CalMatters reporter Alexei Koseff interviews Herlinda Vang in Hayfork on Feb. 7, 2023. Photo by Martin do Nascimento, CalMatters

CalMatters explains California policy and politics from a nonpartisan and editorially independent viewpoint. We let truth, fairness and accuracy guide our work by keeping open minds, questioning our assumptions and seeking out varying points of view from the diverse communities of California.

Ethics Policy

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All CalMatters employees abide by a Code of Ethics to ensure that we avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest, and that we do not compromise our commitment to nonpartisan coverage. We avoid conflicts of interest and are required to disclose unavoidable conflicts. This policy describes our expectations and aspirations for the conduct of our CalMatters team.

Our Guiding Principles

  • We recognize that our work has an impact on the people and institutions we report on and we take that responsibility seriously.
  • Truth, accuracy, fairness and respect matter to us.
  • We have no hidden agendas.
  • We are editorially independent from all revenue sources and nonpartisan.
  • We want to be transparent about the funding of our news organization and how we work.
  • We want to create a real community of readers, and media and other partners and supporters who believe in the value of nonprofit news, civil discourse, and an informed electorate.

Who is Covered?

All CalMatters staffers, as well as freelance or contract contributors to our journalism. We expect our staff and all of our contributors to be free of conflicts of interest, to be fair, and to perform their work in a manner consistent with CalMatters’ ethical principles. When contributors accept an assignment, contributors must disclose potential conflicts of interest or other issues.

Freelance Writing, Other Work

We understand that CalMatters staffers may want to freelance occasionally and take part in outside activities. Because this can also lead to potential or perceived conflicts of interest we have set up a review process.

No CalMatters staffer may take on a freelance assignment or other work without the approval of their manager. Staffers must submit in writing a short description of the proposed media outlet (or other entity) and assignment to their manager, for consideration and written approval. Decisions about freelance opportunities will depend on issues regarding competition, time commitments and other criteria. When in doubt, ask.


Investments can pose real or perceived conflicts of interest. You should not hold investments in startups or companies that you cover or work with as a CalMatters staffer. When in doubt, ask.

Campaign contributions

CalMatters employees may not make campaign contributions to political candidates.

Board Service

Serving on the board of another organization can lead to real or perceived conflicts of interest. That’s why all CalMatters staffers must submit in writing to their supervisor all requests to serve on the board of any non-profit organization. These will be reviewed and approved/disapproved on a case-by-case basis. Employees may not serve as directors or officers of any profit-making company.


Staffers should refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment. Unsolicited gifts should be donated or returned. It is acceptable to consume food or beverages as part of an event you are participating in, such as a speech or panel discussion.

Speeches, Other Public Appearances

We encourage CalMatters staffers to make public appearances to help raise our visibility and to talk about our work, including making speeches and participating on panels, so long as there are no real or perceived conflicts of interest. All of these must be pre-approved by your supervisor.

Other Outside Activities

Staffers may participate in civic and cultural events that do not pose real or perceived conflicts of interest, but they may not take part in organized action in support of causes or movements relating to topics CalMatters covers. Avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage our credibility. When in doubt, please inform your supervisor of a prospective activity for a case-by-case evaluation.

Gifts Policy

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Our work is made possible by the generous support of individuals, foundations, donor advised funds, corporations, businesses, and other non-profit entities for purposes that help the organization further and fulfill its mission.   

The following policies and guidelines govern acceptance of gifts made to CalMatters for the benefit of any of our operations, programs or services. 

  • We are committed to full transparency of all sources of funding. We publicly disclose all supporters who have given a total of $1,000 or more and their cumulative giving.  All donors who give $1,000 or more must agree to our Editorial Independence policy. 
  • We do not accept gifts from current elected California state constitutional officers or members of the state legislature, candidates running for those offices, or state cabinet-level office holders.
  • We do not accept support from political campaigns, political action committees, or political organizations as defined in Section 527 of the IRS Code. 
  • Sponsors are entitled to share their messaging with “message from our sponsors” display units on our website and in our newsletter, or through sponsorship messages that accompany our events and special projects. All sponsor messaging is subject to review, and we decline any messaging that supports particular candidates or bills or that we deem to be inaccurate or misleading.

Learn more about the ways to support CalMatters.

We are a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, Federal Tax ID #47-2474086.

Editorial Independence

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CalMatters retains full authority over editorial content to protect our best journalistic and business interests. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of 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. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review or edit content. If a supporter is covered in a story or other editorial content, we disclose this at the bottom of the story.

CalMatters also accepts donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content. We make public all donors who give a total of $1,000 or more on our list of supporters. We do not accept donations from government entities, political parties, elected officials or candidates actively seeking public office. We do not accept donations from sources that present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.

This policy is adapted from guidelines issued by the Institute for Nonprofit News.

Corrections Policy

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CalMatters is committed to correcting any errors fully and in a timely fashion. Reporters should notify an editor immediately about any request/demand for a correction or clarification. CalMatters should respond as urgently as possible to correct or clarify information we deem to be inaccurate or potentially misleading.

Here’s how we handle corrections:

  • When a story contains a significant mistake or an error, the correction should appear in italics atop the original story, with the preface “For the record:”. The managing editor or executive editor (and our attorney when appropriate) should sign off on the language used in the correction. We should also immediately notify our media partners.
  • The correction must be written in a way that makes clear the error that is being corrected.
  • When a story contains a minor factual error, the correction may appear at the bottom of the story, again in italics and with the preface “For the record:”. An editor should sign off on the language of the correction. We should also notify our media partners.
  • When a story contains a word misspelling or other typo that does not otherwise affect the accuracy of the story, reporters and/or editors may make those fixes. These do not require an italicized correction notice.

Sometimes sources will ask us to add additional information after a story has posted. Editors should make these calls, applying this general test: If you would have included the additional info had you known it at the time of posting, it’s worth incorporating into the story later to provide a more thorough report. Additions the day of the original posting need not be specially marked. Additions after the day of the original posting will trigger the addition of an “updated” flag with the date of the update in our publishing system.

Privacy Policy

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Ensuring the privacy of our readers and supporters, and being transparent about the data we store and how that data is used and protected, is sacred to CalMatters. This privacy policy has been compiled to better serve those who are concerned with how their ‘Personally identifiable information’ (PII) is being used online. Please read our privacy policy carefully to get a clear understanding of how we collect, use, protect or otherwise handle your Personally Identifiable Information in accordance with our website. Our policy has been updated in accordance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Does CalMatters sell any of your personal data to third-party organizations?

No. Never.

What personal information do we collect and how do we use it?

  • Email: CalMatters collects a user’s email if the user chooses to sign up for one of our newsletters. Your email is stored by Mailchimp, our newsletter provider, so we may send you the products you asked for. When distributing our newsletters, we follow the regulations defined under the CAN-SPAM Act, which allows users an easily way to unsubscribe from our newsletters.
  • Donations: When you make a donation to CalMatters, we use Stripe as the method of transaction. Donor information such as email address, name, and physical address is stored in Salesforce. We do not store any sensitive data such as credit card information in Salesforce.
  • Analytics: CalMatters uses Google Analytics to track user behavior on our website, mainly through the use of cookies (see below). That data typically includes details like what browser and device you use, your interaction with pages on our website, your city, state and country as defined by the ISP service you use, and in some cases basic demographic data like gender, interests, and age. That data is currently stored indefinitely. We also use Facebook Pixel to track how users from that platform interact with the website. We use this information in order to improve and customize your browsing experience and for analytics and metrics about our visitors both on this website and other media.

Do we use ‘cookies’?

Yes. Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computer’s hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the site’s or service provider’s systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information. This includes your preferences based on previous or current site activity, which enables us to provide you with improved services. We also use cookies to help us compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future.

Users can elect not to have data stored as cookies on their browser by changing their browser settings. If you disable cookies, some website features may be disabled or impacted.

How does our site handle “do-not-track” signals?

We honor do-not-track signals and do not track, plant cookies, or use advertising when a Do Not Track (DNT) browser mechanism is in place, like AdBlock or Privacy Badger. However, use of those kinds of browser extensions may impact interaction with our website.

Terms and Conditions

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Terms of Service for

Welcome to This website is owned and operated by CalMatters. By visiting our website and accessing the information, resources, services, products, and tools we provide, you understand and agree to accept and adhere to the following terms and conditions as stated in this policy (hereafter referred to as ‘User Agreement’), along with the terms and conditions as stated in our Privacy Policy (please refer to the Privacy Policy section below for more information).

This agreement is in effect as of July 18, 2015.

We reserve the right to change this User Agreement from time to time without notice. You acknowledge and agree that it is your responsibility to review this User Agreement periodically to familiarize yourself with any modifications. Your continued use of this site after such modifications will constitute acknowledgment and agreement of the modified terms and conditions.

Responsible Use and Conduct 

By visiting our website and accessing the information, resources, services, products, and tools we provide for you, either directly or indirectly (hereafter referred to as ‘Resources’), you agree to use these Resources only for the purposes intended as permitted by (a) the terms of this User Agreement, and (b) applicable laws, regulations and generally accepted online practices or guidelines.

Wherein, you understand that:

a. In order to access our Resources, you may be required to provide certain information about yourself (such as identification, contact details, etc.) as part of the registration process, or as part of your ability to use the Resources. You agree that any information you provide will always be accurate, correct, and up to date.

b. You are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any login information associated with any account you use to access our Resources. Accordingly, you are responsible for all activities that occur under your account/s.

c. Accessing (or attempting to access) any of our Resources by any means other than through the means we provide, is strictly prohibited. You specifically agree not to access (or attempt to access) any of our Resources through any automated, unethical or unconventional means.

d. Engaging in any activity that disrupts or interferes with our Resources, including the servers and/or networks to which our Resources are located or connected, is strictly prohibited.

e. Attempting to copy, duplicate, reproduce, sell, trade, or resell our Resources is strictly prohibited.

f. You are solely responsible for any consequences, losses, or damages that we may directly or indirectly incur or suffer due to any unauthorized activities conducted by you, as explained above, and may incur criminal or civil liability.

g. We may provide various open communication tools on our website, such as blog comments, blog posts, public chat, forums, message boards, newsgroups, product ratings and reviews, various social media services, etc. You understand that generally we do not pre-screen or monitor the content posted by users of these various communication tools, which means that if you choose to use these tools to submit any type of content to our website, then it is your personal responsibility to use these tools in a responsible and ethical manner. By posting information or otherwise using any open communication tools as mentioned, you agree that you will not upload, post, share, or otherwise distribute any content that:

i. Is illegal, threatening, defamatory, abusive, harassing, degrading, intimidating, fraudulent, deceptive, invasive, racist, or contains any type of suggestive, inappropriate, or explicit language;

ii. Infringes on any trademark, patent, trade secret, copyright, or other proprietary right of any party;

iii. Contains any type of unauthorized or unsolicited advertising;

iv. Impersonates any person or entity, including any employees or representatives.

We have the right at our sole discretion to remove any content that, we feel in our judgment does not comply with this User Agreement, along with any content that we feel is otherwise offensive, harmful, objectionable, inaccurate, or violates any 3rd party copyrights or trademarks. We are not responsible for any delay or failure in removing such content. If you post content that we choose to remove, you hereby consent to such removal, and consent to waive any claim against us.

h. We do not assume any liability for any content posted by you or any other 3rd party users of our website. However, any content posted by you using any open communication tools on our website, provided that it doesn’t violate or infringe on any 3rd party copyrights or trademarks, becomes the property of CALmatters, and as such, gives us a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, publish, publicly display and/or distribute as we see fit. This only refers and applies to content posted via open communication tools as described, and does not refer to information that is provided as part of the registration process, necessary in order to use our Resources. All information provided as part of our registration process is covered by our privacy policy.

i. You agree to indemnify and hold harmless CALmatters and its parent company and affiliates, and their directors, officers, managers, employees, donors, agents, and licensors, from and against all losses, expenses, damages and costs, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, resulting from any violation of this User Agreement or the failure to fulfill any obligations relating to your account incurred by you or any other person using your account. We reserve the right to take over the exclusive defense of any claim for which we are entitled to indemnification under this User Agreement. In such event, you shall provide us with such cooperation as is reasonably requested by us.


Our privacy policy is included under the scope of this User Agreement. To read our privacy policy in its entirety, click here.

Limitation of Warranties 

By using our website, you understand and agree that all Resources we provide are “as is” and “as available”. This means that we do not represent or warrant to you that:

i) the use of our Resources will meet your needs or requirements.

ii) the use of our Resources will be uninterrupted, timely, secure or free from errors.

iii) the information obtained by using our Resources will be accurate or reliable, and

iv) any defects in the operation or functionality of any Resources we provide will be repaired or corrected.

Furthermore, you understand and agree that:

v) any content downloaded or otherwise obtained through the use of our Resources is done at your own discretion and risk, and that you are solely responsible for any damage to your computer or other devices for any loss of data that may result from the download of such content.

vi) no information or advice, whether expressed, implied, oral or written, obtained by you from CALmatters or through any Resources we provide shall create any warranty, guarantee, or conditions of any kind, except for those expressly outlined in this User Agreement.

Limitation of Liability 

In conjunction with the Limitation of Warranties as explained above, you expressly understand and agree that any claim against us shall be limited to the amount you paid, if any, for use of products and/or services. CALmatters will not be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential or exemplary loss or damages which may be incurred by you as a result of using our Resources, or as a result of any changes, data loss or corruption, cancellation, loss of access, or downtime to the full extent that applicable limitation of liability laws apply.


All content and materials available on, including but not limited to text, graphics, website name, code, images and logos are the intellectual property of CALmatters, and are protected by applicable copyright and trademark law. Any inappropriate use, including but not limited to the reproduction, distribution, display or transmission of any content on this site is strictly prohibited, unless specifically authorized by CALmatters.

Termination of Use 

You agree that we may, at our sole discretion, suspend or terminate your access to all or part of our website and Resources with or without notice and for any reason, including, without limitation, breach of this User Agreement. Any suspected illegal, fraudulent or abusive activity may be grounds for terminating your relationship and may be referred to appropriate law enforcement authorities. Upon suspension or termination, your right to use the Resources we provide will immediately cease, and we reserve the right to remove or delete any information that you may have on file with us, including any account or login information.

Governing Law 

This website is controlled by CalMatters from our offices located in the state of CA, United States. It can be accessed by most countries around the world. As each country has laws that may differ from those of CA, by accessing our website, you agree that the statutes and laws of CA, without regard to the conflict of laws and the United Nations Convention on the International Sales of Goods, will apply to all matters relating to the use of this website and the purchase of any products or services through this site.

Furthermore, any action to enforce this User Agreement shall be brought in the federal or state courts located in the United States, CA You hereby agree to personal jurisdiction by such courts, and waive any jurisdictional, venue, or inconvenient forum objections to such courts.



Contact Information 

If you have any questions or comments about these our Terms of Service as outlined above, you can contact us at:CalMatters 1017 L St, #261 Sacramento, CA 95814 United States.

Republishing Our Graphics

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If you’re a CalMatters media partner, here’s how to get the code you need to reproduce our graphics. If you’d like to learn more about being a CalMatters media partner, please email

For graphics made with Infogram, click the green “Share” button at lower right, then click “Embed” and copy the code.

For graphics made with Flourish, use the tool below.

Grants Policy

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CalMatters is funded by generous gifts from individuals, foundations and corporate sponsors, and we are careful stewards of those funds. We sometimes use those funds, with the donor’s consent, to make grants to partners such as universities or other newsrooms to further our work. We do not allow grantees to take “overhead” or “administrative” or “indirect” costs out of grant funds. The entire grant must be used for the stated purpose. Grant recipients must affirm in writing that they will waive all overhead, administrative, or indirect costs and apply the entire grant to the stated purpose.

Endorsements and Advocacy Policy

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As a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization, CalMatters does not endorse or support political candidates. We take positions of advocacy on issues only in rare cases when they are directly related to the journalism we practice in California, supporting the press freedom and business sustainability we believe is essential to a strong journalism ecosystem, which is in turn essential to a healthy democracy. When CalMatters engages in such an issue, we do it by presenting our position as a commentary in our California Voices section, so that the position is posted and explained publicly.