• Hello,
  • MyCommNews
  • Logout
  • connect
Community Funded Reporting

Terms of Service

1. Introduction

Welcome to YouCommNews – a nonprofit project of the Public Interest Journalism Foundation at Swinburne University of Technology (the “Foundation”). We have tried to create a marketplace that enables news organizations, independent reporters and community members to come together and collaborate on meaningful journalism. Independent reporters, media organisations and members of the public create “pitches” that outline journalistic work. A specific fundraising goal is set by the Board of the Foundation. Community members donate time or money towards reporting projects. News organizations can also donate to pitches, run the final content for free or get exclusive rights to the content by buying an ownership stake in a pitch. The underlying principles of YouCommNews are community and trust.

2. The Agreement

These terms of use govern your use of the https://youcommnews.com website (the "Website") and all associated services and transactions between you and the Foundation (the "Services"). By using the Website, you agree to be bound by this Agreement, whether or not you become a donor in YouCommNews’ journalism program (the "Program").

The Foundation may change the Agreement from time to time, at its sole discretion, as the Program develops. Your continued use of this website following the posting of such changes will constitute your assent to all such changes. Please periodically visit this section of the site to review the current version of the Agreement.

3. Participation In The Program

YouCommNews is a marketplace where independent journalists, media organisations and members of the public can collaborate, crowd sourcing donations that can add up to fund journalism that will benefit the public. Each “pitch” will have a fundraising goal. The Foundation cannot guarantee that the fundraising goal will be met. The Foundation makes no warranty or guarantee of performance on behalf of the reporters whose projects are promoted on this site.

By participating in the Program or otherwise using the Services, you hereby acknowledge and agree that (a) The University makes no representation as to whether the finished content will meet your specific demands. Rather we work to make sure the final content meets the requirements laid out by the Foundation Board in collaboration with the journalists. We make efforts to ensure that every project is completed but take no responsibility on behalf of the journalists. (b) Donations made via the Website may be returned as “credits” to the user in the case that a “pitch” is unsuccessful in reaching its target goal, but we will not reimburse actual dollars. (As a small startup nonprofit, we simply can’t afford that kind of regular transaction). YOU ASSUME TOTAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR DONATIONS MADE THROUGH THIS SITE.

You understand that any and all decisions made by you with respect to the Program are yours alone. The Foundation cannot and does not verify the accuracy of information in pitches. Donors furthermore acknowledge that journalism may not adhere to exact production schedules defined in project descriptions and that on some occasions projects may change in scope or direction while underway. YouCommNews will not make any refunds of donations to donors for any reason other than inaccurately entered donation amounts or recipients, which must be reported within five business days of the donation to qualify for a refund.

3.1. Donation Distribution and Tax Deductibility

You understand that the money raised to fund pitches will be paid to the reporter, or used to cover expenses of doing the journalism. The University will not take any of this money, but does solicit additional contributions to be made towards the operational costs of YouCommNews and the Foundation. Such donations are normally tax deductible, but money to fund pitches is not. You are solely responsible for determining the proper tax treatment for any donation you make through the Services and the Program. The Foundation will not provide any tax or legal advice to you in connection with any donation you might make.

4. Participation

Although YouCommNews assumes no obligation to monitor the conduct of any user of the Website, it is a violation of this Agreement to use any information obtained from the Website in order to harass, abuse, or harm another person, or in order to contact, advertise to, solicit, or sell to any user without their prior explicit consent.


YouCommNews welcomes user comments on our stories and posts. YouCommNews’ mission is to engage the public in news analysis of issues in their community and to encourage interaction with journalists. We intend for comment sections to be used as a place for civil, thought-provoking and high-quality public discussion. In order to achieve this, YouCommNews requires that all commenters register and post comments with their user names. YouCommNews reserves the right to remove postings that include the use of foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that may be libelous or interpreted as inciting hate or sexual harassment; however we are under no obligation to do so. User comments may be reviewed by moderators and may be included or excluded at our discretion.

4.2. Creation Content

Users have the right to produce content on the site but they also understand that content must not be illegal, obscene, defamatory, threatening, infringing of intellectual property rights, invasive of privacy or otherwise injurious or objectionable. Under any of these circumstances, YouCommNews reserves the right to delete the offending material.

4.3 Journalists’ Agreements with YouCommNews

If you are registered as a journalist with YouCommNews you are eligible to be commissioned by the Foundation to work on journalistic projects. To register as a journalist, you must agree to act in accordance with our mission statement (https://youcommnews.com/pages/about#mission) and to the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Code of Ethics, and the Australian Press Council’s Reporting principles. The Foundation reserves the right to reject any application for registration as a journalist.

The Journalism done for YouCommNews is supervised by the Public Interest Journalism Committee (https://youcommnews.com/pages/who#team) (the “Committee”) which negotiates terms with freelance journalists, and may appoint an editor to each project.

Once the Committee and a commissioned journalist have reached agreement on the cost and terms of doing the work, YouCommNews will attempt to raise the necessary funds from the public.

The value of Journalism on YouCommNews is ultimately determined by the public.

Journalists may suggest their own rates for specific pitches. Rates are to be negotiated with the Committee before work on a story begins. We suggest that the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance rate card (http://www.alliance.org.au/ ) be used as a starting point for negotiation.

We anticipate using many novel methods for conducting and publishing journalism. In some instances it may be that a blog is the best way of informing the public about the progress of an investigation. In other cases, you may need to keep progress under wraps until you are ready to publish a completed story.

The “default” position is that finished work that has been funded by the public will be published on the understanding that anyone can use it. You will therefore be asked to include copyright permission for this in your agreement with the Foundation. However, in some cases the Foundation may negotiate with media organisations to sell either exclusive rights or first publication rights to completed journalism. If this happens, the members of the public who funded your research will receive credits to spend on other pitches.

We expect certain levels of professionalism to be maintained by our registered journalists.

Likewise, Journalists can expect that YouCommNews will act in the interests of the public and provide necessary technical support and guidance in order to achieve the best outcome for each individual pitch.

YouCommNews agrees to:

Journalists agree to:

4.4 Publishers and Broadcasters

If you are registered with YouCommNews as a publisher or broadcaster, you are eligible to negotiate with the Foundation to buy either first publication rights or exclusive rights to stories funded through the website. In order to be registered with YouCommNews as a publisher or broadcaster, you must demonstrate to the Foundation that you have the means to publish or broadcast material, and provide a brief statement outlining the nature of your organisation, including any institutional affiliations. In order to register as a publisher or broadcaster, you must in your dealings with us agree to act in accordance with our mission statement (https://youcommnews.com/pages/about#mission), to the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Code of Ethics, and the Australian Press Council’s Reporting principles. The Board of the Foundation reserves the right to reject any application for registration as a publisher or broadcaster.

5. Copyright

If you post any messages or other information on the Website, you shall be deemed to have automatically granted, represented and warranted that such content be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. The only exception to this will be content produced by users who identify themselves as “Journalists” who have a separate agreement that supersedes this section of the ‘Terms of Service’ Agreement. After the period of time specified in that agreement, all content produced by Journalists will revert back to Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

6. Accounts

In order to take part in the Program, you will be required to register and establish a password-protected account with YouCommNews (an “Account”). You represent and warrant that all information provided by you in the Account is current, accurate and complete, and that you will maintain the accuracy and completeness of this information.

You are solely responsible for maintaining the confidentiality and security of your password(s) and Account(s). You understand and agree that you are fully responsible for all actions and postings made from your Account. You agree to notify YouCommNews immediately if you become aware of any unauthorized use of your Account. YouCommNews holds the right to terminate or restrict access to a user’s account, and to delete any content posted through it.

You acknowledge, consent and agree that YouCommNews may, at its sole discretion and to the extent permitted by law, access, read, preserve and disclose your account information, usage history and submitted content in order to: (a) comply with any applicable law, regulation, legal process, or governmental request; (b) respond to claims that any content violates the rights of third parties, including intellectual property rights or libel; (c) enforce this Agreement and investigate potential violations thereof; (d) detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, or technical issues; (e) respond to your requests for customer service; or (f) protect the rights, property, or personal safety of YouCommNews, its users or the public.

7. Disclaimer

The Service is available “as is.” We do not warrant that it will be uninterrupted or error-free. There may be delays, omissions, interruptions and inaccuracies in the news, information or other materials available through the Service. We are not responsible for the availability or content of other services that may be linked to the Service. We do not make any warranties, express or implied, including without limitation, those of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to the Service or any information or goods that are available or advertised or sold through the Service. We do not make any representations, nor do we endorse the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other material or database displayed, uploaded or distributed in the Service or available though links in the Website. We reserve the right to correct any errors or omissions in the Service but are under no obligation to do so. We do not guarantee or warrant that the Service or materials that may be downloaded from the Website do not contain viruses, worms or other destructive features. We are not liable for any damages or harm attributable to such features. If you rely on the Service and any materials available through the Website, you do so solely at your own risk.

8. Termination of Service

The Foundation disclaims all responsibility and liability for the availability, timeliness, security or reliability of the Program. YouCommNews reserves the right to modify, suspend, or discontinue the Program without any notice at any time and without any liability to you.

9. No Waiver of Terms

Failure of YouCommNews to exercise or enforce any right or provision of this Agreement shall not be deemed a waiver of such right or provision in any instance.