Our policies: editorial independence, donors, commenting, corrections, & letters-to-the-editor

Here are our policies on editorial independence, donor and funding transparency,commenting, corrections, and letters-to-the-editor.

The Mendocino Voice is an independently owned and operated local news outlet, established in August, 2016 and fiscally sponsored by Independent Arts & Media as of July, 2021.

Editorial independence and donor transparency policies

Our outlet follows the highest ethical and professional standards outlined as by the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics and the editorial independence policy developed by the Institute for Nonprofit News. We are proud members of the Local Independent Online News Publishers, and our staff belong to the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors, as well as a number of other professional associations. 

Here are our standards of editorial independence as recommended 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.

Our organization will 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 organization and in compliance with INN’s Membership Standards.

We have received grant funding of $5,000 and above from the following funders and donors, listed below. We adhere to the guiding principles outlined by the American Press Institute in our funding partnerships.

  • Local Independent Online News Publishers Revenue in Advertising Mentorship Program
  • Lenfest Institute for Journalism
  • Solutions Journalism Network
  • Report For America
  • Google News Initiative
  • Facebook Journalism Project
  • Knight Foundation
  • UC Annenberg Center for Health Reporting
  • Community Foundation of Mendocino County

Commenting Policy

This policy applies to both our website comment section and our Facebook page, violating this policy can result in being blocked from our Facebook page: Be cool, try to focus on the issues and avoid personal insults towards other commenters or persons in the story (specifically no racist, sexist, or homophobic taunts or slurs). Please avoid gratuitous name-calling, and do not make false accusations of crimes or of moral turpitude — we will consider this grounds for blocking you.

Also, don’t be a troll, we’ll delete you. If you become a problem commenter, constantly starting fights, or accusing other people of crimes or otherwise making false accusations, we will consider this grounds for blocking you as well.

We reserve the right to delete comments at any time.

If you have information you’d like to share with us, you can always contact us anonymously at [email protected].

Corrections Policy

We strive for truth and accuracy in all of our reporting. Our reporters carefully check facts with primary sources and, when necessary, documents and other sources, before reporting them.

We promptly correct any errors. If the error is factual in nature — that is, more than a simple typo or misspelling — we add a note to the end of the article noting that a correction has been made and detailing what was corrected.

If you find an error in our reporting, please describe the error in an email and write to [email protected].


We accept letters to the editor that are topical, local, relevant, and cogent — but we maintain the right to publish only those letters that we deem relevant to the public and the common discourse. Thus, we are more apt to publish a letter from a notable local person, such as a politician, especially as it pertains to their political actions. Likewise, we are more likely to publish a letter from an average person if that letter pertains to some aspect of public life, like infrastructure, local happenings and charities, or something that is a common occurrence in our area, such as, for instance, wildfires and road conditions.

Importantly, our focus as a publication is on local, not national, news. We are unlikely to publish letters dealing with national issues, the conduct of the president or congress of the United States, except as they directly affect Mendocino County, the North Coast, or perhaps Northern California. We are unlikely to publish letters pertaining to general news items in other states, or counties. In addition, these examples should by no means be considered exhaustive.

In general we are unlikely to publish letters that consist of personal attacks against specific people or institutions, especially as they pertain to specific and individual grievances, as opposed to broader or systemic issues. However, in some cases we may deem it worthwhile to air such grievances, if we believe that they have some news value.

Furthermore, in some cases we may find it advisable to do some amount of fact-checking and reporting around a letter to the editor, and to supplement it with such notes and annotation as we deem useful, to present the public with the fullest and most accurate version of the news, and we reserve the right to so annotate a letter. This should not be construed to mean that this is our general practice, but does remain our prerogative.

In cases where accusations are made, we will often, but not always, make an effort to contact the accused party and offer to publish a rebuttal letter from them.

In general we will publish letters as they are, including errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. However, we are willing to occasionally copy-edit a letter if given advanced notice and permission — but this will not be the norm.