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Policies

NEW VERSION (revised July 19, 2012)

NAMLE policies are designed to ensure that the Board represents the members who elect it regarding all policy decisions.

Leadership

NAMLE positions itself as a leader in media literacy education. Our core business is to:

  • Raise awareness & advocate for media literacy education
  • Provide professional development in media literacy education
  • Improve thought leadership around media literacy education
  • Orchestrate networking & create venues for people interested in media literacy education to collaborate and share best practices
  • Aggregate educational materials on media literacy

Diversity

NAMLE is committed to attracting membership and leadership that reflect the diversity of the communities in which we work and live.

Term Limits

To ensure the continued expansion of leadership in the field of media literacy, NAMLE national board members serve no longer than three consecutive terms (6 years) without taking at least one year off before running for a board position again. The only exception is for board members ascending to the presidency, where board experience is an important prerequisite for office. A president’s term limit begins when he or she takes office as president, irrespective of how many consecutive years he or she has served on the national board.

Corporate Funding

As a 501C3 nonprofit, NAMLE is able to receive funding from a variety of sources, including foundations, government agencies, individuals and corporations. Recognizing the need for both credibility and independence as an organization, NAMLE takes care to ensure that funders understand the separation between funding support and editorial input. Funders may not require changes to NAMLE content, policies, professional development, media literacy activities or any other NAMLE work in exchange for funding. Funders may provide input in an advisory capacity only. It is our hope that funders are supportive of the kind of work NAMLE does and that their funding is meant as a statement of that support. NAMLE seeks funding to support its strategic goals, not the goals of a particular corporate funder.

To ensure that no single funder has undue influence NAMLE has capped annual contributions from any one corporate source at $75,000 and continues to aim for a diversified source of funds with an emphasis on support from individuals. NAMLE bylaws are designed to protect the ability of the board to represent the members who elect it regarding funding and all other policy decisions.

Finally, we believe that corporations, especially media corporations, have a social responsibility to support media literacy. NAMLE views corporations as potential partners in media literacy education, and believes their voice (participation, involvement and financial support) should be on par with other NAMLE constituencies.

Stakeholder involvement

NAMLE seeks to convene a coalition of diverse stakeholders and to provide opportunities to build on areas of consensus and create a space for meaningful dialogue.

NAMLE encourages all those interested in and/or working in media literacy education to become involved in the organization, become members of NAMLE, serve on a board committee and/or run for election to the board. This includes (but is not limited to) teachers, educators, scholars, researchers, practitioners, media makers, media watchdogs, media critics, public broadcasters, public media leaders, foundation program officers, outreach directors, those working in the media industry and others.

NAMLE operates from a belief that all those involved in media literacy education have expertise and resources to offer media literacy educators. NAMLE’s challenge is to create a structure that facilitates work on shared goals in a context where no single voice dominates and the integrity or the organization is upheld.

Focus on Education

The word that best defines NAMLE’s mission is “education.” Though NAMLE recognizes that there are many important issues related to media, NAMLE’s focus is on prioritizing the research, development, and dissemination of sound pedagogical practices for teaching media literacy skills and content in a wide variety of educational settings.

Printed materials

NAMLE’s seeks to provide all materials digitally in an effort to minimize actual printing costs and unnecessary paper use. When printing is necessary, NAMLE strives to print all materials on recycled paper stock.

Duplication of effort

NAMLE does not choose projects or allocate resources without first considering whether or not it would be duplicating the work of its members or of existing organizations. NAMLE strives to avoid such duplication.

Conflict of Interest / Disclosure

Given the nature of NAMLE’s work and the fact that much of the board is, and will continue to be drawn from leaders in the field of media literacy, pre-existing relations with potential partners are inevitable. Therefore, NAMLE requires that all board members sign a conflict of interest policy statement annually requiring disclosure of any conflict of interest before board discussions or voting on related topics.

A conflict of interest exists when:

  • a. A Board Member is in a position to vote on or influence a NAMLE decision on any proposed transaction, partnership, project, policy, or business arrangement with an entity in which that Board Member has an interest, either in terms of direct financial or professional gain, or in which a pre-existing formal relationship, including but not limited to employment or service on that entity’s board exists. “Direct financial or professional gain” is defined as specific personal benefit, not as the indirect benefit that anyone who works in the field might gain from a particular partnership, initiative, policy, or project.
  • b. An opportunity within the scope of activities of the NAMLE board could be exploited by the Board Member, a member of the Board Member’s family, or a person to whom a Board Member owes special allegiance (e.g., an employer) for direct financial or professional gain.

If the Board, after full review, determines that a conflict of interest exists which could interfere with the Board’s ability to function in the best interest of the membership and/or in adherence with NAMLE’s mission and policies, by majority vote the Board may:

  • ask the Member with the conflict of interest to recuse themselves from related discussions or votes;
  • ask the Member to sever ties with the entity in question;
  • ask the Member to provide a public, written explanation of their circumstances;
  • choose not to deal with the entity in question; and/or
  • take other measures which the Board deems appropriate.
  • Failure to disclose a potential conflict of interest may provide grounds for removal from office.

Because NAMLE board members ultimately represent the membership of NAMLE, and because members need certain information to make well-informed choices, candidates for NAMLE board positions are encouraged to disclose any potential or actual conflicts of interest, including listing employers or other significant sources of income or professional affiliations which could have direct bearing on their stance on NAMLE policy, programs, or practice.

Funding Policy Guidelines

NAMLE believes that media literacy education is strengthened by the involvement of a broad coalition of people and groups. It, therefore, actively seeks to diversify its funding sources and encourages a wide spectrum of organizations, agencies, foundation, corporations, and individuals to support media literacy education.

NAMLE does not accept funds from corporations, foundations, organizations or agencies whose work or purpose is counter to NAMLE’s stated mission, purpose or goals. Any Board member concerned that a contribution may be in violation of this policy may bring it forward for board discussion. Acceptance of funding over $10,000 per year from any single source requires approval by the NAMLE Board in the form of a 2/3 majority vote.

Funding from any single corporate source is limited to 30% of the NAMLE’s total budget. There is no cap of funds from other sources.
No funder will determine NAMLE policy or programs. That responsibility is reserved exclusively for the NAMLE Board or its appointed representatives.
NAMLE accepts underwriting (sponsorship) for web materials and publications. Underwriting, in the form of sponsorship messages, may feature corporate names, logos, and products, but may not include comparisons with other corporations or products. NAMLE will encourage underwriters to include messages of support for media literacy education as part of their copy.

NAMLE will not sell its membership or conference registrant list. NAMLE will share such lists only with its members.

NAMLE will publish the names of all funders annually. Posting on the NAMLE website will be considered the equivalent of “publishing.”

Acceptance of funding by NAMLE does not constitute endorsement by NAMLE of any agency, program, institution, company, or product.
In all of its fundraising activities, NAMLE will abide by the 1991 Statement of Ethical Principles of the National Society for Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE).