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Striving for transparent editorial and ethics policies and finances


The Notebook is committed to becoming transparent about its finances and its editorial and ethics policy. The Notebook is a member of the Investigative News Network, which urges a high level of transparency for its member nonprofit news organizations.

Please let us know if you have questions about any of this information or suggestions on how to improve our transparency. Thank you.

I. Financial transparency

The Notebook is reviewing its policy on making donor information public. Foundation supporters are listed in each print edition and online. In addition all individual donors and organizations who give $1,000 or more during a calendar year are listed.

The Notebook is fiscally sponsored by the Investigative News Network, and it does not file its own Form 990.  These are some details the Notebook would need to share on a 990:

Number of board members: 10
Total number of employees: 7 (5 full-time, 2 part-time)

Total revenues, 2012-13: $845,352
Contributions and grants: $642,413
Program service revenue: $69,200

Salaries, other compensation, employee benefits: $442,951
Professional fundraising fees: $3,000
Other expenses: $280,919

Total assets (June 30, 2013):  $219,883

No employee makes more than $100,000 per year.
Reportable compensation from the organization for key employees:
     Director Paul Socolar: $74,763

II. Notebook editorial and ethics standards  (Adopted December 2010)

Independence, not for profit:

1. The Notebook is not affiliated with any political party or sectarian organization.

2. All funders contributing to the Notebook do so with the understanding that they do not make editorial decisions or control the content on the site in any way. The Notebook strives to maintain a broad diversity of funding sources and streams so that it is not heavily dependent on particular donors or advertisers who might want to exert editorial control.

3. The Notebook is a nonprofit organization and the individuals who work for it do not seek or accept any material financial benefits from the sources they cover.


Accuracy and integrity

1. The Notebook works hard to ensure that in all our content, news and commentary, we have our facts straight and that we provide necessary context for understanding of issues. We post and make corrections when errors are identified.

2. We avoid conflicts of interest and do not tolerate fabrication or condone deceptive practices in reporting.

3. We are committed to respecting individual human dignity, treating subjects and sources ethically.



1. The Notebook embraces diversity and inclusiveness in our hiring practices, volunteer bodies, and operations.  A news organization that is diverse at every level will be better able to serve the diverse communities involved with Philadelphia schools.

2. We are an equal opportunity employer.



1. The Notebook is committed to operating as a news organization in a transparent, open fashion. We will provide disclosure of our operations and practices beyond what is required by law or custom

2. We are open with information about our finances and all our sources of funding.


Advocacy and point of view

1. The Notebook is a mission-driven publication - explicit about its belief that public schools play a vital role in a democratic society, its commitment to support greater quality and equity in public education, and its support for a strong voice for parents, students, educators, and communities in school improvement. As a watchdog, the Notebook monitors and questions educational officials and other public officials on their commitment to these same values.

2. Notebook editorials, columns, and blog posts may advocate for a variety of educational positions consistent with those basic values. But the Notebook is also committed to being a trustworthy news source and providing news articles that apply principles of fairness and balance and reflect a range of points of view. The Notebook clearly distinguishes between these articles and commentary/opinion pieces that advocate a point of view, which should be labeled as such.

3. The Notebook limits its lobbying activities to support for efforts to access information and to press freedom issues.


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