Knock is an independent, nonprofit news organization covering Door County, Wisconsin.
Knock advances the truth; centers, and drives understanding of, critical issues that affect Door County residents’ lives; and holds powerful institutions accountable to the people, including by investigating betrayals of the public trust and other abuses of power.
Who we are
Executive Director / Editor
Andrew Phillips is a longtime journalist and Door County native whose work has appeared in multiple Door County publications, as well as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Milwaukee Business Journal and The (Cedar Rapids, IA) Gazette. He is an alumnus of Gibraltar High School and graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in philosophy and journalism from Marquette University.
Mel Ripp is a seasoned writer and communications strategist who lives in Door County. She is a graduate of Sevastopol High School as well as the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English (Creative Writing) and Communication Arts (Radio, Television, and Film Production). Mel is the owner and founder of Peapod Marketing & PR Consulting, a full-service marketing communications firm that helps purpose-driven companies – and people – launch their big ideas and bring their stories into focus through writing, social media, and public relations strategies. Her feature writing has appeared in the Peninsula Pulse and Door County Living.
Lily Sweeney is a high school senior living in Door County. She attended Gibraltar High School until 2020 before transferring to Wisconsin Virtual Academy. Throughout high school, Lily wrote for the Gibraltar school newspaper, The Viking Voice. As a junior, she was elected Editor-in-Chief. She has also briefly worked with Write On, Door County and the Peninsula Pulse. She intends to pursue writing and journalism post-graduation.
Logan Thomas is a lifelong Door County resident currently living in Baileys Harbor. He is an alumnus of Gibraltar High School and attended St. Norbert College where he graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in communications and media studies.
Collin Massad is a Door County photographer specializing in fashion/product photography. A Gibraltar High School alumnus and MATC Marketing graduate, he is featured in publications including Sky Mall, The Capital Times, and various Door County media sources. His most cherished aspect of photography is working with fellow community artists and creatives.
Alan Kopischke is a university lecturer in both Theatre and in Arts Management, as well as an Equity actor, and an arts consultant specializing in launching new programs. He has served in staff and board leadership positions in arts nonprofits and local government, consulted with dozens of arts nonprofits, and launched the Cultural Alliance of Milwaukee, The Big Read Door County, Peninsula Players’ The Play’s the Thing staged reading program, and the Door Kinetic Arts Festival. Alan earned an MFA in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater and a BS in Math from the University of Miami, completed the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program at Harvard Business School, and has served on grant review panels for the Wisconsin Arts Board, the Milwaukee Arts Board and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s JEM grants.
Martha Luber Pelrine was born in Milwaukee and spent summers in Little Sister Bay picking strawberries, waterskiing and adventuring via boat around the Great Lakes. In 1972 her parents purchased Little Sister Resort and she continued high school at Gibraltar. After graduation she moved west and received her pharmacy degree from the University of Utah (and skied a lot). Martha returned to Sturgeon Bay where she met her husband Ray Pelrine after spending a decade in Salt Lake. Ray and Martha’s two children were born in Eau Claire while Ray was district attorney there and then the family returned to Little Sister Bay where Martha served on the school board for 12 years. She also currently serves on the Door Community Auditorium Board and is a trustee for The Nature Conservancy of Wisconsin.
Dr. Stephen Seyfer entered public school as a student in 1953 and retired from its employment in 2012. Across 59 years in public schools as student, teacher and administrator, he became a constant and continuous commenter on the life and times of our nation’s greatest institution. His career included teaching in Michigan and Iowa, principaling in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and district administration in Wisconsin. His current work includes election to a local school board, consulting for CESA 7 (Green Bay), blogging on Causing Learning.com, turning custom wood products for Wood in Hand, LLC, and grandfathering.
Rev. Dawn Volpe is a native of Staten Island, New York. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. degree in Elementary Education from Wagner College (S.I.). Upon graduating college, she became a classroom teacher in Brooklyn, N.Y., before moving to Lititz, PA, where she served as Director of Christian Education at Lititz Moravian Church. Following her tenure at Lititz, she earned a Master of Divinity degree from Moravian Theological Seminary. After 25 years serving congregations in Bronx, NY and New Carrollton, Maryland, she and her family moved to beautiful Door County, where she has been the pastor of Ephraim Moravian Church since 2010. Her son, Robert is an artist and a graduate of Gibraltar HS. Her husband, Bob serves on two fire departments as well as being a First Responder.
Knock is a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News — a nationwide network of independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations. Learn more at inn.org.
Editorial Independence Policy
We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News:
Knock retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of Knock. 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.
Knock may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but Knock 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.
Knock 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 Knock and in compliance with INN’s Membership Standards.
Donor & Financial Transparency
We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding Knock.
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.
Equity and Inclusion
Knock aims to reflect the diversity of the communities it serves in its staff and contributors, its editorial choices and priorities.
Advertising Acceptability Policy
Knock reserves the right to accept or decline any advertisement or sponsorship it is offered.
Knock will decline to accept advertising that it knows or believes to be misleading, inaccurate, fraudulent or illegal, or that fails to comply, in Knock’s sole discretion, with its standards of decency, taste or dignity.
Knock, like all quality publishers of original journalism, maintains a clear separation between news and advertising content. Advertising that attempts to blur this distinction in a manner that, in Knock’s sole judgment, confuses readers will be rejected.
Conflict of Interest Policy
The following Financial Conflict of Interest Policy (“Conflict of Interest Policy”) is an effort (i) to ensure that the deliberations and decisions of the Knock Publishing Company (“Knock”) are made solely in the interest of promoting the quality of journalism in Door County, Wisconsin, and (ii) to protect the interests of Knock when it considers any transaction, contract, or arrangement that might benefit or be perceived to benefit the private interest of a person affiliated with Knock (each, a “Knock Representative”). As used in this Conflict of Interest Policy, a Knock Representative includes any director, advisory board member, financial advisor, legal counsel or employee.
- Duty to Knock. Each Knock Representative owes a duty to Knock to advance Knock’s legitimate interests when the opportunity to do so arises. Each Knock Representative must give undivided allegiance when making decisions affecting the organization. Similarly, Knock Representatives must be faithful to Knock’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 Knock Representative shall personally accept gifts or favors that could compromise his or her loyalty to Knock. Any gifts or benefits personally accepted from a party having a material interest in the outcome of Knock or its employees by a Knock Representative individually should be merely incidental to his or her role as an Knock 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 Knock 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 Knock 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 Knock publication.
- Conflicts of Interest. The following are examples of conflicts of interest which must be promptly disclosed to the Knock Board of Directors pursuant to Section 4 below by any Knock Representative with knowledge of such conflict of interest:
- (a) any real or apparent conflict of interest between a donor or the subject of an Knock publication or report and an Knock Representative;
- (b) an Knock Representative’s ownership of an equity interest in a person or entity that is or will be the subject of an Knock publication or report; and
- (c) failure to disclose to Knock all relationships between the subject of any Knock publication or report and any Knock Representative or close relatives of the Knock Representative.
- Conflict Procedure:
(a) If an Knock Representative or party related to an Knock Representative has an interest in any contract, action or transaction to be entered into with Knock, a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest exists. Any Knock Representative having knowledge that such a conflict of interest exists or may exist (an “Interested Knock Representative”) will so advise the Board of Directors promptly. An Interested Knock Representative will include in the notice the material facts as to the relationship or interest of the Interested Knock Representative in the entity proposing to enter into a contract, action or transaction with Knock.
(b) Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, the Board of Directors may authorize any committee appointed pursuant to the Knock by-laws (a “Committee”) to act in lieu of the Board of Directors in determining whether an action, contract or transaction is fair to Knock 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 Knock 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 Knock and fair to Knock 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. Knock may not loan to, or guarantee the personal obligations of, any Knock Representative.