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Our mission

We work with media innovators to build the future of independent news.

We are a team of technologists who believe in journalism that builds communities, holds the powerful accountable, and encourages civic engagement.

We seek to elevate that work - and we contribute by developing open-source tools and resources for publishers that enable journalists, lower barriers to entry, and develop audiences.

If you're tackling a problem facing independent news, we want to work with you.

About these values

As we began to build our team, we wanted to clearly identify the values that will inform our work and our daily interactions. We think it's important to know what drives us and why we do what we do — and let other people know what to expect when working with us. Just listing values didn't feel like enough: We wanted to provide specific actions that will stem from those values, a la "We believe in [value], therefore we will [action]." Below is the working list of values and actions we are striving toward. This is a living document that we will revisit frequently as we grow as a team to make sure it still reflects the mission and values that inform our work.

Always be learning

Growth and learning drive us forward. A commitment to teaching and mentorship helps us build each other up and make our community stronger.

  • We’ll pair program and share what we learn with each other.
  • We’ll attend local and national events and user-groups, and stay actively involved in the journalism and tech communities.
  • We’ll invest in education: creating curriculum and training for members, investing in our apprentices/students, and pursuing continuing education opportunities for ourselves.
  • We will be open to new tools and processes, resisting the stale comfort of “this is how we’ve always done it.”
  • This list can and will change as we grow.

Connection

A happy team has fun together.

  • We'll share recipes and music and GIFs and pictures of our pets!
  • We'll meet in person at least two times a year (sometimes more) to work together in the same space, share meals and spend time together as a team.
  • We'll keep INN weird.

Diversity

As we hire and grow, we want our team to represent the diverse population we work with. This means a diversity of ideas, perspectives, genders, race, orientations, socioeconomic class, and more.

  • We will hire well-rounded people who live full lives outside of work.
  • When hiring, we will post jobs publicly and leave them open long enough to recruit a diverse pool of candidates.
  • We'll proactively reach out to people in less-represented communities.
  • We'll be committed to gender parity in staffing and salaries.
  • We'll talk about it publicly and hold ourselves and others accountable for making things better.
  • We will always pay our apprentices a fair wage.
  • We won't use snark or pedantry to exclude people from conversations.

Empathy

We believe in treating each other as whole human beings, meeting people where they are, and practicing kindness.

  • Life happens. Bad days happen. When personal stuff comes up, we will carry the workload so our colleagues can focus on what matters most
  • We'll hold each other accountable in the way we talk about our work — staying positive and not trash talking. The kindness panda can be deployed in Slack to give each other a gentle nudge.
  • When we share frustrations, we'll also talk about solutions.
  • We’ll never judge you or shame you for not knowing something.
  • We won’t feign surprise or jump into conversations with “Well, actually...”
  • In emergencies, we will send pie.

Fiscal sustainability

Our work has value, and if we value ourselves the people we work with are more likely to value what we do, too.

  • We will charge for our time at a fair market value.
  • We will work to create products that make our own work sustainable and that contribute to the sustainability of nonprofit journalism as a whole.
  • We will be careful stewards of the money we receive from clients and our funders. We don't fly first class and we won't buy a news island (...yet, anyway).

Making things better

We want to build up instead of tearing down, and we want to make our community better. We're in this together. Everything’s going to be awesome.

  • We’ll actively contribute to the journalism community by attending and speaking at conferences, contributing to open-source projects, writing exemplary documentation, participating in listserv discussions, and joining and taking a leadership role in professional organizations.
  • We’ll leave things better than how we found them.
  • We will focus on creating things that work, not tearing down what doesn’t.
  • We will host hackathon-style events for nonprofit journalism/journalists to learn from each other and build community.
  • We believe in journalism that furthers democracy, challenges corruption, and dismantles structural oppression. We will support our members and community in doing this work.

Members first

Our own egos are not more important than our members' needs.

  • We recognize that our members and clients are often working with constraints, and we'll do everything we can to do excellent work while also respecting internal needs. Pursuing excellence with humility and flexibility.
  • The things we build should directly benefit our members and clients. No vanity projects.

Openness

We will welcome new ideas and approaches, will admit when we’re wrong or don’t know the answer, and commit to sharing and showing our work.

  • We will document and show our work, and release code open source on github.com/inn.
  • We’ll document the new things we learn and share them publicly on our team blog.
  • We'll host regular office hours, to be available for questions and conversations about our projects.
  • We’ll lead efforts to make documentation in journalism better.

Telling the truth

We won't hesitate to set boundaries when we have to. We'll take on projects we care about and are reasonable. We'll talk about how things are or aren’t working well.

  • We’ll say no when we have to — and we’ll always explain why.
  • We will be honest with each other about what’s not working for us.
  • We’ll make space to discuss obstacles at our daily standup.
  • We’ll choose clients and projects that are doing work we care about and align with us as a team and organization.
  • We'll share our client intake checklist and how we make the, “Is this a project we should take on?” decision.
  • We will be clear about our time tracking, so clients always know what they are paying for.

Thoughtfulness

We want to make good decisions, not just follow the first or loudest idea.

  • Our processes will be thoroughly documented (see: How we work and How to work with us).
  • We will interrogate project ideas and features before building.
  • We’ll follow through on the things we ship, planning from the beginning how we will support projects long-term and measuring results so we can learn from what we build.
  • We won’t follow a trend just because it’s new or shiny.
  • We won’t make hasty decisions because somebody feels panicked.
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