Truthout is a nonprofit news organization provides independent reporting and commentary on social justice issues. Since our founding in 2001, we have anchored our work in principles of accuracy, transparency, and independence from the influence of corporate and political forces.
Truthout works to spark action by revealing systemic injustice and providing a platform for progressive and transformative ideas, through in-depth investigative reporting and critical analysis. With a powerful, independent voice, we will spur the revolution in consciousness and inspire the direct action that is necessary to save the planet and humanity. For more on our editorial approach, please read “Remaking Media in the Pursuit of Justice” and “A Call to the Media: Let’s Go Beyond ‘Preserving Democracy.’
Editorial Independence Policy
In order to remain free of bias and adhere to high editorial standards, Truthout accepts no advertising or corporate backing. Instead, we depend on our readers, and a handful of foundations who support our mission, to make our work possible: Donations from individual readers have accounted for an average 81 percent of our annual budget over the last five years. Readers and foundations who donate to Truthout do so in their knowledge that our editorial principles and judgment are in no way influenced by those donations — they support us not in spite of the fact that we scrupulously maintain our editorial independence (even when it comes to our largest contributors), but because of that integrity.
In cases where we make a substantive correction to a story, we will make the change within the piece and add a note to the end of the article indicating what we have changed and why. If a broader change is made that affects the nature of the story, we will add an editor’s note at the top of the piece that explains our rationale for making this larger alteration.
Truthout respects the privacy of our readers and supporters and will never share personal contact information with third parties. For transparency, donors and foundations who give $500 or more in a year are listed, with their approval, in our annual report each year. We also report contributions totaling $5,000 or more to the IRS.
Truthout is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit news organization that describes itself as a type of journalism in pursuit of justice. Some of Truthout's main areas of focus are mass incarceration, social justice and climate change. In 2009, Truthout became the first online-only publication to unionize.
Truthout's editorial team is led by editor in chief Maya Schenwar, and managing director Ziggy West Jeffery.
Truthout has published several pieces which have impacted local and national policy.
Movement Memos Podcast
Movement Memos is a weekly podcast hosted by activist and Truthout journalist Kelly Hayes. Started in 2020, Hayes uses interviews with activists and organizers to call listeners to action and document movement work and mutual aid efforts around the U.S.
Illegal Navy training
In 2016, Dahr Jamail and Truthout releasedNavy documents outlining plans for combat training exercises along vast non-military areas of Washington state coastline. The documents showed the areas the Navy was prepared to utilize, without the mandatory risk assessments, medical plans, surveys of training areas and coordinating their activities with local, state and federal law enforcement officials. The release of these documents forced the Navy to postpone this training for at least 2 years. It caused commotion within the Washington state government, as they were not aware of the Navy's plans.
Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?
Truthout and Haymarket Books collaborated in 2016 to release a collection of essays and articles from Truthout about police violence against minority communities. The book, entitled Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?: Police Violence and Resistance in the United States, included work from Truthout staff writers as well as outside contributors. In 2020, during the George Floyd protests, the book was made free for download.
In 2013, Truthout journalist Mike Ludwig unearthed with a Freedom of Information Act request with the Interior Department revealed that fracking technology was being used on offshore oil rigs in the ecologically sensitive Santa Barbara Channel. Coastal conservationists were alarmed, and environmental groups sprang into action, generating protests and broad public discussion about offshore fracking. At one point, lawsuits filed by environmental groups forced federal officials to place a moratorium on offshore fracking in the Channel while regulators reviewed the practice and their rules for making it safe. In 2014, the EPA issued a new rules requiring offshore drillers to disclose fracking chemicals they dump into the ocean off the California coast.
Safety issues at BP
60 Minutes cited a report published at Truthout as a source for its May 16, 2010 episode about the BP oil spill and the whistleblower who warned about a possible blowout at another BP deepwater drilling site.
Digital Journal wrote up the story.CNN's Randi Kaye in an article cited a report by Truthout as the first article on BP Alaska employee Mark Kovac's inside knowledge about the safety concerns at the Prudhoe Bay, Alaska BP oil field.
On July 14, 2010, the United States House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a hearing in the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials. The hearing titled "The Safety of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines (Part 2): Integrity Management", cited an investigative report by Truthout as a document for the committee's investigation.
Dahr Jamail was awarded the 2018 Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media for his reporting on climate change and other environmental issues. The judges wrote: "There is an urgency and passion in Dahr Jamail’s reporting that is justified by the literally earth-changing subject matter. And it’s supported by science and on-the-scene sources, whether covering ocean pollution, sea level rise, deafening noise pollution or Fukushima radiation."
Jamail's monthly wrap-ups of the latest climate research and trends – "Climate Disruption Dispatches" – have become an essential resource for scientists and fellow journalists.
San Francisco Press Club Journalism Awards
A joint Truthout and Earth Island Journal investigation "America's Toxic Prisons" by Candice Bernd, Zoe Loftus-Farren, and Maureen Nandini Mitra won awards in two categories of the 2018 San Francisco Press Club Journalism Awards. The investigation won second place in the Magazines category for environment/nature reporting and investigative reporting.
Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism
In 2012, Truthout journalist Gareth Porter was awarded the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism for his work uncovering the Obama administration's military strategy in Afghanistan. "In a series of extraordinary articles, Gareth Porter has torn away the facades of the Obama administration and disclosed a military strategy that amounts to a war against civilians." Amongst Porter's award-winning stories were 'How McChrystal and Petraeus Built an Indiscriminate "Killing Machine,"' and 'The Lies That Sold Obama's Escalation in Afghanistan.'
Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Awards
In 2011, Truthout suffered a hacking breach in which ten days of articles were deleted.
Freelancer and Truthout writer Aaron Miguel Cantú was one of six journalists faced with felony rioting charges after covering the inauguration of Donald Trump. He was among 230 individuals detained in a mass arrest, with no court documents indicating any personal participation. He faced a maximum of 10 years prison and $25,000 if convicted. Charges against four of the other journalists were dropped. Explanations for this were not provided. Cantú was indicted on eight felony charges by a grand jury. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press sent a letter of support for Cantú.
Leopold's Karl Rove article
On May 13, 2006, after Jason Leopold posted on Truthout that Karl Rove had been indicted by the grand jury investigating the Plame affair, Rove spokesman Mark Corallo denied the story, calling it "a complete fabrication". Truthout defended the story, saying on May 15 they had two sources "who were explicit about the information" published, and confirmed on May 25 that they had "three independent sources confirming that attorneys for Karl Rove were handed an indictment" on the night of May 12. The grand jury concluded without returning an indictment of Rove.
In his memoir, Courage and Consequence, Rove addressed the Leopold article, writing that Leopold is a "nut with Internet access" and that "thirty-five reporters called [Rove's defense attorney] Luskin or Corallo to ask about the Truthout report." According to Rove, "[Special Counsel] Fitzgerald got a kick out of the fictitious account and e-mailed Luskin to see how he felt after such a long day."
Jason Leopold continued to write investigative pieces for Truthout, gaining more agreeable attention for his work on the aforementioned British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. He is now a senior investigative reporter at BuzzFeed News.
Truthout is led by Editor-in-Chief Maya Schenwar, and Managing Director Ziggy West Jeffery.
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Nonprofit Tax Code Designation: 501(c)(3) Defined as: Organizations for any of the following purposes: religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition (as long as it doesn’t provide athletic facilities or equipment), or the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
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