Editorial Independence Policy

Donor Transparency:

Harpswell News subscribes to the standards of editorial independence required by the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN).

Harpswell News 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, organizations and foundations to help with our general operations, coverage of specific topics and special projects through our fiscal sponsor, The Holbrook Community Foundation. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates as a public trust, The Holbrook Community Foundation does not pay certain taxes on these gifts. We may receive funds from standard government programs offered to nonprofits or similar businesses. Our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.

Harpswell News also may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but we maintain editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.

Harpswell News will make public the names of all donors by published lists (either print or online), as we subscribe to INN’s recommendation related to anonymous gifts:

Note: Transparency is at the root of our rule against anonymous donors. According to the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), The Trust Project has researched what consumers consider when deciding to believe a news item or source. Knowing the identities of an organization’s funders was an important factor in consumers’ judgment regarding a news outlet’s possible “agenda” and whether it could be trusted. The trust that transparent newsrooms build with the people they serve is one of the greatest advantages of nonprofit news media, and a best practice that INN believes supports democracy and civic engagement.

INN and its member newsrooms are committed to building public trust through best practices that recommend making public the names of all individual and corporate funders and ensuring that anonymous donations do not provide a material portion of a news site’s revenue. Exceptions are carefully considered. In that way, journalism remains editorially independent and it assures the public that nonprofit news sites are not dependent upon or shaped by high levels of anonymous funding.

As a news nonprofit, we do not accept charitable donations from anonymous sources, government entities, political parties, elected officials or candidates seeking public office. We will not accept donations from sources who, deemed by our board of directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.

Reporter Funding Disclosure

We will disclose any funding arrangements for a particular story or reporter at the end of articles.

Samples of such disclosures (with thanks to The Conversation – theconversation.com – a nonprofit, independent news organization dedicated to unlocking the knowledge of experts for the public good):

Anne Cafer receives funding from Carnegie Foundation, Walmart Giving Foundation. Meagen Rosenthal receives funding from Walmart Giving Foundation, Eshleman Institute for Innovation: Discovery Grants Program, Mississippi Department of Health, UNC TraCS Institute (pilot grant).

Nicholas Tampio does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Sponsorship

Harpswell News reserves the right to accept or decline any sponsorship it is offered.

Harpswell News will decline to accept sponsorships that it knows or believes to be misleading, inaccurate, fraudulent or illegal, or that fails to comply, in Harpswell News’ sole discretion, with its standards of decency, taste or dignity.

Harpswell News, like all quality publishers of original journalism, maintains a clear separation between news and sponsorship content.  Sponsorship that attempts to blur this distinction in a manner that, in the Harpswell News’ sole judgment, confuses readers will be rejected.