Fuller Project for International Reporting - Civil Registry Discussion

Welcome to the Civil Registry, Fuller Project for International Reporting! Members of the Civil community may reach out to you with questions that could range from editorial policy, to privacy policies to business models. You will get an email alert every time there is a comment relating to your Civil Registry Profile.

(Cross-posting from previous discussion forum, for posterity:)

Benjamin - 2 months ago

I like the focus of this newsroom, but I have two key questions about the Fuller Project to get a better sense of what it is:

  • Do you employ your journalists and fund their work?

  • What role does the project have in the stories that the journalists publish?

Contemplative – 2 months ago

Wow, your mission and the pieces on your website are inspiring! So glad to have learned about you!

I am part of a small group of people who are exploring questions of compliance for applicant newsrooms. There are two possible violations that we spotted for Fuller Project in relation to the Constitution. Quoted text is taken directly from the Civil Constitution:

  1. “Respect the privacy of their audience, and as such will be transparent about the collection, storage and use of user data collected”"
    We could not find a privacy and/or data use policy on your site. If there is one, can you link it for us and show us where an easily findable link to it lives on the site? If not, is this something you can commit to creating in order to be in compliance?

  2. “Make every effort to be responsive to critiques and other feedback from the public particularly when it comes from the communities they cover….A Newsroom should provide a way for the public to comment on its work, as well as to provide correction and otherwise response to call for transparency and access”
    On the pages that republish your journalist’s articles, there is no way for a reader to comment about it or contact Fuller Project. Even on the Contact page equivalent (“Get Involved”) you are asking people to donate, apply, or receive a newsletter. Is there a contact mechanism welcoming the sort of engagement that the Constitution is asking for? If so, where? If not, is this something you can commit to creating in order to be in compliance?

Thanks in advance for your response, and for funding such important work.

Reidob – 2 months ago

This appears to be a wonderful project with a fantastic set of goals and an amazing group of journalists. But I wonder: is it a newsroom? This appears to be a philanthropic organization supporting women journalists around the world, but the organization itself is not producing any journalism, is it? I admire the work, I just am not certain it belongs on a Registry of newsrooms.

Benjamin – 2 months ago

I think that if the Fuller Project employs their journalists, it is a newsroom, but we need to receive clarification on this point.

kmyers – 2 months ago

(Edited)

If the individuals who are part of the group share their journalism with the group, and publish under the newsroom, why would that not be a newsroom? Do the journalists have to be “employed” in order to count?

If so, then say NPR, which can run and syndicate member station stories (beyond commissioning them) would not be able to consider those as part of the newsroom.

Christine_Bush – 2 months ago

I am probably out of step with others here, but I think this should qualify as a newsroom because it is not syndicating third party content. Rather this organization partners with other publications to cover a beat. The documentation of its work in this regard is a journalistic portfolio. I think one can make the argument that without this applicant, the stories it enables may not have been reported. This applicant is not going out and aggregating stories. They are a journalistic partner.

A Newsroom is the basic functional unit for journalism on the Civil network. A Newsroom can be composed of a single journalist or a group of journalists.

https://civil.co/constitution/#constitution-key-terms

“Through our publishing partnerships, we support local newsrooms and journalism’s vital contribution to an inclusive and strong democracy.”

Source: https://fullerproject.org/about/

Contemplative – 2 months ago

(Edited)

Even if we decide Fuller Project is definitely a newsroom - and I hope so, because I love their mission - they appear to be breaking the Constitution in two specific ways which I mentioned last week and will repeat again here:

  1. “Respect the privacy of their audience, and as such will be transparent about the collection, storage and use of user data collected”" We could not find a privacy and/or data use policy on your site. If there is one, can you link it for us and show us where an easily findable link to it lives on the site? If not, is this something you can commit to creating in order to be in compliance?

  2. “Make every effort to be responsive to critiques and other feedback from the public particularly when it comes from the communities they cover….A Newsroom should provide a way for the public to comment on its work, as well as to provide correction and otherwise response to call for transparency and access” On the pages that republish your journalist’s articles, there is no way for a reader to comment about it or contact Fuller Project. Even on the Contact page equivalent (“Get Involved”) you are asking people to donate, apply, or receive a newsletter. Is there a contact mechanism welcoming the sort of engagement that the Constitution is asking for? If so, where? If not, is this something you can commit to creating in order to be in compliance?

If the Constitution is a meaningful document these things need to be addressed. Both are easy to address. But, so far, no one from the Fuller Project has found it worthwhile to engage with us. Last Thursday I sent them the below email via the info@ email address in their footer bar, under the header “Fuller Project - Civil application”. They do not appear to have engaged with us in any way despite this extra effort on my part:

Hello,

I am a member of the team that is reviewing applications to the Civil platform. While we think the Fuller Project would make an exceptional Civil newsroom we do have some questions, along with two apparent, if easily corrected, violations to the Civil Constitution. Can someone from your team engage us in the discussion section on Civil? This would be the best way to facilitate your newsroom moving forward without suffering a Challenge.

https://registry.civil.co/listing/0xce04dc2e5ca8a7852b29b101149e205327a64703

Thank you!

Christine_Bush – 2 months ago

…no one from the Fuller Project has found it worthwhile to engage with us.
This comment (beyond being ungrammatical) is a violation of the Code of Conduct for this forum which states that critique “should display a trust in the good intentions of newsrooms and their journalists.”

Speculation regarding the state of mind of an individual or an organization is unprofessional. It does not reflect well on Civil and certainly puts this applicant needlessly on the defensive. Speaking only for myself, I apologize to the Fuller Project for this unfortunate accusation and believe that a response will be forthcoming when they have progress to report.

There is a good reason why it is standard practice to plainly report that there has been no comment or no response from a source or subject: it is all we know. Valid questions have been raised. If they remain unanswered by the applicant, that should be obvious to all.

I do not think that failure to respond in a matter of a few days can or should render the Civil Constitution meaningless. The ink on it is hardly dry and I choose to interpret it as tool for oversight, not a litmus test.

I am not enthusiastic about self-appointed “teams” sending e-mails to applicants on behalf of the entire Civil Community. I hope such messages have a list of individual signatories because I have not authorized anyone to speak on my behalf regarding any application.

Contemplative – 2 months ago

(Edited)

If this process is going to work it is incumbent upon the newsroom to engage the community. As a stakeholder in this community, if Fuller Project or any prospective newsroom fails to respond to legitimate criticisms, I want to be able to challenge safely knowing that they will not then later make those fixes and my challenge, as a result, fails. I have gone above and beyond, with two separate posts almost a week apart - separated by an email to nicely alert them to it - raising the issues.

You say “a few days”, it has been a week. Elena mentioned that, more recently, they are not able to log in. I look forward to their doing so, just as I look forward to hopefully welcoming them as a newsroom in a week or so.

I find it unprofessional that you tell me I am being unprofessional, when I am making extreme efforts to engage the newsroom and in every case, two here and in the email, I compliment their organization and diligently attempt to attract their engagement. I was concerned that I or someone may be forced to challenge due to non-responsiveness and then risk losing our tokens to later engagement. There are lengthy and ongoing conversations about this issue and concern with the challenge process on the Slack. You would be aware of this if you hadn’t stormed out of Slack in a huff.

I signed my email with my own name, I guess I’m not the only one making assumptions in this thread.

Christine_Bush – 2 months ago

I made no assumptions. I expressed a hope and articulated an opinion about process. If you are writing on behalf of a team, the team should sign it. Transparency.

I believe the process is working and will continue to do so without individuals taking it upon themselves to goad applicants into actions. I speak for myself.

Christine_Bush – 2 months ago

(Edited)

N.B. The ungrammatical issue was addressed contemporaneously with this post. Please disregard that criticism which I no longer have the ability to edit.

Elena_CivilFoundation

2 months ago

Hello Civil community, I am part of the Civil Foundation team. The Fuller Project is having trouble logging into this chat in order to post their responses to your questions. They are working with tech support and should be able to reply soon. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Vivian – Staff – 2 months ago

Hi Everyone, this is Vivian Schiller from the Civil Foundation. The Fuller Project Team is locked out of their account and been trying to get back in. Support is helping them. Meantime, they asked me to post this on their behalf:

"Dear All - Thank you all for your questions and comments. In response, I’m including a (hopefully) comprehensive list of answers below. However, we welcome additional questions, comments, and feedback.

Newsroom: We are a nonprofit newsroom and not a philanthropic organization. Our model is similar to that of other nonprofit news organizations in that we work with the journalists on our team (who are paid by The Fuller Project) to produce, edit, and pitch investigative and solutions journalism stories to local, national, and international outlets. We do not syndicate third party content.

User data: The significant form of user data we have relates to the donations page on our website. We use the platform DonationPay, which "maintains the strictest on-and-off line privacy and PCI-compliance standards to protect your organization, and your donors. We never share donor data, and provide a suite of fraud-protection tools with every account.” For more information: http://www.donationpay.org/?page_id=2558

Avenues for feedback: We already have a contact email listed on The Fuller Project website page “Get Involved”, which we check daily (info@fullerproject.org). Additionally, people can send questions or comments to our executive team via their individual emails or social media, and/or the publication where the work is placed.

Best, The Fuller Project Team "

Contemplative

2 months ago

Thanks for passing this along, Vivian. Can you send this back to them please?

Thank you for the response! I want to follow up on your answers to the two questions that I had:

  • Regarding the user data specifics, can that policy be communicated in a findable way from your site? I think that is all you would need to be compliant on that point: creating a page that is linked from somewhere sensible.

  • Regarding the avenues for feedback, your contact page in my opinion discourages feedback. It has three paths a user can pick: donate to you, join your team, or sign up for your newsletter. In all cases that involves the user giving you something of value. There is no invitation for a general communication that the user finds important. You mention the email address but it is at the bottom of a very tall footer. I was unable to find it until, after being unable to figure out how to just contact Fuller to provide a heads-up about these questions, poured over each page of the site in close detail. I accidentally found the address in that process. Users aren’t going to be looking into the header for contact info in general, and may miss it if they do. You also mention that people can contact individual emails, but clicking on the first person in your People section, they have no email address available. This could suggest to the user that no one else would either. I think this question is easily remedied in a number of ways. For the most simple/path of least resistance I might suggest, on your Get Involved page, under the header but above the three images that channel the user into your preferred communication funnels, adding a line of text like: Send questions, comments, or other inquiries to info@fullerproject.org Your obviously skilled graphic designer could do this in a nice, consistent font that did not detract from the aesthetics of the page.

As I’ve said previously, Fuller Project would make a fantastic addition to the Registry. Thanks.

Alieza

2 months ago

Dear Contemplative,

Thank you for those suggestions - we are happy to commit to making our website more user friendly and transparent with regard to the data specifics and feedback forms. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns in the meantime.

Best,

The Fuller Project Team

Contemplative

2 months ago

Nice, thanks!

Alieza

2 months ago

Dear All -

Thank you all for your questions and comments. In response, I’m including a (hopefully) comprehensive list of answers below. However, we welcome additional questions, comments, and feedback.

Newsroom: We are a nonprofit newsroom and not a philanthropic organization. Our model is similar to that of other nonprofit news organizations in that we work with the journalists on our team (who are paid by The Fuller Project) to produce, edit, and pitch investigative and solutions journalism stories to local, national, and international outlets. We do not syndicate third party content.

User data: The significant form of user data we have relates to the donations page on our website. We use the platform DonationPay, which "maintains the strictest on-and-off line privacy and PCI-compliance standards to protect your organization, and your donors. We never share donor data, and provide a suite of fraud-protection tools with every account.” For more information: http://www.donationpay.org/?page_id=2558

Avenues for feedback: We already have a contact email listed on The Fuller Project website page “Get Involved”, which we check daily ( info@fullerproject.org ). Additionally, people can send questions or comments to our executive team via their individual emails or social media, and/or the publication where the work is placed.

Best,

The Fuller Project Team