The Florida Independent Community Advisory Board

The Florida Independent Community Advisory Board is made up of seven people, filled to represent the three organizations that together applied for the Knight Community Information Challenge, through which The Florida Independent was established. The seven members of the Community Advisory Board are:

  • Ellyn Angelotti, representing The American Independent News Network
  • Lisa Carlton, representing Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice
  • David Gulliver, representing Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice
  • Donald Hinkle, representing The American Independent News Network
  • Rob Lorei, representing The American Independent News Network
  • John Koenig, representing the Community Foundation of Central Florida
  • Stephen Wilberding, representing Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice

The Project

Gulf Coast Community Foundation was awarded a $352,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to fund The Florida Independent—a two-year experiment to create an investigatory statewide news service.  The Knight grant will be matched with another $350,000 from Gulf Coast Community Foundation, individual donors, and The American Independent News Network bringing the total two-year project budget to $702,000.

The Florida Independent will fill a void left by the decrease in reporters covering important statewide issues from Florida’s capitol.  The goal is to fill this gap with experienced reporters who will pursue angles raised in the community and monitor issues such as the economy, health care, environment, education, the state budget, and government accountability.  Informed communities with fair, accurate information are critical to a well-functioning democracy

The Florida Independent will be published and managed by The American Independent News Network, which operates a nonprofit online news network with existing operations in Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington, DC.

The Florida Independent will have a community advisory board that has an interest in fair and accurate reporting. The Community Advisory Board will be composed of seven people.

Members
  • Three members appointed by and who represent the Gulf Coast Community Foundation
  • Three members appointed by and who represent The American Independent News Network
  • One member appointed by and who represents the Community Foundation of Central Florida
Goals
  • To uphold the journalistic ethics and integrity of The Florida Independent and its writers.
    • All reporters for The American Independent News Network must adhere to our code of ethics, which is based on that of the Society of Professional Journalists.  You can see the code here, and it will be published on The Florida Independent as well.
  • To assess over the long term whether The Florida Independent is serving the needs of the community.
    • The Florida Independent’s mission, as that of The American Independent News Network, is to investigate and disseminate news that impacts public debate and advances the common good. The term used to describe this is “impact journalism.” This is a qualitative measure, which defines impact stories through the following lens:
      • It’s about a public policy or proposal, or a person seeking or holding a position of public trust;
      • If it’s about a policy or a bill or a certain practice, the story brings to light how the practice fails to meet, or patently contravenes, the common good;
      • If it’s about a person, the story identifies actions that either raise serious questions about their fitness or ability to hold a public trust or demonstrates that they have already breached the public trust they hold;
      • It may also be about an organization or person attempting to influence public opinion through covert means, as investigated and revealed by AINN;
      • It creates consequences: If it’s a person, he or she has to publicly respond/defend/change position; if it’s a proposal or a practice, efforts have to be made to address the issue raised in your reporting.
  • Ensure that stories of interest to the community are distributed widely to stakeholders within the community.
    • Members of the Community Advisory Board will be kept up to date on stories written on The Florida Independent through a daily (M-F) e-newsletter and by being added to the press release list.  AINN’s Outreach Director will keep the the CAB alert to stories that have maximum impact potential and/or results.  The CAB is asked to promote The Florida Independent in general as it makes sense within your networks, as well as those stories with the greatest potential for impact.

Service

Members of the Community Advisory Board will a one-year term, which may be renewed.  The advisory board will meet on a quarterly basis and will be composed of people who are reasonably representative of the diverse needs and interests of the communities while also appreciating the challenges of modern journalism.

The role of the community board is strictly advisory. It has no authority over the daily management or operation of the station, and it does not have fundraising responsibilities.

The advisory board will be staffed in collaboration by an employee of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and an employee of The American Independent News Network.  Staffing the advisory board includes coordinating communication between members of the advisory board, meeting schedules, and sharing relevant information with The American Independent News Network.

Employees of Gulf Coast Community Foundation, The American Independent News Network may not serve on the advisory board.  There is no financial compensation for service.

Please contact Hanaa Rifaey, Outreach Director for The American Independent News Network at hanaa [at] floridaindependent [dot] com, with any questions.

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