom is not accepting “dark money” that could influence its journalism. By making public all major funding, INN members help ensure reader trust in journalism.

As newsrooms serving the public, INN members agree to inform the public of their leadership structure by identifying the people making decisions for the organization, such as managers and members of administrative boards.

Members also agree to identify their journalists to inform the audiences of the people who are out in the community reporting the news.

INN members agree to commit to reflecting the entirety of the communities they serve. INN holds the responsibility to support, lead and model an equitable culture — staffing, leadership and journalism inclusive of the full range of people we and our members serve. We believe equity in news organizations and their coverage is fundamental to credible journalism.

INN members agree to be transparent about the information they gather from website visitors, how that information is used and what the organization does to protect such data.

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