The Florida Center for Government Accountability provides guidance and assistance to any journalist seeking access to government information in Florida. The goal of FLCGA is to both facilitate and accelerate local on-the-ground reporting with critically-needed tools, expertise and knowledge using aggressive public records investigation and well-sourced quality reporting
JOURNALISM PROGRAM POLICY
Civic engagement is critical to a healthy and robust democratic society. Citizens rely on a variety of news sources for information essential to their ability to hold government accountable for its actions. Traditional news outlets, particularly at the local level, are facing pressures never before seen and are increasingly unable to meet the informational needs of the public due to limited and dwindling resources.
The goal of FLCGA is to both facilitate and accelerate local on-the-ground reporting with tools, expertise and knowledge using aggressive public records investigation and well-sourced quality reporting.
The FLCGA Journalism Program will contract independent journalists to produce stories, generated either from tips, our own independent research, or proposals from journalists. Stories produced by FLCGA journalists will be posted to The Center’s website and FLCGA will partner with established media to further disseminate these stories. FLCGA will compensate these journalists in the form of a stipend ranging from $500 to $5,000 depending on the anticipated length and complexity of the story. FLCGA may, at its discretion, pay half the stipend up front and half upon completion, or pay the entire grant upon completion and production of the story. The FLCGA Journalism program director, with assistance from the journalism program committee, will be involved in all aspects of the story from conception to editing to publication. FLCGA’s goal is both to inform the public and to contribute to maintaining a robust journalism culture with diverse voices throughout Florida at a time when the future of local journalism is uncertain.
FLCGA is equally committed to ensuring open access to public information by acting as a public records watchdog. The FLCGA Public Access Program will aid journalists who face obstacles obtaining government records that qualify as publicly available, whether contracted with FLCGA or not, and will diligently and aggressively challenge agencies and officials who impede access to public information.
The Center’s journalism committee reviews story proposals when necessary, oversees ethics compliance and conflict of interest standards, and helps maintain the focus and quality of the journalism The Center produces. The FLCGA Journalism program director serves as the committee chair and coordinates with The Center’s executive director, Board, and general counsel as needed.
The Florida Center for Government Accountability is committed to producing and supporting fair and unbiased journalism in the public interest in Florida.
As a non-partisan nonprofit, FLCGA relies on funding from a variety of sources: individual donations, foundation grants and event revenue. In all cases, however, FLCGA policy when it comes to editorial independence remains the same: All editorial decisions are made by our editors and journalists — and only our editors and journalists — in pursuit of any and all stories FLCGA deems newsworthy. Those who contribute to or do business with FLCGA do so with the understanding that they are not entitled to preferential treatment, and that their financial support does not protect FLCGA donors and funders from journalistic scrutiny. Whenever a story mentions a major funder or a member of our board of trustees, FLCGA will disclose that relationship in the story.
Corrections and Retractions
FLCGA strives to uphold the highest standards of accuracy. Still, we will make mistakes. When we do, we will correct the story and denote the story has been updated on the FLCGA website and social media accounts.
If a retraction is requested, the FLCGA journalism program director and executive director, in consultation with the journalism committee and general counsel, determine if retraction is warranted. When warranted, the retracted story is removed from the FLCGA website and social media accounts with the notation that the story was retracted.
On the off chance that the FLCGA journalism director and executive director determine that an original story contracted by FLCGA violates the intellectual property rights of another, FLCGA will immediately remove the offending story from its website and social media accounts, denoting that the story violated intellectual property rights.
If you believe we have made an error in a story or would like a correction or retraction, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sourcing & Attribution
FLCGA investigative journalists will do their best to identify all sources, granting individuals anonymity only when it is necessary to do so. They will also seek to identify relevant affiliations and known biases of their sources as they relate to a story, and they will always make efforts to contact the primary subjects and sources of criticism in their news coverage. FLCGA journalists will never misrepresent themselves or mislead a source to get an interview or a story. FLCGA does not pay for interviews.
Conflicts of Interest
FLCGA investigative journalists will not work on stories or projects in which they have a unique vested interest, financial or personal. They should avoid active, direct investment in companies or industries they regularly cover.
Secondary employment or freelance work by any of FLCGA staff or contract journalists must be cleared by the FLCGA Journalism Program Director to ensure the work does not conflict with FLCGA policies and responsibilities.
FLCGA employees may moderate panels or speak at events so long as their role is purely journalistic and comports with FLCGA policies and responsibilities. FLCGA employees, contractors and interns will not accept any gift from any company, individual or institution that may compromise FLCGA’s integrity or impartiality, or may damage its credibility. FLCGA always pays its own way when traveling for editorial purposes.