In seeking financial support, we promise to uphold the following standards:
- We will identify all donors and sponsors who give more than $5,000 on our website. This both maintains transparency and gives us the opportunity to promote those who provide the most support.
- We are a nonprofit organization, which means this publication belongs to the people of the community. We have a 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service designation, which means your donations to us are tax deductible. We do not pay certain taxes because of this designation.
- Donations and gifts to this organization largely fund journalism. We are a lean operation, so that is the bulk of our expenses. Funding also maintains our website, purchases of equipment needed for audio/visual recordings, and administrative costs, such as our website’s domain name, email addresses and phone lines.
- Financial contributions to our publication in no way affect our editorial decisions.
- Our financial supporters do not have the right to review, edit or assign editorial content.
- Any time an entity or person who is considered a major contributor to our organization ($5,000 or more) appears in an article we publish, we will make note of that in the story. We hope the people who fund our endeavor are people who live in the community and therefore likely have an interest in the community’s success; therefore, it’s likely that we’ll write about major contributors from time to time. We will tell you about it for the sake of transparency, not because it has any influence on the coverage itself.
- We will refuse any financial contribution that presents a conflict of interest or presents a real or perceived threat to our organization’s independence. Part of our board of directors’ role is to police such possible conflicts and threats. Examples of this include anonymous sources, government entities, elected officials, or candidates seeking public office or political parties. Basically, if the intent behind the donation or gift seems to be trying to influence the publication’s editorial process, we will refuse it, and probably write a story about it.
- Elected officials are not able to be major donors to OCN (contributing $1,200 or more in a calendar year). Elected officials, or those with close ties to them, cannot serve on OCN’s Community Advisory Board or its Board of Directors.
- Acceptance of financial support from an entity does not imply endorsement of their products, services or opinions.
This document was drafted by our staff and incorporates ideas and best practices from reputable organizations including the Oklahoma Watch and SpokaneFāVS, with input from Trusting News, a national program aimed at understanding and improving trust in news outlets.