INN Days 2017

June 21-22, 2017 in Phoenix, AZ

Grand Sonoran J/K | Marriott Desert Ridge | Phoenix


Join us for INN Days 2017

Join us for two days of intensive business training for news organizations who want to move to the next level.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Marina Walker Guevara

Guevara co-managed the Panama Papers investigation, one of the biggest leaks in journalistic history, involving more than 370 reporters in 76 countries. Hear how ICIJ put together the news collaboration that earned a Pulitzer Prize and continues to change global finance and politics, and what is next for ICIJ’s reporting in the Americas and beyond.

The agenda includes the following hands-on workshops:

  • The Business Model Canvas Workshop
  • Jumpstart Year-End Fundraising Workshop
  • Prep Your Pitch Workshop

INN DAYS will also feature a Shark Tank funding pitch role play session, a review of Knight Foundation’s 2016 year-end fundraising campaign as well as the annual INN board and membership meetings.

The conference sessions are free for INN members in good standing, thanks to generous support from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the Knight Foundation. You can register for one or both days.

Registration is required for lunch and to reserve your seat for the hands-on training workshops. Members must register by June 2, 2017. Any remaining seats after that date will be offered to non-members for $85/seat.

Hotel Accommodations

INN has secured a block of rooms at the:

Marriott Springhill Suites Scottsdale North
17020 N. Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85255

Rate: $81/night plus tax. Includes free wifi, breakfast, and use of the Marriott Courtyard shuttle service to the Conference hotel and other locations within a 5-mile radius. Deadline for this hotel group rate is Monday, May 31, 2017, or until the room block is full. Book the INN DAYS group rate.

There is also hotel room block at the INN DAYS and IRE Conference Hotel:

JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge
5350 E. Marriott Drive
Phoenix, AZ 85054

Rate: $189/night (single/double) plus tax. Includes free internet

Reservations: IRE Conference Hotel Reservations and Travel Info

Deadline for reservations is May 30, 2017, or until the room block is full. We suggest you book early since the room block has sold out prior to the deadline in previous years.

June 21: Building Strong News Ventures

8:00 - 9:00: Coffee

Meet and network with nonprofit news leaders from across the country.

9:00 - 9:15: Welcome and introductions

INN Executive Director & CEO Sue Cross

9:15 - 12:15: The Business Model Canvas Workshop

Running a nonprofit news organization takes as much time and effort as running a global corporation. Why not use the same strategic tools? Whether you're planning to launch a new product, expand a current venture or refresh your whole strategy, employing the Business Model Canvas saves time, energy and funds. This workshop is equally valuable for experienced leaders planning new initiatives and journalists learning business planning basics to guide a startup. You will take away skills and tools you can use daily to strengthen your nonprofit news enterprise.
Presenter: Fran Scarlett, business growth adviser and INN director of programs and services

12:30 - 2:00: LUNCH - Foundation presentation about local journalism funding.
2:00 - 3:00: What we all can take away from #newsmatch

A presentation on learnings from the 2016 year-end matching campaign that every nonprofit — whether they participated or not — can use in strengthening their fundraising for 2017 and beyond.
Panel moderated by Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation

3:45 - 4:00: BREAK
4:00 - 5:15: Jumpstart Year-End Fundraising Workshop

Ten percent of all philanthropic gifts are donated on December 31, but expert fundraisers suggest you start planning early in the year to get the most out of your campaign. This interactive workshop will guide you through the tactical steps of setting a campaign planning calendar with key activities for each month.
Presenter: Mary Walter-Brown, News Revenue Hub

5:15 - 5:45: Fundraising systems & software: A quick spin through the options

Mary Walter-Brown on News Revenue Hub, MinnPost’s Andy Wallmeyer on enabling Salesforce and WordPress sites to talk to each other, and INN Labs Director Julia Smith on the free tools available for WordPress sites pulling together a fundraising suite.

5:45: Happy Hour - Hosted by Democracy Fund and Knight Foundation in the Desert Ridge Twenty6 Lounge D.

June 22: Making the Case for Nonprofit News

8:00 - 9:00: INN Networking – BYO Coffee
9:00 - 9:15: Welcome

INN Executive Director Sue Cross and INN Board Chair Laura Frank, Vice President, Rocky Mountain PBS

9:15 - 10:15: Keynote presentation: ICIJ in America

Presenter: Marina Walker Guevara co-managed the Panama Papers investigation, one of the biggest leaks in journalistic history, involving more than 370 reporters in 76 countries. Hear how ICIJ put together the news collaboration that earned a Pulitzer Prize and continues to change global finance and politics, and what is next for ICIJ’s reporting in the Americas and beyond.

10:30 - 11:15: Shark Tank ver. 501(c)3

You know the show—this is INN’s version—a light-hearted and educational pitch session with funders, an INN member and a professional fundraiser.
Funder Sharks - Tom Glaisyer, Democracy Fund; Barbara Raab,
Ford Foundation Pitchers: Steve Beatty and Bridget Gallagher

11:15 - 12:30: Prep Your Pitch Workshop

For a nonprofit leader, pitching is an essential part of the job, whether you are soliciting funds, recruiting a board member or landing a corporate sponsor. Hone your pitching skills under the tutelage of news media fundraiser extraordinaire, Bridget Gallagher.

12:30 - 2:00: LUNCH

Pick your inspiration: Table talks with the leaders of INNovation and investigative projects, plus plenty of time for networking, too.

  • Sponsored Video: David Fritze, Dena Drabek, Oklahoma Watch
  • Community Engagement: Norberto Santana Jr., Meg Waters, Theresa Sears, Voice of Orange County
  • Podcast Sponsorship: Anne Galloway, VT Digger
  • Major Donor Development (Events): Lorie Hearn, inewsource
2:00 - 2:45: Finding corporate sponsors when your project isn’t part of their tradition

Many nonprofit newsrooms recognize the revenue potential of corporate sponsorship, yet hesitate to dip their toes in. What are the first steps? Are there pitfalls to avoid? Here’s your chance to discover how to set up a corporate sponsorship program and what works in getting corporations to underwrite work they might not be entirely comfortable with or that isn’t familiar to them as something to sponsor.
Presenter: Seth Cothrun, Sonoran Institute

2:45 - 3:00: BREAK
3:00 - 4:00: Negotiating Strategic Partnerships

Strategic partnerships can offer big benefits, distributed audience, impact, and revenue—but what are the potential obstacles and how do you avoid them? Join colleagues engaged in partner relationships for a frank discussion and specific tactics that you can use to improve your collaborations and partnerships.
Presenters: Laura Frank, Rocky Mountain PBS; Jim Heaney, Investigative Post, Sam Fromartz, FERN

4:00 - 5:30: INN Members annual meeting and board election
  • 4:00 p.m. Annual meeting - Welcome — Laura Frank
  • 4:05 p.m. Candidate intros and statements, Q&A - Sue Cross introduces
  • 4:20 p.m. Voting break
  • 4:30 p.m. Deadline for votes. (Note: votes will be tallied during the board meeting and in most cases can be announced by the end of the board meeting.)
  • 4:30 p.m. Update on INN programs and plans. Sue Cross
  • 4:45 p.m. 5:30 p.m. Member feedback.
  • 5:30 p.m. Adjourn

June 23: Legal Defense Primer

And for those staying on through Friday, we’ve worked with our partners at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Knight Foundation to present special sessions for INN, LION and IRE members. No registration is needed.

9:00 - 10:30: Legal Defense Primer

(LION will host this joint session in Sonoran I; check hotel directory for location)
You’re a journalist chasing down the story, and you’ve hit a roadblock on a public records request. Do you need an attorney to navigate the appeals process? Probably not. You’ve got a prosecutor threatening to subpoena you to reveal a confidential source. Do you need an attorney to step in? Most definitely.

In this workshop, focused on independent journalists and nonprofit newsrooms, Reporters Committee Litigation Director Katie Townsend will review the types of issues and scenarios that should rise to the level of seeking assistance from a lawyer. She’ll also walk through a variety of resources that can help you navigate those issues that, while certainly complicated on their own, may not require an attorney to resolve.
Presenter: Katie Townsend, Reporters Committee For Freedom of the Press

10:30-11:30: Facebook Journalism Project: Local News Initiative

(Knight Foundation meeting room in Sonoran A; check hotel directory for location)
Earlier this year Facebook launched its Facebook Journalism Project, a multifaceted effort that in part is meant to improve its relationship with news organizations around the world. Facebook has been especially interested in working with local news outlets to better understand the unique challenges they face and collaborate on solutions. In this session, moderated by Stefanie Murray of the Center for Cooperative Media, you’ll get an update from Facebook about the initiative and hear from several leaders of INN and LION-affiliated local news organizations who will discuss using the platform and their challenges. Time will be reserved at the end for Q&A. You’ll also hear about Facebook’s effort with the Knight Foundation to work with local journalism organizations, and learn about the role that INN, LION and the Detroit Journalism Collaborative will play in working with Facebook to open training opportunities and experimentation to smaller, independent news organizations.

Presenters: Stefanie Murray, Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University; Dorrine Mendoza, Facebook; Josh Mabry, Facebook

Speaker Bios


Marina Walker Guevara

Deputy Director, ICIJ

Marina Walker Guevara is deputy director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a global network of reporters headquartered in Washington, D.C. Over a 20-year career, she has investigated environmental degradation by mining companies, the global offshore economy, the illicit tobacco trade and the criminal networks that are depleting the world’s oceans, among other topics. Her stories have appeared in leading international media, including The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, Le Monde and the BBC. Walker Guevara has managed some of journalism’s most consequential investigations on global corruption, including “The Panama Papers,” which involved more than 370 reporters in 76 countries and shook governments and businesses across the world. Other investigations include Swiss Leaks, Luxembourg Leaks and Offshore Leaks. A native of Argentina, Walker Guevara’s investigations have won or shared more than 40 national and international journalism awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting and honors from Long Island University’s George Polk Awards, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Overseas Press Club, Bartlett and Steele Awards, and Columbia University’s Maria Moors Cabot Award for distinguished Latin American reporting (special citation).


Steve Beatty

Publisher and CEO, The Lens

Steve Beatty is the publisher and CEO of The Lens, the first nonprofit online newsroom in New Orleans. The eight-member staff of the investigative website, which focuses on issues within the city, will mark its seventh anniversary of publishing in January. The Lens was among a cohort of nonprofit newsrooms that formed in 2009, and the leaders have all clung tightly together as they adjust from being journalists to small-business operators. Beatty worked at The Times-Picayune for 15 years, taking a job at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about a month before Katrina. After four fulfilling years there, he had the job he wanted running a top-notch watchdog team, but it was in the wrong city. The Lens formed shortly after he returned to New Orleans. The Akron, Ohio, native clings tightly to his only sheepskin, a bachelor's in journalism from Kent State. Beatty is an elected member of the INN Board of Directors.

Mary Walter-Brown

CEO, News Revenue Hub

Mary Walter-Brown is the former Publisher/COO at Voice of San Diego, the first strictly digital local nonprofit news organization in the country. Joining VOSD in 2011, She grew annual revenue by nearly $1 million and led the organization in building one of the most successful membership programs in the industry. In 2016, she launched the News Revenue Hub, a national project that provides centralized back-office management of membership programs for nearly a dozen news organizations including InsideClimate News, Marshall Project and Politifact. She is dedicated to helping news organizations diversify their revenue by building a stronger bond with their audiences through strategic engagement, effective technology tools and ongoing peer collaboration.

Seth Cothrun

Senior Director of Marketing & Development, Sonoran Institute

Seth is responsible for the Sonoran Institute’s brand and marketing strategies as well as leading the suite of development strategies that support the mission of the Sonoran Institute, a research organization that works at the nexus of commerce, community and conservation to connect people and communities with natural resources that sustain them. He joined the Sonoran Institute in 2013 to build the organization’s corporate partnership program and still leads this growing effort. Prior to joining the institute, he spent almost seven years managing business development and marketing initiatives throughout the Americas in the institutional asset management space, working with some of the largest public and private funds in the world. Prior to the financial industry, he spent several years as a project, then program, manager in the U.S. Forest Service throughout the West. He has lived and worked in México as a photographer, holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago in Anthropology & Latin American Studies and a B.A. from the University of Arizona in Anthropology & Latin American History.

Laura Frank

President and General Manager of news at Rocky Mountain PBS

Laura Frank was founder of I-News, the nonprofit investigative news organization that merged with Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting in 2013. RMPBS News continues to deliver multimedia investigative reports to news outlets across the Rocky Mountain region. Frank, a Denver native, has nearly two decades of experience at daily newspapers and in radio and public television. She was an investigative reporter at the Rocky Mountain News until it closed in 2009. Her stories have won top awards in both print and broadcast, helped release innocent people from prison, protect abused children and win aid for sick nuclear-weapons workers. Frank is an elected member and chair of the INN board of directors.

Samuel Fromartz

Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief, FERN

Samuel Fromartz is an author and veteran journalist who focuses on the intersection of the environment, food and farming. He began his career at Reuters news agency in the mid-1980s, working as a correspondent in Washington and as deputy editor for the Reuters Business Report in New York. Since leaving the news agency, his articles have appeared in Inc., Fortune, Business Week, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, among other publications. He is the author of Organic Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew (Harcourt, 2006) about the evolution of the organic foods industry. His most recent book, In Search of the Perfect Loaf: A Home Baker’s Odyssey (Viking, 2014), was a memoir that explored bakers, grains and bread. It won the IACP award for Literary Food Writing in 2015 and was short-listed for The Art of Eating book prize. Since serving as the founder editor of FERN, the organization has won two James Beard journalism awards. It also won a journalism award from IACP. He lives in Washington, D.C. and blogs at

Bridget Gallagher

Principal, Gallagher Group, LLC

Bridget provides fundraising strategy, implementation assistance, and counsel to U.S. and international clients working on media, information access, and civic participation issues in the context of the rapidly changing 21st century media ecosystem. A 15-year veteran of the nonprofit sector, Gallagher first began working with nonprofit media projects via the Center for Public Integrity, one of the nation’s oldest nonprofit newsrooms. Since launching Gallagher Group LLC in 2010, her clients have included content producers and broadcasters, media trainers and development organizations, think tanks, and universities, at all stages of development, from startup to established institution. Gallagher’s clients have included the Global Investigative Journalism Network, American University, the Institute for Nonprofit News, Internews, Index on Censorship, The Nation Institute, and PBS, among others. She works closely with her clients to instill simple fundraising discipline within their operations, taking a personal, proactive, and creative approach to donor identification, cultivation, and solicitation, and her programs have resulted in millions of dollars and the growth and development of non-profit media as a philanthropic priority.

Tom Glaisyer

Program Director, Public Square, Democracy Fund

Tom Glaisyer directs the Public Square Program at the Democracy Fund. Focusing on a vibrant media and the public square, Tom leads the Democracy Fund’s mission to invest in innovations and institutions that help people understand and participate in the democratic process. Current grantees of the Public Square Program include the Institute for Nonprofit News, the American Press Institute, and the Engaging News Project. Glaisyer previously led the Media Policy Initiative at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. His efforts centered on policies that support the open Internet and innovation in media, strengthening independent reporting on issues of public interest and helping citizens access and engage with high-quality information. Prior to this, he was a consultant and analyst focused on leveraging online platforms for knowledge management and building and sustaining advocacy networks. He also brings more than 14 years of international experience in information technology implementation and organizational change to the Democracy Fund. Glaisyer received his bachelor of engineering and economics from the University of Birmingham, England. He holds a master’s of international affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University as well as a master’s of philosophy from Columbia University where he is pursuing a PhD in communications at the Graduate School of Journalism. He serves as board secretary for the Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding.

Jim Heaney

Founder, Editor and Executive Director, Investigative Post

Heaney is responsible for managing both the editorial and business sides of Investigative Post, a nonprofit investigative reporting center based in Buffalo, N.Y. A former Pulitzer Prize finalist, he launched Investigative Post in 2012 after working as a reporter and editor at The Buffalo News and Orlando Sentinel. Heaney has structured partnerships with NBC and NPR outlets in Buffalo as well as several newspapers in the region and around the state. Investigative Post also has built a diversified revenue base that generates significant funds from syndication fees, foundations, individual donors and events. Investigative Post is known for its high-impact, multi-media reporting. Its coverage has been cited for excellence by organizations that include Investigative Reporters & Editors, the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Jennifer Preston

VP/Journalism, Knight Foundation

Jennifer Preston joined Knight Foundation in October 2014 following 19 years at The New York Times as a digital journalist, reporter and senior editor. In 2009 she became the company’s first social media editor. In 2011 she returned to reporting, focusing on the impact of social media in politics, government, business and real life. Her most recent work as an editor focused on extending digital media and social media storytelling and curation across the newsroom. Before becoming social media editor, Preston edited four Sunday weekend sections for the Metropolitan Desk and served as senior editor in the Office of the Executive Editor, working across the newsroom on budget, career development, diversity, newsroom policies and staffing.Earlier in her career, Preston worked as an editor and circulation marketing manager at New York Newsday and as a reporter in Philadelphia for The Bulletin and The Philadelphia Daily News. Since 2007 she has taught journalism, primarily at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. She frequently speaks about the role of social media in journalism at media and technology industry conferences. Preston is the winner of reporting awards including the New York Press Club’s Gold Typewriter Award for Public Service and the New York State Bar Association’s Award for investigative reporting. In November 2013, she shared an award from El Mundo in Madrid with Anthony DeRosa, former social media editor at Reuters, for their pioneering work in using social media for journalism. Preston graduated magna cum laude from Boston University with a degree in journalism. She was a 2010 fellow in the Sulzberger Leadership Program at Columbia University. In 2013, she was elected to the board of directors of the Online News Association, and Fast Company named her as one of the top 25 women to follow on Twitter. She is the author of “Queen Bess,” a biography of Bess Myerson.

Barbara Raab

Program Officer, Creativity and Free Expression, Ford Foundation

Barbara Raab works on the Creativity and Free Expression team. She has focused on the development and support of high-quality, principled reporting in the United States, with an emphasis on social justice, a diversity of voices, and press freedoms. Her work has helped foster new and innovative models of reporting, as well as building and sustaining centers of journalistic excellence. Before joining the foundation in 2014, Raab was a senior member of the editorial leadership team at NBC News. As senior news writer for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, she covered every major news story over a period of 15 years and shared in journalism’s highest awards and honors. In 2013, she served as senior producer for In Plain Sight, NBC News’ Ford-funded multi-platform reporting effort on poverty in the United States, a project that was honored with the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award. Since 2008, Raab has been an adjunct associate professor and coach at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She is a longtime volunteer leader in nonprofit and community organizations and a frequent moderator and public speaker. She earned her juris doctor degree from New York University School of Law and her bachelor’s degree from Brown University, where she is a member of the Pembroke Center Associates Council at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women.

Fran Scarlett

Director of Programs and Services and Business Growth Advisor, INN

Fran Scarlett is INN’s director of programs and services. She specializes in helping organizations understand and leverage their value propositions to build business models that maximize their potential for revenue growth and long term sustainability. Prior to INN, Fran served as the regional director of the Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She was responsible for launching and growing small businesses and securing capital investment with the goal of creating jobs in the region. Prior to that, she ran her own management consulting firm, Scarlett Ink Media, providing strategic and tactical consulting to news media organizations with an emphasis on developing new revenue models; product development and cross-platform collaborations. Scarlett received her MBA from Harvard University and a B.S. in Mass Communications, from Boston University.

Julia Smith

Director, INN Labs

Julia Smith leads product development and technology services for the Institute for Nonprofit News as director of INN Labs. INN Labs provides custom technology solutions for journalism organizations including National Public Media, public broadcast stations and dozens of independent public service news organizations. It is also responsible for the development and maintenance of Largo, an open-source WordPress theme that currently enables more than 150 media organizations to reach their digital audiences. Smith is a data journalist and technologist who brings news design, software development and agency experience to the leadership of INN Labs. She joined INN in 2016 from the Center for Investigative Reporting, where she was a Knight-Mozilla Fellow and news application developer. Smith’s data reporting projects have been recognized with an IRE Philip Meyer Award and a NATAS Emmy Award for New Approaches in Current News Coverage. Her editorial work has appeared in National Geographic, Reveal, The Chicago Reporter, and The Omaha World-Herald. Smith frequently speaks at journalism-tech conferences across the globe, sharing insights on newsroom product management, news application design and interactive storytelling techniques. She is earning her M.S. in Information Design & Strategy from Northwestern University with a specialization in Data Science & Analytics and holds a B.A. in journalism from Creighton University.

Andrew Wallmeyer

Publisher & CEO, MinnPost

Wallmeyer is the publisher and CEO of MinnPost, a founding member of INN best known for its coverage of Minnesota politics and policy. Launched in 2007, MinnPost has grown to become one of Minnesota’s most respected news outlets, and a national leader in the nonprofit news industry. He joined MinnPost as publisher in 2014, adding the CEO title in 2016, upon the retirement of MinnPost co-founders Joel & Laurie Kramer. As publisher and CEO, Wallmeyer leads a staff of 22, spending most of his time on business development, audience growth, and strategic partnerships. Prior to joining MinnPost, he spent three years as a strategic management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he served clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to regional civic groups. Before McKinsey, he reported for a number of news organizations in the U.S. and Germany, including The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Associated Press, Dow Jones Newswires, the Wisconsin State Journal, and the Stillwater (Minn.) Gazette. Wallmeyer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he led the campus newspaper (The Daily Cardinal) and the student union, and an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, where he was president of his MBA class.

INNovation Fund Projects Table Hosts

David Fritze

Executive Editor, Oklahoma Watch

David Fritze joined Oklahoma Watch as executive editor in late 2012. The statewide nonprofit media organization produces investigative and in-depth content on important public-policy issues facing Oklahoma, with a focus on the poor and disadvantaged. Under Fritze, the publication has grown to a staff of seven, increased and diversified its financial support, and garnered state and regional awards for its stories, data, videos, radio reports and public forums. Before joining Oklahoma Watch, Fritze worked at The Arizona Republic for 20 years in a variety of positions, including business, metro and national editor, a senior reporter, and an editor leading a team of investigative and enterprise journalists. Previously, he was a reporter at the Dallas Times Herald and, before then, a writer and editor at Oklahoma Monthly magazine. He grew up in Oklahoma City, graduated from the University of Oklahoma journalism school and worked for several Oklahoma newspapers. He spent a year in Ecuador on a Rotary Foundation journalism fellowship.

Anne Galloway

Founder and Editor, VTDIgger

Anne Galloway is the founder and editor of and executive director of the nonprofit Vermont Journalism Trust. VTDigger, based in Montpelier, VT, is dedicated to watchdog coverage of state government, politics, education, business, energy, health care, the environment and criminal justice. Sixty-five percent of VTDigger’s revenues come from sustainable sources. In 2015, the organization has a 13-member staff, 150,000 unique readers a month and a budget of $1 million. VTDigger has received funding from the Knight Foundation, Sunlight Foundation, Ben & Jerry’s Foundation and J-Lab. Galloway previously worked as a reporter and editor in Vermont for 20 years. She was the editor of the Sunday Rutland Herald and Barre Times Argus from 2004 until January 2009, when she was handed a pink slip along with 16 other employees. For many years, Galloway was a contributing writer for Seven Days Newspaper in Burlington. Her reporting has appeared in the New York Times (the Vows column), the New York Daily News, Vermont Life and City Pages (Minneapolis). Galloway is an elected member of the INN Board of Directors.

Lorie Hearn

Founder, Executive Director, inewsource

Lorie Hearn is founder, executive director and editor of inewsource, a data-driven journalism nonprofit based at San Diego State University. Over her journalism career, Hearn has been both a reporter and editor at five newspapers. Her staff was part of The San Diego Union-Tribune’s 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning stories that exposed the bribery of Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham. At inewsource, her reporters have won eight national awards, including two certificates from Investigative Reporters and Editors. Her team was nominated for a national Emmy in 2015. She left the Union-Tribune in 2009, amid catastrophic layoffs and a decline in legacy media, to start an investigative reporting organization as a nonprofit. inewsource has been a model in public media partnerships in the nonprofit media space.
Hearn was a Nieman Foundation fellow at Harvard University, and now lectures about investigative journalism at SDSU.

Kate Lesniak

Publisher, Bitch Media

Kate Lesniak is the Publisher at Bitch Media, and there's nothing more energizing to her than outstanding engagement models that not only distribute content, but also sustain organizations financially. Lesniak arrived at Bitch Media as the Director of Development in 2012, hungry for the kinds of nuanced perspectives that were secondary in progressive political organizing. Four years later, after launching innovative media products and setting Bitch Media on the path towards long-term financial sustainability—Lesniak serves as Publisher and is challenged daily by one question: How does Bitch thrive in an environment that caters to corporate media and is constantly evolving through new engagement models and platforms? A product of Buffalo, New York, Burlington, Vermont, and about 1,000 feet of snow, Lesniak takes pride in turning the inclement into opportunity. Before Bitch, she worked as a digital organizer and fundraiser, most recently with Democracy for America as the Deputy Finance Director and with Corporate Accountability International as a special projects grant writer. Lesniak is currently a member of The Media Consortium's program committee and an adviser at Making Contact. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Lesniak also served as team captain for the Women's Ice Hockey team. Above all else, she values creativity, accountability, and collaboration.

Norberto Santana Jr.

Publisher, Voice of Orange County

Norberto Santana Jr., is an award-winning investigative reporter with nearly two decades reporting experience directly engaging with Orange County government institutions and decision makers. As Publisher, Santana oversees all newsroom, engagement and fundraising operations and also writes a regular Opinion column about Orange County government. Before founding Voice of OC in 2009, Santana was a lead investigative reporter for the Orange County Register from 2004-2009, focusing on county government. He’s spent nearly two decades just focusing on local governments across Southern California, previously as a staff writer with outlets such as the San Diego Union Tribune and the San Bernardino County Sun. Santana began his journalistic career in the early 1990s as an apprentice reporter with Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C. covering daily floor action in the U.S. Congress and followed that up with a stint covering the territorial Senate for the U.S. Virgin Islands Daily News. In addition to his experience as a journalist, the Southern California native has a master’s in Latin American Studies and has worked as an elections analyst on National Endowment for Democracy programs across Latin America. He also has direct experience on Internet start-ups as one of the founders of, a website for dissident writers inside Cuba that has operated since 1995.


Stephanie Murray

Director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University

Stephanie Murray is the Director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. Murray, a Michigan native, previously worked in Michigan and Tennessee as a reporter, editor, digital media manager and news executive. Before joining the Center, she worked for Gannett Co. as vice president and executive editor of The Tennessean in Nashville, and was with the Detroit Free Press before that. Her professional passions are digital media innovation, local journalism, community engagement and audience analytics. She has a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting and journalism from Central Michigan University.

Katie Townsend

Litigation Director, RCFP

Katie Townsend is litigation director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, an unincorporated nonprofit association of reporters and editors based in Washington, D.C. Townsend oversees the direct litigation work of RCFP attorneys, and represents RCFP, news organizations, and individual journalists, including investigative filmmakers, in court access, freedom of information, and other First Amendment and press freedom matters. Prior to joining the Reporters Committee in 2014, Townsend was an associate in the Los Angeles office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where she specialized in media and entertainment litigation. In May 2014, she was named a "Rising Star" – one of the nation's top media and entertainment attorneys under the age of 40 – by Law 360. She was recognized in 2015 as a Washington, D.C. "Rising Star" by The National Law Journal and, in 2015, was named part of the "Next Gen - Hollywood's Up-and-Coming Execs 35 and Under" by the Hollywood Reporter. Townsend is a 2007 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was a member of the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida in 2004 with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in broadcast journalism.

Investigative Reporters & Editors Conference

This year’s IRE conference is June 22-25. Here are the IRE Conference and Registration Details.

INN members who want to attend the IRE Conference must register IRE Conference Registration ($285 early bird price until June 2). IRE registration is not required for members who want to attend only INN Days training sessions.

Special Thanks

Support for INN Day was provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and meeting space was provided by Investigative Reporters & Editors. INN thanks all of its sponsors and partners for their generous support of nonprofit news and INN’s programs.

Foundations & Organizations

Climate Confidential
Craigslist Foundation
Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation
Ford Foundation
Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Joyce Foundation
Open Society Foundations
Robert R. McCormick Foundation
The Atlantic Philanthropies
The Democracy Fund
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation
The Patterson Foundation
The Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Individual Supporters

Trevor Aaronson
Neal Bansal
Steve Beatty
Judith Burleigh
Kate Butler
Reg Chua
Climate Confidential
David Coursin
Michael Cross-Barnet
Molly de Aguiar
Jeff Emerson
Michael Fleeman
Laura Frank
Anne Galloway
Giovanni Gentile
Elinor Gollay
Tanja Hester
Anne Hollander
Brian Hopman
Brant Houston
Beth Hutchins & Pete Skeggs
Kay James
Susan Jenkins
Lee Keough
Charles Lewis
Leslie Marable
Anna Mudd
John Plaza
Ebony Reed
Norberto Santana
Fran Scarlett
Neal Shapiro
Stillman Taylor
Bruce Theriault
Karin Winner
Hsiu Mei Wong
Buzz Woolley

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