Our Editorial Mission
MuckRock is a nonprofit, collaborative news platform that brings together journalists, researchers and the public to request, analyze and share primary source data and documents in the public interest. In addition to its services, training and support programs, MuckRock’s news team works on original editorial projects, including both collaborative and independent reporting efforts on issues of public importance.
Editorial Ethics and Standards
Accuracy and Corrections
We will correct or clarify any data or information that is deemed to be inaccurate or misleading due to missing or incomplete context. If you have an accuracy issue with our journalistic work, contact us at email@example.com.
Impartiality and Disclosure
We will disclose any conflict of interest or the appearance of such in our journalism. We will never pay sources for access to news. We pay our own expenses and we will disclose any donor or staff financial conflict to any publicly-traded or privately-held company or asset referenced in our work.
We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.
MuckRock accepts 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.
We 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.
We make public all donors who give a total of $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 editorial staff and in compliance with our organizational standards.
You can read our staff biographies, including relevant disclosures.
MuckRock’s funders and financials, including 990s, independent audits and a list of donors over $5,000 are available here.
We aim for transparent methods of data collection and publication, including a rigorous cleaning, analysis, and fact checking process. We use a mix of publicly-available and original data, showing our methodology and any data cleaning or refining methods through open-data repositories and replicable reporting recipes.
We only use actual data that can be independently verified.
On occasion, we use or provide data estimates and modeling, created by or in collaboration with independent outside experts, for context and comparison purposes. We cite this information and label it accordingly.
Whenever possible, we provide direct access to our primary data and document sources, except in cases where providing such access would create a clear violation of personal privacy or identifiable risk of harm. When such information is withheld, we’ll disclose it.
Sourcing and Interview Definitions
All interviews with sources default to “on the record,” meaning that the identity of the source, the substance of the information provided and any underlying details and data can be used in our coverage with appropriation attribution.
On limited occasions, we will allow sources to provide information or data “on background,” meaning we would not identify the source of the information by name. This is only used when there is a specific identifiable and substantiated threat to the source and is only approved on a case-by-case basis.
We work to have our reporting and analysis available to a wide audience, often through distribution partnerships and syndication. If you are interested in republishing or adapting our work and it does not explicitly note that it is allowable for republishing, or if you would like clarifications about restrictions or to learn more about the underlying information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We ask that all republication and citation of our materials include a note that the reporting was originally published by MuckRock and include a link back to the original version. When republishing, this credit should be included at the top of the piece.
We publish certain stories, data and other assets under a Creative Commons license and most code and data analysis scripts under an open source license. You are welcome and encouraged to reuse these under the terms of the given license, but please ensure that you understand any restrictions. For example, certain Creative Commons licenses allow reuse but only if you do not edit the underlying material.
Also note that sometimes the text of a piece may be under one license but a header image may be under a different, restricted license, such as when we use a wire photo.
We also appreciate a heads-up about the spread and impact of our work, so please let us know if you republish or cite it.
We collaborate on journalism projects with partner newsrooms across the United States and the globe. Our journalism with partners is held to the same ethics policies and standards as stated above and, before entering into partnership agreements, we ask that collaborating newsrooms agree to this shared set of principles.
If you’re interested in partnering on a story or project with us, please email email@example.com.
MuckRock established this policy in accordance with standards developed by the Institute for Nonprofit News.