Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

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The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to offering training for investigative reporters and non-profit organizations at the state and local level and to provide them with the expertise and technical support necessary to pursue journalistic endeavors to better the lives of American citizens.

The Franklin Center was founded in January 2009 through a sponsorship grant given by the Sam Adams Alliance.

The group is based on the philosophies of Benjamin Franklin, a printer by trade, who said that “a newspaper in every home” was the “principle support of…morality” in civic life.[1]

New media and technology

The Franklin Center believes that new technology can advance the cause of transparency in government. Journalists of tomorrow must effectively master this new media in order to do their job of holding government accountable for its actions.

The Franklin Center aims to educate, advise and train individuals and organizations from all backgrounds to become thorough, unbiased and accurate reporters well-versed in new media techniques and journalistic integrity. As there are more than 220 million personal computers in a country of about 300 million people, the Franklin Center takes on the duties that Benjamin Franklin exalted in his philosophy of the importance of news through the written word.[1]

Mission

The Franklin Center works promote social welfare and civil betterment by executing programs to promote journalism and the education of the public about corruption, incompetence, fraud, or taxpayer abuse that elected officials commit at all levels of government. Through networking and training independent investigative reporters, as well as journalists from state-based news organizations, public-policy institutions & watchdog groups, the Franklin Center will accomplish these goals.[2]

Non-profit organizations looking to begin or expand journalism programs can contact the Franklin Center. The Franklin Center adheres to the Code of Ethics outlined by the Society of Professional Journalists.[1]

Training and Education

The Franklin Center serves as an advocate[3][4] for citizen and non-profit Journalism. Part of their mission includes providing training and resources for citizen journalists, bloggers, state based news organizations, watchdog groups and investigative reporters.

The organization offers training forums through its Citizen Watchdog project, launched in 2012.[5] These events take place all over the country in conjunction with state-based nonprofit groups and organizations that advocate government transparency and accountability.[6][7]

Franklin Center and their affiliates do not restrict who attends training sessions. The organization welcomes all media outlets to use their stories and investigative reporting techniques through a program referred to as “steal our stuff.”[8] They do ask for proper credit and notification when news stories are reposted or published, but no legal agreements are required.

Statehouse News Online[9] is a project of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. The organization began operations in June, 2010 covering state-specific and local government News.[10]

Currently, their network of independent journalists provides news from the state-capitol of dozens of state-based news organizations[11]Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag is a network of independent state-based journalists who investigate and report on state and local government. A project of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, the organization began operations in September, 2009 and serves as a central hub for state-based watchdog publications.[12][13] The journalists involved in the network are employed by independent non-profit news organization and therefore the Franklin Center does not take responsibility or edit their material.[14]

In November, 2009 Watchdog.org found itself making national headlines.[15] The New Mexico affiliate[16] broke the story that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan website was reporting that non-existing congressional districts[17] were receiving money from the stimulus bill. Eventually, the Watchdog.org affiliates uncovered 440 non-existing (phantom) congressional districts supposedly receiving taxpayer dollars.

Research

Of the numerous journalist research projects, education programs and training programs designed to provide the network of investigative reporters and the general public access to information and news, the core is the ability for reporters to network and effectively portray information in the media across the nation.

Donations

Any donations made to the Franklin Center are tax-deductible under Internal Revenue Service Code Section 501(c)3. The Franklin Center chooses to protect the identification of its donors and keeps all contributions anonymous.[1]

Election coverage, 2010

The Franklin Center and National Review teamed up during the 2010 mid-term elections to present news coverage. Articles from the Franklin Center’s national network of reporters appeared on National Review Online’s Battle ’10. The stories focused primarily on congressional and gubernatorial races in key battleground states.

Franklin Center president Jason Stverak released a statement saying the network was established to support and train journalists from across the nation.

Stverak's statement continued:

"By partnering with National Review, our network of reporters will have the opportunity to publish their articles on a national website and reach a larger audience. We look forward to working with National Review during this important election cycle."

The Battle 10 project covered the gubernatorial and U.S. House and Senate elections in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada. The news site touched on issues that the candidates promoted as well as the concerns raised by voters.[18]

External links

References