Ethics and Policy

It is our goal to always be accurate and balanced. To that end, we do our best to vet our stories as professionally as possible. However, this effort is clearly limited by the size of our staff and the fact that we are volunteers.


Society of Professional Journalists 

Code of Ethics

Winchester News subscribes to the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) code of ethics, SPJ believes that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate fair and thorough. The four principles of ethical journalism are to

An ethical journalist acts with integrity. and we believe that fundamental to ethical journalism is being accountable and transparent in our work. Our journalists should:

Editorial Independence Policy

We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News.  Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We 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 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.


Donor Transparency PolicyWe are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization.  Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse 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. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates as a public trust, we do not pay certain taxes. We may receive funds from standard government programs offered to nonprofits or similar businesses.


Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors or any revenue source. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review or edit content. We will not accept donations from sources who are deemed by our board of directors to present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.


In addition, our board of directors, while advisors, do not make editorial decisions. Those decisions are at the sole discretion of the editor then in place, regardless of whether the editor is a volunteer or a paid employee.

As a news nonprofit, we avoid accepting charitable donations from anonymous sources, government entities, political parties, elected officials, or candidates seeking public office. We make public all revenue sources and donors who give $5,000 or more per year. 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. Winchester News subscribes to INN’s Donor Transparency principles and policies and will attest that no more than 15 percent of its total annual revenue will come from anonymous donors.


Winchester News

Conflict of Interest Policy

The following Financial Conflict of Interest Policy (“Conflict of Interest Policy”) is an effort (i) to ensure that the deliberations and decisions of Winchester News are made solely in the interest of promoting the quality of journalism in the state of Massachusetts and (ii) to protect the interests of Winchester News when it considers any transaction, contract, or arrangement that might benefit or be perceived to benefit the private interest of a person affiliated with Winchester News (each, a Winchester News Representative). As used in this Conflict of Interest Policy, a Winchester News Representative includes any director, advisory board member, financial advisor, legal counsel or employee.

Each Winchester News Representative owes a duty to Winchester News to advance Winchester News’s legitimate interests when the opportunity to do so arises. Each Winchester News Representative must give undivided allegiance when making decisions affecting the organization. Similarly, Winchester News Representatives must be faithful to Winchester News’s nonprofit mission and are not permitted to act in a way that is inconsistent with the central goals of the organization and its nonprofit status.

Gifts.  No Winchester News Representative shall personally accept gifts or favors that could compromise his or her loyalty to Winchester News. Any gifts or benefits personally accepted from a party having a material interest in the outcome of Winchester News or its employees by a Winchester News Representative individually should be merely incidental to his or her role as a Winchester News Representative and should not be of substantial value. Any gift with a value of $250 or more, or any gifts with a cumulative value in excess of $250 received by a Winchester News Representative in any twelve-month period from a single source, shall be considered substantial. Cash payments may not be accepted, and no gifts should be accepted if there are strings attached. For example, no Winchester News Representative may accept gifts if he or she knows that such gifts are being given to solicit his or her support of or opposition to the outcome or content of any Winchester News publication.

Conflicts of Interest.  The following are examples of conflicts of interest which must be promptly disclosed to Winchester News Board of Directors pursuant to Section 4 below by any Winchester News Representative with knowledge of such conflict of interest:

Conflict Procedure:

Personal LoansWinchester News may not loan to, or guarantee the personal obligations of, any Winchester News Representative.

Editorial Policy, Paid Advertising

The Board of Directors of Winchester News, Inc. has set out the policy for political advertisements appearing in Winchester News. Our commitment to serving the whole community with impartial, fair, and inclusive local news coverage is the model that we will apply to considering political ads in our news outlet.


Accordingly, Winchester News will not accept paid political advertisements. We will, however, offer every candidate running for a local elected office a free quarter-page “signature” ad that will appear two weeks prior to a given election. A candidate’s “signature” ad is a list of community members who have indicated their support for a candidate.