Some Facts About Us

We are an independent, non-partisan, non-profit investigative journalism unit.

Our mission is to present stories that expose the abuses of power, corruption and stories of daily life in the work of American and Latin American society. We seek to discover and tell complex issues without looking away from everyday life, with rigor, audacity, and credibility. No matter the time it costs us and the efforts involved, good journalism will always be worth it.

Throughout 2019 and the first half of 2020, ITEMPNEWS stories were published and replicated in the United States as an embryonic project of what is now this “investigative journalism unit”, in an alliance with media that aimed to disseminate long-form and accurate reports when the world was facing the onslaught of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, in collaboration with the Miami-based Diario Las Américas, ITEMPNEWS worked on many stories, some of them firsts, on the happenings in Venezuela and its government’s connections to money laundering, drug trafficking and corruption.

The prevalence of stories on quality of life, legislation, organized crime, corruption and drug trafficking, and abuse of power, are a key part of our news agenda, but not the only topics.

At ITEMPNEWS we have the challenge and commitment to reporting with the highest standards and rigor to earn the public’s trust. That translates into credibility.




ITEMPNEWS is a non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organization (Tax ID number 84-4769889) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Our tax registration is under the name Contra Muros Investigative Journalism INC.

Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by U.S. law.

Transparency in our financial statements to the contributors who make ITEMPNEWS’ existence possible is the way to reflect our commitment and responsibility to what we do and who we are.

Donor Policy

We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization.

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. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates as a public trust, we do not pay certain taxes. We may receive funds from standard government programs offered to nonprofits or similar businesses.

Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors or any revenue source. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review or edit content.

We make public all revenue sources and donors who give $5,000 or more per year. As a news nonprofit, we avoid accepting charitable donations from anonymous sources, government entities, political parties, elected officials or candidates 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.


We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN):

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 and in compliance with INN’s Membership Standards.

The primary objective of Itempnews is to provide rigorous, quality investigative journalism.

Our readers should understand that Itempnews’ main effort is to provide them with accurate, fair, and balanced news.

We tie our sense of being to the belief that good journalism exists, and that the integrity of each one of our team members is reflected in the quality of their reports.

In this sense:

We take journalistic guidance from the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics, the Associated Press’ news values and principles, and The New York Times’ standards and ethics guidelines.

The following Financial Conflict of Interest Policy (“Conflict of Interest Policy”) is an effort (i) to ensure that the deliberations and decisions of the Itempnews (“MEMBER”) are made solely in the interest of promoting the quality of journalism, and (ii) to protect the interests of MEMBER when it considers any transaction, contract, or arrangement that might benefit or be perceived to benefit the private interest of a person affiliated with MEMBER (each, a “MEMBER Representative”). As used in this Conflict of Interest Policy, a MEMBER Representative includes any director, advisory board member, financial advisor, legal counsel or employee.

Duty to MEMBER. Each MEMBER Representative owes a duty to MEMBER to advance MEMBER’s legitimate interests when the opportunity to do so arises. Each MEMBER Representative must give undivided allegiance when making decisions affecting the organization. Similarly, MEMBER Representatives must be faithful to MEMBER’s nonprofit mission and are not permitted to act in a way that is inconsistent with the central goals of the organization and its nonprofit status.

Gifts. No MEMBER Representative shall personally accept gifts or favors that could compromise his or her loyalty to MEMBER. Any gifts or benefits personally accepted from a party having a material interest in the outcome of MEMBER or its employees by a MEMBER Representative individually should be merely incidental to his or her role as an MEMBER Representative and should not be of substantial value. Any gift with a value of $250 or more, or any gifts with a cumulative value in excess of $250 received by an MEMBER Representative in any twelve-month period from a single source, shall be considered substantial. Cash payments may not be accepted, and no gifts should be accepted if there are strings attached. For example, no MEMBER Representative may accept gifts if he or she knows that such gifts are being given to solicit his or her support of or opposition to the outcome or content of any MEMBER publication.

Conflicts of Interest. The following are examples of conflicts of interest which must be promptly disclosed to the MEMBER Board of Directors pursuant to Section 4 below by any MEMBER Representative with knowledge of such conflict of interest:

(a) any real or apparent conflict of interest between a donor or the subject of an MEMBER publication or report and an MEMBER Representative;

(b) an MEMBER Representative’s ownership of an equity interest in a person or entity that is or will be the subject of an MEMBER publication or report; and

(c) failure to disclose to MEMBER all relationships between the subject of any MEMBER publication or report and any MEMBER Representative or close relatives of the MEMBER Representative.

Conflict Procedure:

(a) If an MEMBER Representative or party related to an MEMBER Representative has an interest in any contract, action or transaction to be entered into with MEMBER, a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest exists. Any MEMBER Representative having knowledge that such a conflict of interest exists or may exist (an “Interested MEMBER Representative”) will so advise the Board of Directors promptly. An Interested MEMBER Representative will include in the notice the material facts as to the relationship or interest of the Interested MEMBER Representative in the entity proposing to enter into a contract, action or transaction with MEMBER.

(b) Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, the Board of Directors may authorize any committee appointed pursuant to the MEMBER by-laws (a “Committee”) to act in lieu of the Board of Directors in determining whether an action, contract or transaction is fair to MEMBER as of the time it is authorized or approved by the Committee.

(c) At any time that a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest is identified, the President of the Board or a Chair of the applicable Committee will ensure that such conflict of interest is placed on the agenda for the next meeting of the Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable. The notice of such meeting of the Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, will include, to the extent available when the notice is sent, a description of the conflict of interest matter to be discussed. By notice before the meeting or at the meeting, the directors on the board or the Committee, as applicable, will be advised that a vote will be taken at the meeting and that, in order to authorize the relevant contract, action or transaction, an affirmative vote of a majority of disinterested directors present at the meeting at which a quorum is present will be required and will be sufficient, even though the disinterested directors constitute less than a quorum of the Board of Directors or the Committee.

(d) Reasonable effort will be made to cause the material facts concerning the relationships between the individuals and MEMBER which create the conflict to be delivered to and shared with the members of the Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, prior to the meeting to enable the directors to arrive at the meeting prepared to discuss the issue. In the event it is not practicable to deliver the information prior to the meeting, it will be delivered to the directors at the meeting, and the directors can act upon the matter with the same authority as if notice had been given prior to the meeting.

(e) The Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, will invite all parties to the conflict of interest to attend the meeting, to make presentations and to be prepared to answer questions, if necessary. The Board or Directors or the Committee, as applicable, will also invite outside experts if necessary.

(f) At the meeting, providing a quorum is present, the conflict will be discussed to ensure that the directors present are aware of the issues and the factors involved. The interested directors may be counted for purposes of a quorum, even though they may not take part in any vote on the issues.

(g) The Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, must decide, in good faith, reasonably justified by the material facts, whether the action, contract or transaction would be in the best interest of MEMBER and fair to MEMBER as of the time it is authorized or approved.

(h) All interested directors must abstain from voting and, if necessary, leave the room when the vote is taken.

(i) The Board of Directors or the Committee, as applicable, will maintain a written account of all that transpires at the meeting and incorporate such account into the minutes of the meeting and disseminate it to the full Board of Directors. Such minutes will be presented for approval at the next meeting of the Board of Directors and maintained in the corporate record book.

(j) To the extent that the conflict of interest is continuing and the contract, action or transaction goes beyond one (1) year, the foregoing notice and discussion and vote will be repeated on an annual basis.

Personal Loans. MEMBER may not loan to, or guarantee the personal obligations of, any MEMBER Representative.


Frank López Ballesteros Founder and publisher

Between 2007 and 2015, Frank López Ballesteros was a reporter for the international desk of El Universal newspaper in Caracas, where he focused on the coverage of national security and anti-terrorism issues, as well as monitoring the domestic politics of several countries, including Cuba, Iran, and China.

Mr. López was part of the team of investigative journalists for Playboy Venezuela magazine, where, coexisting with erotic photos and frivolous topics, he gave the publication a formal and serious touch, with long-winded reports.

Frank obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Monteávila University in Caracas in 2006 and has a diploma in Terrorism Studies certified by the United Nations and the University of Carabobo, in Venezuela.


Carlos Tagliafico Senior editor, enterprise and strategic initiatives

Carlos is a political and international relations analyst who graduated from Florida International University (FIU).

He has co-founded several pro-democracy organizations that have reached the highest positions within the U.S. Government, working on the application of sanctions against non-democratic governments.

Product director, Brand storyteller with 10+ years of experience in the creation & execution of marketing campaigns for clients across various industries and regions, and enthusiastic program strategist that thrives in developing data-oriented results, that translate into unique brand awareness campaigns, and effective strategies for growth.


Making mistakes is natural for human beings. Then, finding some mistakes in our stories is normal, although we try to avoid them as much as possible.

Itempnews adheres to The New York Times correction guidelines:

We recognize an ethical responsibility to correct all factual errors, large and small, promptly and in a prominent space. We encourage readers to reach out to us at when they spot a possible mistake.

  • First, we determine if we made an error. We contact the reporters and editors involved and, if a correction is warranted, we adjust the article and add the correction.

  • Even when we catch a mistake mere seconds after publishing, we still acknowledge it with a correction. There is no five-second rule.

  • For obvious typos, we correct the error without appending a correction.

During breaking news, there are times when incorrect information is part of the story and does not require a correction: A death toll may be reduced, the number of suspects may change or officials may correct an earlier statement. We typically explain these changes in the updating article and do not append a correction.

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