Editorial Independence Policy
INJUSTICE WATCH depends on support from donors in order to do our work. We welcome supporters. But we state clearly: We will maintain our editorial independence.
As a member of the Independent News Network, we embrace the INN standards of editorial independence:
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.
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.
Ethical Conduct Standards
We recognize that our independence and integrity are of the highest importance. Employees and other representatives of Injustice Watch are provided the following guidelines as part of the employee handbook.
Injustice Watch employees and representatives:
- Are expected to follow all laws, and to act in legal and ethical ways at all times, and are expected to be mindful at all times of the need to conduct themselves ethically.
- Are expected to ensure that any product of their work is accurate, and a fair representation of their reporting.
- Should not provide gifts of value or inducements to sources or potential sources. It is improper to pay for information. What constitutes an “inducement” is not always clear: It is acceptable to take a source to lunch, for example. But Injustice Watch representatives are expected to practice caution in any situation that could create the appearance of having paid for information. If in doubt, ask the Executive Directors.
- Should not accept anything of value from sources.
- Should not misrepresent themselves.
- Should take care not to discuss unpublished work or research outside of the initiative. This applies to research being done by other members of the team, as well as one’s own work. It is generally inappropriate to discuss the topics of research, or the substance of that research, with friends or family; but especially in public settings or on forms of social media.
- Should not plagiarize, or engage in any other conduct that falls short of professional standards.
Professional news organizations generally bar participation in outside activities, to avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interest that can undercut the journalism. We recognize that an absolutely ban can be overbroad, and too restrictive. As a result, Injustice Watch will follow the following policy: All outside activities are to be reported to the executive directors, and Injustice Watch representatives will be prohibited from being involved in any aspect of reporting on subject matters that may represent actual or potential conflicts.
At all times, Injustice Watch representatives should consult with the executive directors. Further guidance is available from the SPJ Code of Conduct.
Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics
Injustice Watch is dedicated to providing non-partisan, accurate reports produced free from the influence of private financial interests. Our Conflict of Interest Policy, which we reported to the IRS, is reprinted below:
Definition of Conflicts of Interest. A conflict of interest will be deemed to exist whenever an individual is in the position to approve or influence policies or actions of the Corporation, or reasonably appears to be in a position to approve or influence policies or actions of the Corporation, which involve or could harm or benefit financially: (i) the individual; (ii) any member of his or her immediate family (spouse, parents, children, brothers or sisters, and spouses of these individuals); (iii) any organization in which he or she or an immediate family member is a director, trustee or officer or has more than a 10% equity or investment interest or the right to acquire an equity or investment interest of more than 10%; (iv) any organization in which he or she or an immediate family member has a compensation arrangement and (v) any other matter determined by the Board of Directors to be a conflict of interest. For the avoidance of doubt, service on the board of directors of another not-for-profit organization shall not constitute a conflict of interest.
Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest. An Officer or Director of the Corporation who becomes aware of an actual or potential conflict of interest (as enumerated in Section 4(a) above) shall promptly disclose to the Secretary of the Corporation the material facts surrounding such conflict of interest, including, for the sake of clarity, any specific information concerning the terms of any contract or transaction or contemplated contract or transaction with the Corporation and the person or entity with whom such Officer or Director has the conflict of interest; provided that, in the event the Secretary becomes aware of an actual or potential conflict of interest relating to himself or herself or a member of his or her immediate family, the Secretary shall disclose the material facts surrounding such matter to the Board of Directors. An Officer or Director of the Corporation shall disclose a conflict of interest as soon as possible after the Officer or Director learns of the conflict of interest and in every event prior to voting on or otherwise discharging his duties with respect to any matter involving the conflict which comes before the Board of Directors or any committee thereof.
Approval of Contracts and Transactions Involving Potential Conflicts of Interest. Prior to entering into any contract, transaction or arrangement involving an actual or potential conflict of interest, each Officer or Director who participates in the control over such contract, transaction or arrangement shall first obtain the approval of the Board of Directors, or an authorized committee thereof, with respect to the contemplated contract, transaction or arrangement. Prior to approving a contract, transaction or arrangement involving a conflict of interest, the Board of Directors or its authorized committee shall consider the material facts concerning the proposed contract, transaction or arrangement, including the process by which the decision was made to recommend entering into the contract, transaction or arrangement on the terms proposed. The interested individual(s) may make a presentation to the Board of Directors or committee with respect to any proposed contract, transaction or arrangement, but after the presentation, such individual(s) shall leave the meeting during the discussion of, and vote on, the contract, transaction or arrangement involving the actual or potential conflict of interest. The Board of Directors shall approve only those contracts, transactions and arrangements with terms that it determines in good faith are fair and reasonable to the Corporation and consistent with the best interests of the Corporation. Fairness includes, but is not limited to, the concepts that (i) the Corporation should pay no more than fair market value for any goods or services that the Corporation purchases or receives and (ii) the Corporation should receive fair market value consideration for any goods or services that it sells or furnishes to others. The Board of Directors or its authorized committee shall set forth the basis for its decision with respect to approval of contracts, transactions or arrangements involving actual or potential conflicts of interest in the minutes of the meeting at which the decision is made, including, if applicable, the basis for determining that the consideration to be paid is fair to the Corporation and any alternative contracts, transactions or arrangements considered by the Board of Directors.
Validity of Actions. No contract, transaction or arrangement between the Corporation and one or more of its Directors, or any of the persons related to such Director or Directors as described in this section, shall be either void or voidable solely by reason of (i) the existence of an actual or potential conflict of interest; (ii) the presence of such Director(s) at the meeting of the Board of Directors, or of the committee thereof, which authorized such contract, transaction or arrangement; or (iii) the counting of such Director(s)’s votes for purposes of authorizing the contract, transaction or arrangement, provided that the material facts as to such Director(s)’s interest in such contract, transaction or arrangement and as to any such conflict of interest are disclosed in good faith or known to the Board of Directors or the committee thereof which authorized the contract, transaction or arrangement, and the Board of Directors or the committee thereof authorizes such contract, transaction or arrangement by a vote sufficient for such purpose without counting the vote or votes of such interested Director(s). Common or interested Director(s) may be counted in determining the presence of a quorum at a meeting of the Board of Directors or committee which authorizes such contract, transaction or arrangement, although such interested Director(s)’s vote will not be counted in determining whether such contract, transaction or arrangement is authorized by the Board of Directors or respective committee.
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We will not share your name, email address or other personal information to anyone outside Injustice Watch without your consent, unless we are under a legal order to do so, or there is an emergency involving danger to a person or property. We may rely on service contractors, third party agents, subsidiaries, affiliates, and joint ventures that perform functions on our behalf, such as website hosting. They are contractually obligated to maintain the confidentiality and security of any personal information data to which they may gain access to perform their functions. They are restricted from using or altering this data in anyway other than to provide the requested services to Injustice Watch.
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We admire, and emulate, what ProPublica says about reprinting its work: “Steal our stories.”
We are a nonprofit created to help public understanding, and to seek to make citizens better informed about societal problems that cause injustice and inequity. The wider our research is spread, the better.
So we welcome reprinting of our reports, with appropriate and prominent credit. We do not, however, approve of our reports being sold or syndicated.