Watershed Voice launched on April 8, 2020 as an independent nonprofit online news magazine based in Three Rivers, Michigan.
We update our website weekly through the efforts of our staff and citizen journalists from around the county and state. If you would like to submit a story for review and publication, click here.
Mission: We aim to serve as a reputable source for local news and culture for communities across Southwest Michigan. We believe when citizens are informed on local issues they are more likely to be active members in their community. We work in direct contact with people affected by problems, and aim to listen and respond to our readers’ priorities and questions. We seek to highlight solutions to this area’s pressing concerns, in an effort to make our community a better place.
Values: We value substantive reporting, quality over quantity, equity, and community.
Rather than publishing daily or breaking news, we focus on in-depth, well-researched reporting on topics important to our readers. We’re not interested in collecting clicks and pageviews with flashy headlines or salacious subject matter. We’d rather get a story right than report it first, and provide context our readers need to better understand the world around them.
We value our people. As we grow our staff, we will aim to pay fair, competitive, and equal wages for equal work, regardless of an individual’s race, gender, age, sexual orientation or faith. A life-work balance is encouraged, and every full-time employee is capped at 40 hours to achieve that balance.
The wellbeing of our community is at the heart of our reporting. We live here, we work here, and what matters to our community matters to us. We will always choose people over profit, truth over popularity, and doing the right thing even when it’s hard.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Watershed Voice a print publication?
We are online only. With no print deadline or space considerations we can publish what we want, when we want.
Why a nonprofit?
Main Street Media Group — the parent company of WSV — is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, meaning any profits gained will go back into the business to ensure the publication’s growth and sustainability for years to come. Papers around the country are folding because the old model no longer works. Newsrooms are shrinking, ad revenue is drying up, and people are going online for the bulk of their news. It’s our intention to address these challenges with your help.
Is Main Street Media Group/Watershed Voice tax-exempt?
Yes! Watershed Voice is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation and designated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and public charity. It is governed by a board of directors rather than a sole proprietor or stockholders.
We follow the standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News which are as follows:
Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.
We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.
Our organization may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.
Our organization will make public all donors who give a total of $5,000 or more per year. We will accept anonymous donations for general support only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization.
Our writers/reporters must notify the executive editor, as soon as possible, of errors or potential errors found in theirs or a colleague’s work.
When an error is made it’s paramount that we say so immediately. When issuing a correction, we will point it out in the most visible way possible (bottom-of-story corrections, correction notes on graphics, photo captions, etc.) The correction will be issued immediately after the work containing the error is fixed, if at all possible.
A correction must always be labeled as a correction. We will not use terms like “recasts,” “fixes,” “clarifies,” “minor edits” or “changes” when correcting a factual error.
If you would like to submit a correction, you can do so by emailing [email protected] with the word “correction” in the subject line.
We are committed to transparency in every aspect of our organization, including funding.
Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions.
We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals, organizations and foundations to help with our general operations, coverage of specific topics, and special projects. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review or edit content.
We will make public all donors who give $5,000 or more per year. As a nonprofit, we will avoid accepting donations from anonymous sources, and we will not accept donations from government entities, political parties, elected officials or candidates actively seeking public office. We will not accept donations from sources who, deemed by our board of directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.
Conflict of Interest and Compensation Policy
The following Conflict of Interest Policy has been adopted by resolution of the governing board of Main Street Media Group.
Section 1. Purpose
The purpose of the conflict of interest policy is to protect Main Street Media Group’s interest when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of an officer or director of the Organization or might result in a possible excess benefit transaction. This policy is intended to supplement but not replace any applicable state and federal laws governing conflict of interest applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations.
Section 2. Definitions
Interested Person. Any director, principal officer, or member of a committee with governing board delegated powers, who has a direct or indirect financial interest, as defined below, is an interested person.
Financial Interest. A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or family:
- An ownership or investment interest in any entity with which the Organization has a transaction or arrangement,
- A compensation arrangement with the Organization or with any entity or individual with which the Organization has a transaction or arrangement, or
- A potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which the Organization is negotiating a transaction or arrangement.
Compensation includes direct and indirect remuneration as well as gifts or favors that are not insubstantial.
A financial interest is not necessarily a conflict of interest. Under Article III, Section 2 of our bylaws, a person who has a financial interest may have a conflict of interest only if the appropriate governing board or committee decides that a conflict of interest exists.
Section 3. Procedures
1. Duty to Disclose. In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an interested person must disclose the existence of the financial interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the directors and members of committees with governing board delegated powers considering the proposed transaction or arrangement.
2. Determining Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists. After disclosure of the financial interest and all material facts, and after any discussion with the interested person, he/she shall leave the governing board or committee meeting while the determination of a conflict of interest is discussed and voted upon. The remaining board or committee members shall decide if a conflict of interest exists.
3. Procedures for Addressing the Conflict of Interest
- An interested person may make a presentation at the governing board or committee meeting, but after the presentation, he/she shall leave the meeting during the discussion of, and the vote on, the transaction or arrangement involving the possible conflict of interest.
- The chairperson of the governing board or committee shall, if appropriate, appoint a disinterested person or committee to investigate alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement.
- After exercising due diligence, the governing board or committee shall determine whether the Organization can obtain with reasonable efforts a more advantageous transaction or arrangement from a person or entity that would not give rise to a conflict of interest.
- If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably possible under circumstances not producing a conflict of interest, the governing board or committee shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested directors whether the transaction or arrangement is in the Organization’s best interest, for its own benefit, and whether it is fair and reasonable. In conformity with the above determination it shall make its decision as to whether to enter into the transaction or arrangement.
4. Violations of the Conflicts of Interest Policy
- If the governing board or committee has reasonable cause to believe a member has failed to disclose actual or possible conflicts of interest, it shall inform the member of the basis for such belief and afford the member an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.
- If, after hearing the member’s response and after making further investigation as warranted by the circumstances, the governing board or committee determines the member has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action.
Section 4. Records of Proceedings
The minutes of the governing board and all committees with board delegated powers shall contain:
- The names of the persons who disclosed or otherwise were found to have a financial interest in connection with an actual or possible conflict of interest, the nature of the financial interest, any action taken to determine whether a conflict of interest was present, and the governing board’s or committee’s decision as to whether a conflict of interest in fact existed.
- The names of the persons who were present for discussions and votes relating to the transaction or arrangement, the content of the discussion, including any alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement, and a record of any votes taken in connection with the proceedings.
Section 5. Compensation
- A voting member of the governing board who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Organization for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.
- A voting member of any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Organization for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.
- No voting member of the governing board or any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Organization, either individually or collectively, is prohibited from providing information to any committee regarding compensation.
Section 6. Annual Statements
Each director, principal officer and member of a committee with governing board delegated powers shall annually affirm they:
- Have received a copy of the conflicts of interest policy,
- Have read and understand the policy,
- Have agreed to comply with the policy.