Policies

NEW VERSION (as of september 30, 2021)

The following policy statements have been crafted by the staff and board of NAMLE to guide programmatic decision making and organizational governance.  They are intended as a supplement to the NAMLE By-Laws which detail the organization’s obligations in accordance with IRS guidance for 501c3 organizations and relevant state and federal laws.

FUNDING POLICY GUIDELINES

NAMLE believes that media literacy education is strengthened by the involvement of an inclusive coalition of people and groups. It, therefore, actively seeks to diversify its funding sources and encourages a broad spectrum of organizations, agencies, foundations, corporations, and individuals to support media literacy education.  As a 501C3 nonprofit, NAMLE is dependent on charitable contributions to advance our mission. A full list of current funders is published via the NAMLE website.  

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 expectation that funders are supportive of NAMLE’s work and values 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 or private funder.

With regard to corporate funding, 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.

To ensure that no single funder has undue influence, NAMLE strives to limit contributions from any one source at not greater than 30% of our annual budget to ensure a diversified source of funds. Donations that could exceed 30% of NAMLE’s annual revenue need board review and approval.

NAMLE accepts sponsorships for events, programs, web materials and publications. Sponsorship messaging may feature corporate names, logos, and products. NAMLE will encourage sponsors to include messages of support for media literacy education as part of their copy.

Acceptance of funding by NAMLE does not constitute endorsement by NAMLE of any agency, program, institution, company, or product.

DIVERSITy, equity, and inclusion

To shift the consciousness of our world to be more inclusive, equitable, and accepting of diversity, NAMLE works to bring together and represent all voices to advance media literacy and to make a lasting, systemic impact on our nation’s educational landscape. Media literacy education requires critical analysis of media messages in relation to race, ethnicity, class, gender, and cultural identities, as well as to other crucial issues in society. Media literacy educators help learners understand the power dynamics in the creation, consumption, and dissemination of media – and how, historically, these dynamics have been used to both perpetuate and challenge racial, social, economic, and political injustices that continue today.  Addressing systemic racism and social inequity, both in how we run this organization as well as how we advance media literacy, is intrinsic to our commitment to be true change agents for a better, more just world.

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, volunteer, and/or express interest in serving on the board or a board committee. We encourage members to recommend themselves and/or others (via email to namle@namle.net) as possible Board Candidates. 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. The Board facilitates an on-going nomination process and conducts elections for open board seats each calendar year.

NAMLE operates from a belief that all those involved in media literacy education have expertise and resources to offer the field. NAMLE is committed to creating a leadership structure that facilitates work on shared goals in a context where no single voice dominates and the integrity of the organization is upheld.

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

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 media literacy and related fields, 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

To prevent conflicts of interest interfering with NAMLE’s decision-making process such that it is no longer in the best interests of the organization or in accordance with NAMLE’s mission and policies: 

  1. All Board Members are required, during the course of regular board duties, to reveal any relationship that might pose a conflict of interest in terms of the NAMLE’s positions, practices, policies, or decisions. If the Board, after a 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.

2. Because NAMLE Board Members ultimately represent the organization and those it serves, candidates for NAMLE Board positions will be 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.