TRM aims to inspire useful discussion and historic action for a more compassionate, collaborative Iowa and Illinois that does better for everyone, especially marginalized groups like women; BIPOC communities (Black, Indigenous and People of Color); LGBTQ people; seniors and elders; people of different belief systems; gig workers; independent artists; and people with conditions or diseases or who are disabled.

TRM is founded on the principles of The Four-Way Test, which is a central part of the nonprofit service organization Rotary Club International:


To learn more about the Four-Way Test, read the excerpt below:

About The Four-Way Test

Any ethical system that calls
for living the truth
and measuring actions
on the basis
of benefits to others
is demanding.

Such a test can stir
bitter conflict
for those who try to balance
integrity and ambition.
Sizzling debates have been held
in various parts of the world
on its practicality
as a way of living.

There are always some skeptics
and negative thinkers
who view The Four-Way Test
as a simplistic philosophy
of dubious worth,
contradictory meaning,
and unrealistic aims.

The Test calls
for thoughtful examination
of one’s motives and goals.
This emphasis on truth, fairness
and consideration
provide a moral diet so rich
that it gives some people
“ethical indigestion.” …

The Four-Way Test
is international,
transcending national boundaries
and language barriers.
It knows no politics,
dogma or creed.
More than a code of ethics,
it has all the ingredients
for a successful life
in every way.

It can and will work
in today’s society.

Few things are needed more
in our society 
than moral integrity.
The Four-Way Test
will guide those who dare
to use it for worthy objectives:
• choosing, winning,
and keeping friends
• getting along well with others
• ensuring a happy home life
• developing high ethical
and moral standards
• becoming successful
in a chosen business or profession
• and becoming a better citizen
and better example
for the next generation.

Eloquently simple,
stunning in its power,
undeniable in its results,
The Four-Way Test offers
a fresh and positive vision
in the midst of a world
full of tension,
confusion and uncertainty. 

-- Author Unknown

The Real MainStream also strives to conduct advocacy journalism within the broad ethical structure of the Code of Journalism Ethics, prepared by the Society of Professional Journalists, of which founder Christine Hawes is a member. The founding principles of the SPJ are to seek truth and report it; minimize harm; act independently; and be accountable and transparent:

spj code of ethics

The Real MainStream is also a member of the National Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists (NLGJA).