Resources Index

Washington News Council

WNC describes itself as “an independent, nonprofit, statewide organization whose members share a common belief that fair, accurate and balanced news media are vital to our democracy.” It was founded in 1998. John Hamer, its president and executive director, has been at the helm since its inception. He is a former associate editorial-page editor at the Seattle Times and previously associate editor with Congressional Quarterly/Editorial Research reports in Washington, D.C.

The WNC’s early emphasis was on vetting complaints against media organizations concerning inaccurate or unfair stories, along the model of the now-defunct Minnesota News Council. In recent years it has developed a broad range of projects to emphasize quality, integrity and public engagement with journalism through an interactive website with online community discussion, an active blog, a live Twitter feed and Facebook/LinkedIn pages.

The WNC funds journalism scholarships through donations and some proceeds from an annual Gridiron West Dinner.

In January 2011, it announced successfully matching a Gates Foundation challenge grant of $100,000.  The WNC was named organization of the year by the Municipal League of King County.

Among the News Council’s projects in the Online Media Guide, which has a database of more than 800 websites.

Another WNC project is the TAO of Journalism pledge and seal, a means to encourage news outlets, bloggers, hyperlocal news sites, freelancers, newsletters and civic groups. to emphasize Transparency, Accountability and Openness.

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