Five nonprofit news leaders running for INN’s Board of Directors

Meet the Candidates

INN members, please meet the candidates seeking to represent you by running for three open seats on  INN's Board of Directors.

The three open seats are currently held by Lee Keough, editor-in-chief and co-founder of NJ Spotlight; Marcia Parker, publisher and chief operating officer of CALmatters; and Norberto Santana, Jr., publisher of Voice of OC.

Santana and Parker are both running for re-election and Keough opted not to seek re-election. Keough and Santana have served as board members since 2016. Parker was appointed to the board in December 2017 after Steve Beatty, former publisher of The Lens, stepped down from his seat.

The other candidates are Tom Gallagher of Religion News Service, Daniel Heimpel of The Chronicle for Social Change and Nancy West of the New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism.

Six representatives from INN's 160-plus members sit on INN's 11-member board and serve two year terms. Three of the six seats are open each year.

Voting opens Monday, June 4. Ballots will be emailed directly to the voting member at each member organization, which is typically the executive director or head of the organization.

Members can vote at any time until 9:30 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, June 14, during the INN annual meeting at INN Days 2018. Candidates attending the annual meeting will have the opportunity to give 5-minute presentations or statements to the assembled members before voting closes. For those not attending, their written statements will stand as their presentations.

The top three vote-getters will be selected and serve two-year terms from June 2018 to June 2020.

Votes will be counted immediately upon closure of the voting period and the election of the top three candidates confirmed by the board of directors at the annual meeting.


Tom Gallagher
President & CEO, Religion News Foundation
CEO & Publisher, Religion News Service

Bio: Tom was appointed to his current positions in November 2016.  In December 2017, the Lilly Endowment awarded Religion News Foundation a $4.9 million grant to create a Global Religion Reporting Initiative with two other news organizations, conditioned on securing certain tax guidance.

Tom worked on Wall Street as a securities and corporate lawyer and later on the equity trading floor and in the wealth management group at Goldman, Sachs & Co. He has been involved in technology start-ups and has served on a number of boards of directors.

Tom spent two years as a full-time volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity, founded by Saint Teresa of Calcutta, where he helped create, and then administer, the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center, Inc., a NYS nonprofit organization that serves as the authoritative source of information on Mother Teresa and assisted with her cause of canonization.

Tom has written about domestic and foreign affairs for the National Catholic Reporter from 2009-2016. In April 2016, he traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan to cover NYC’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s pastoral visit to displaced Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities living in displacement camps after being driven out of their homes in Mosul, Qaraqosh and surrounding villages by ISIS.

In 2017, the Connecticut Press Club awarded Tom First Place for Religion for two stories he filed from Iraqi Kurdistan. His work also has appeared in the Huffington Post & the Greenwich Time.

Tom received is B.A. in Philosophy and J.D. from The Catholic University of America. He is licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey, and secured a Masters Professional Certification in American College of Corporate Directors.

Statement: The work of INN is more important today than ever before.  Running a nonprofit news organization requires a deep willingness to observe, listen and learn from a diverse set of experts.  An INN board seat provides a superb opportunity to get connected to nonprofit news leaders throughout the year and to observe, listen and learn.

In addition, I am very impressed with Sue Cross and her work.  This past year I had an opportunity to talk with Sue and to come to understand the importance of INN.  This triggered a real interest in getting more involved with INN when the opportunity presented itself.  The time and opportunity have arrived.

The recently announced $4.9 million Lilly Endowment grant provides Religion News Service and our two news organization partners an extraordinary opportunity to cover the religion beat like it has never been covered before.  This initiative is expected to begin later in 2018. The timing of the implementation of the grant and the term of the board seat closely overlap. [A more detailed press release will be published once the tax guidance is received.]

One of my goals for an INN board seat is to share whatever best practices emerge out of this initiative with the INN board and INN members during the term of the board seat.


Daniel Heimpel
President, The Chronicle of Social Change

Bio: Daniel Heimpel is the president and founder of Fostering Media Connections, a national non-profit news organization dedicated to issues facing vulnerable children, youth and their families.

Fostering Media Connections (FMC) publishes a daily news site, The Chronicle of Social Change, and a print magazine, Fostering Families Today. Both have won numerous journalism awards and driven policy change at the county, state and federal level. Beyond his work leading FMC, Heimpel has also worked as an educator and an award-winning journalist.

Heimpel has taught graduate students on the intersection of journalism and child policy at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. In addition, through the Journalism for Social Change Massive Open Online Course, offered on the edX learning platform, Heimpel has trained thousands of students globally.

Heimpel has written and produced stories about vulnerable children for Newsweek, The American Prospect, Washington Monthly, LA Weekly, The Seattle Times, The Oprah Winfrey Network, KPCC and KCRW among many others. This coverage has garnered him journalism awards from the Children’s Advocacy Institute, The Los Angeles Press Club, The North American Resource Center for Child Welfare, The National Association of Social Workers, The Child Welfare League of America, California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth and The California Social Work Archives among others.

Statement: In the span of a decade – from 2006-2016 – the newspaper industry saw revenue more than halved, dropping from nearly $50 billion to less than $20 billion. As newsrooms shrunk or vanished altogether, substantive local reporting on social services has become increasingly rare. In my area of expertise – vulnerable children, youth and their families – the news stories that do appear disproportionately focus on isolated cases of tragedy, obscuring the true story of families in crisis. This degraded standard of local mainstream coverage is ubiquitous across subjects.

In my estimation a clear hope to maintain a high bar of local journalism and especially local journalism focused on social issues is the proliferation of the non-profit journalism industry. INN has clearly taken the lead in supporting non-profit journalism operations like yours and mine. Out of a recognition of what INN has done and will do for our field, I feel obligated to lend my talents to the organization by submitting my candidacy for INN’s Board of Directors.

In the course of my two-year term, I will focus on two goals: 1) bringing in funding to support reporting collaborations across INN member organizations; 2) increase membership by evangelizing INN’s rightful place as THE membership organization for the non-profit journalism field.


Marcia Parker
Publisher & Chief Operating Officer, CALmatters

Bio: Before joining CALmatters more than a year ago as Publisher and Chief Operating Officer, I was Executive Director for Content for Penton Technology, overseeing a dozen tech news sites for business professionals and a thriving content marketing studio. I’ve consulted on content strategy for a variety of digital media companies and startups and serve as a mentor to several Silicon Valley start-ups and media start-ups at the Matter accelerator in San Francisco.

I am also an adjunct lecturer on innovation at Northwestern University's San Francisco campus, an active member of the Online News Association, and proudly serve on the selection committee for the Stanford Knight Journalism Fellows.

A veteran digital journalist, I’ve previously held leadership roles as Editorial Director for State, a global opinion network in London; West Coast Editorial Director for Patch, where I started and ran 150 hyperlocal news sites in California and Washington state; launch director for CIR's California Watch state investigative unit, and Managing Editor of the Contra Costa Times newspapers. I also taught at and served for several years as Assistant Dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, another community I constantly draw on.

I have a master’s degree from Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy. Recently, I received the 2017 Jack Bates Distinguished Service to the California Press Award from the California Press Foundation, for which I am very grateful.

Statement: Taking a page from CALmatters, I'll start by saying this: INN matters.

I believe deeply in INN's mission and the vital role we are playing in saving and reinventing our industry, and the crucial role INN itself is playing at a time when the media industry is melting down and innovating for good, serving the information needs of communities across America. I appreciate that INN has created community among us, advocates for and trains us, identifies new opportunities for growth, and helps us tackle very big challenges. As an INN member I've taking lots of great training, participated in new initiatives like the Emma Bowen Foundation internship program, and reached out to a welcoming community, where I've made new friends who eagerly share their learning. I appreciate that we can be community and coach to new members who've launched nonprofit news startups, and also work together to build INN's own organizational strength and capacity.

For the last few months I've had the pleasure of being on the INN board, filling in the remainder of the term after The Lens Publisher and CEO Steve Beatty stepped down. I've really enjoyed the experience, learned a tremendous amount, and have tried to support Sue and the rest of board who are leading our organization through unparalleled growth, leveraged my network to help INN, and shared ideas and perspectives.

This is an extraordinary time for nonprofit news and I want to be part of advancing INN's work and our community.


Norberto Santana
Publisher, Voice of Orange County

Bio: Norberto Santana Jr., is an award-winning investigative reporter with nearly two decades reporting experience, most recently engaging Orange County government institutions and decision makers as the founding publisher of the nonprofit digital newsroom, Voice of OC. As publisher, Santana oversees all newsroom, engagement and fundraising operations and also writes a weekly Opinion column about Orange County government. In 2017, the Orange County Press Club recognized Santana as Orange County’s best columnist.

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, has worked as an elections analyst on National Endowment for Democracy programs across Latin America and was one of the founders of, a website featuring the work of dissident journalists inside Cuba that has operated since 1995.

Statement: As a member representative to the board of directors, I have consistently advocated for more services and advocacy for our members. I would continue that approach with another term on the board. My aim as a board member is to ensure that every newsroom, large or small, gets real value from their INN membership and sees INN as a solid industry advocate and best practices leader. I think the sheer growth of new members into INN is a testament to the success of this kind of approach.

At INN, when you are a small nonprofit newsroom, I’ve worked hard alongside other board members to ensure that your needs are considered alongside those of the large industry leaders and that foundations are hearing your voice as well as the importance of getting seed capital into our sector. We have worked hard alongside Sue Cross, our amazing and talented executive director, to expand INN Days at IRE and continue to provide real training – both in person and through webinars – on real issues for just about every person in your newsroom. In addition, our IT services are key for many nonprofit newsrooms.

For me as a board member, this is the direction we want to keep going on, where we keep helping establish strong, sustainable nonprofit newsrooms across America and also ensure that those who are succeeding are mentoring those just entering the sector. Together, we can reshape the news industry.

Nancy West
Executive Director, New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism

Bio: Nancy West founded the nonprofit New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism almost three years ago and is the executive editor of its website Our mission is to hold government accountable and give voice to marginalized people, places and ideas. West has won many awards for government, business and investigative reporting over the years. Much of her reporting over the years has focused on the criminal justice system, child abuse and mental health. She started out with very little money and has steadily gained readers and respect and is now on the verge of figuring out how to bring in enough money to pay people and grow. The need is great here in this news desert. West is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She is a mother and grandmother and is passionate about always telling truth to power and then hoping for the best.

Statement: When I started the New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism, I had no idea how much I didn’t know. I knew how to investigate and report a news story, but I had no idea how to run a nonprofit news outlet. The Institute for Nonprofit News is the only reason is up and running. The folks at INN have always encouraged me and more than that taught me everything I know through webinars that I continue to take advantage of, and INN even made it possible for me to attend INN days my first year, and again this year.

Rather than being daunting, it has been thrilling to be a part of the future of news after having had a pretty full career already. My goal if elected will be to always make sure the little guy/gal has a voice at INN. It’s what we do at, too. Thanks for your vote.