Legal Guide for Nonprofit News Organizations

Welcome to the Investigative News Network’s Legal Best Practices Guide. This guide is designed to help nonprofit news organizations reduce their legal liability by providing sample policies to be included on organization websites; sample contracts to be used for freelancers and other third parties; as well as other resources available to help alleviate legal risk.

This guide is not intended to cover the vast breadth of legal threats facing non-profit journalism organizations, nor is it made to replace the advice of a lawyer. The sample materials are intended to help you become familiar with these kinds of documents, but should not be treated as models that are appropriate in all cases. You should consult with an attorney before you use any form of contract or online policy.

This guide contains sample templates for contracts, policies and other documents.

DISCLAIMER: INN is not a law firm and cannot provide legal guidance to your organization. These pages are for informational purposes only. Always consult a practicing attorney in your state before using any sample materials archived in these pages.


The Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) is a growing national network of 120 nonprofit news organizations dedicated to providing investigative and public service reporting. INN’s work helps newsrooms bring investigative and civic news to more people, hold the powerful accountable and strengthen democracy. More information can be found at