#GivingNewsDay campaign aims to raise money and awareness for nonprofit journalism across the country

Led by NewsMatch, 155 nonprofit news organizations unite on annual Giving Tuesday to strengthen their collective voices
Nov. 27, 2018: NewsMatch, the largest grassroots campaign for nonprofit news, is uniting newsrooms around the country on Giving Tuesday as part of a nationwide #GivingNewsDay to support trustworthy journalism. The day is intended to drive as many donations to nonprofit news as possible to sustain quality journalism that keeps communities informed. #GivingNewsDay will leverage the energy and momentum in the nonprofit community on Giving Tuesday to increase support for nonprofit journalism which covers vital issues facing our nation and local communities, from education to the environment to the economy. #GivingNewsDay is a chance for people to support the issues they care about and the journalists who report on them.

Bipartisan Legislation that Would Rebuild Local News

Institute for Nonprofit News has taken the rare step of joining a coalition of local news organizations, journalism funders, reporters and advocacy groups (the Rebuild Local News Coalition) in signing an open letter to Congress in support of an important, bipartisan piece of legislation that would help local news organizations.

California Watch Reveals Public Schools’ Seismic Safety Issues

After a 19-month investigation, the California Watch staff produced a three-day series “On Shaky Ground” exposing how nearly 1,100 school building projects remained structurally unsound despite supervisors’ warnings. The first part of the series showed how top officials at the Division of the State Architect failed to enforce the Field Act, which guaranteed buildings were sound the day students stepped into the school. http://californiawatch.org/k-12/lax-oversight-school-construction-raises-doubts-about-earthquake-safety-9537

Part two explained how nearly two-thirds of inspectors who had work-related deficiencies kept their jobs and worse yet, these inspectors missed crucial safety defects. http://californiawatch.org/k-12/troubled-school-inspectors-slip-through-state-s-oversight-9457

The final part of the series illustrated how schools cannot access money to fix their buildings because of bureaucratic issues. http://californiawatch.org/node/9535/

The story initially began as a safety issues piece remembering the 20th anniversary of the Loma Pieta earthquake. But after scouring thousands of PDFs, creating a database and receiving confidential records, the California Watch creating the series that included nearly 20,000 words of text and over a dozen videos. California Watch is a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Case Study: How Madison365 Stays True to Its Mission While Earning More than Half Its Revenue from Businesses

Today INN has released the second case study from its Ignite Sponsorship Program funded by Google News Initiative (GNI). This case shows how Madison365  — one of only a handful nonprofit outlets dedicated to serving communities of color in U.S. — has managed to build more than half of its revenue from event sponsorship, business membership packages and additional advertising. 

This piece was written by Emily Roseman for Blue Engine Collaborative, a new consortium of independent consultants and advisers with deep experience in driving audience and revenue at for-profits and nonprofits, and includes input from Agnes Varnum, deputy director of the Texas Tribune’s Revenue Lab; Steve Shalit, Business Development Director at NJ Spotlight; and Chloe Kizer, a consultant on media operations and growth. The first Ignite Sponsorship Program case study about The Rivard Report was released a week ago. Download the Report
Here are the four most important things you should know about why Madison365 has been so successful at generating earned revenue:

Madison365 leads with its mission in all its business dealings, that is: to produce coverage specifically for communities of color in Madison and Wisconsin at large. Diversity is vitally important from both a moral and business standpoint for Madison365.

Case Study: How The San Antonio Report Generates Three Times More Revenue than the Average Nonprofit Newsroom

With funding from Google News Initiative (GNI), the Institute for Nonprofit News has launched the IGNITE Sponsorship Program to enable a cohort of established nonprofit newsrooms to increase their earned revenue from sponsorships. The first plank of this initiative is an in-depth case study of one particularly successful nonprofit newsroom — San Antonio’s Rivard Report — which has bucked the typical reliance on grants and individual donations by managing to generate about one-third of its revenue from sponsorships and what it calls “business memberships.”

Chicago INN Amplify members collaborate on online voter tool for city elections

By Sharon McGowan
INN Amplify Collaborations Leader

Chicago elected its first African-American woman and openly gay mayor on April 2, and the date also marked the culmination of Chi.vote, a hugely successful collaborative journalism project geared toward educating voters about the municipal elections. Fernando Diaz, editor of The Chicago Reporter, called the project a “fantastic” success. “We did something together that we’d never done before, and hadn’t been done in Chicago,” he said, adding that users had an overwhelmingly positive experience. The Better Government Association (BGA), The Chicago Reporter and Block Club Chicago, all INN Amplify members, were also founding members of Chi.vote, along with The Daily Line and The TRiiBE. Contributors included Chalkbeat Chicago and City Bureau, also INN Amplify members.

Congratulations to Newly Elected Directors of the Board

At yesterday's INN Annual Meeting, Board of Directors Chair Laura Frank announced the results of this year's election for member representative positions. This was the most diverse slate ever to run for the INN board, and it was a truly competitive process with seven candidates vying for four positions. The newest members of the board are Erika Dilday, CEO and executive director of INN member Futuro Media, and Ron Smith, editor/program director for INN member Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and an instructor of practice in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Marquette University’s Diederich College of Communication. Re-elected to the board were Marcia Parker, CEO and publisher of CalMatters, and Norberto Santana, Jr., publisher and editor in chief, Voice of OC. "Having the most diverse slate ever, in addition to healthy competition, for our board of director positions is another sign of the deep dedication our members have to INN and its mission to strengthen and support public service journalism," Frank said.

CrowdTangle to Support INN Members During Election Season

Starting in September, CrowdTangle will provide INN members with access to programs, resources, and 1:1 support to help them report on how content is being shared across social media. Over the past few years, CrowdTangle has seen investigative journalists globally use their online tool to discover stories and report on the spread of public content across social platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. As we get closer to the US 2020 election, while continuing to confront a global health pandemic, the ability to track and fact-check viral content is as critical as ever. 

CrowdTangle has also recently built a new hub for investigative journalists that includes multiple resources for how to use CT in investigative journalism. This is accessible for any CrowdTangle user, so they can learn how to use the tool to find stories and report more broadly on social trends whether it relates to upcoming elections, COVID-19, or local stories. Outlets that don’t have access to CrowdTangle can apply to be immediately onboarded here or by reaching out to support@crowdtangle.com.

Davis Leaving INN

INN will continue to support digital and innovative technologies, networking among its members, and the pooling of resources for cost efficiencies among its members. It will also continue to promote the highest standards in journalism.

Do Your Homework: Resources for Furthering DEI Conversations in Newsrooms

As we approach the September 22 start of the INN at Home: Racial Equity in Journalism conference, we’d like to share some resources on racial equity for those who can engage in pre-reading. Many of our conference speakers have spoken or written about equity in journalism — we asked our speakers to submit resources that spoke to them. For those who are unable to attend INN at Home, we hope this can be a resource for getting started or furthering your DEI conversations. If you’re interested in attending INN at Home, register by Sept. 18.

Do’s and Don’ts of Covering Protests

On June 4, INN invited members to a webinar on how to navigate some of the ethical and legal challenges journalists are faced with in covering the current protests over police brutality after the death of George Floyd. Sarah Matthews, a senior staff attorney at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Tracie Powell, program officer, Racial Equity in Journalism Fund at Borealis Philanthropy, covered practical tips and guidance for reporters who are covering protests including a discussion of curfew rules/media exemptions as well as advice on how journalists can approach this protest story. Because these topics are important to all journalists, we'd like to share how reporters can cover these protests in a respectful, responsible way. We thank Tracie Powell and the team at REJ, Borealis for sharing with us. Download as a PDF.

Emergency campaign for nonprofit news: Goal to sustain essential reporting during COVID-19 crisis

In recognition of the essential role of nonprofit news organizations in covering the COVID-19 crisis, a rapid-response effort to support journalism will kick off on May 5 in conjunction with #GivingTuesdayNow — a global day of unity from GivingTuesday. More than 200 nonprofit newsrooms have been invited to create giving pages on NewsforGood.org, a new website created by the Institute for Nonprofit News to help donors find trusted local and investigative newsrooms to support. News Revenue Hub, the American Journalism Project, and NewsMatch are also supporting the campaign. “Nonprofit journalists are on the frontlines of this public health crisis,” said Sue Cross, executive director of the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), which supports more than 250 independent news organizations across the United States. “We are seeing reporters in our network going above and beyond, taking risks, and breaking stories before traditional media outlets learn of them.”

Nonprofit newsrooms are providing an essential service during this pandemic, as daily and weekly newspapers in communities across the country are furloughing reporters or shutting down entirely. 

“This crisis drives home the need for local, accurate information — and a nonprofit business model to support that journalism that relies on public support, not advertising,” said Jason Alcorn, managing director, strategy and operations at the American Journalism Project. 

In recent weeks, larger members of the INN network like ProPublica and CalMatters have published groundbreaking stories that have been picked up by mainstream media outlets, while smaller organizations have used their innovative thinking and topical expertise to tell the stories their constituents needed to hear, for example:

When Detroit began suffering one of America’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks, the staff of Outlier Media expanded its text-based coverage of housing and public utilities for low-income residents to include healthcare, safety, and childcare.

Emily Roseman to Lead INN Research

As research director and editor, Roseman will run INN Index, an annual study and the most comprehensive source of data about the emerging nonprofit news field. INN's more than 300 members work as an innovation network reinventing and rebuilding journalism as a public service.

FairWarning Receives Grant from Charles Evans Foundation

FairWarning, the Los Angeles-based investigative news organization that focuses on issues of public safety and health, government and business, has been awarded a $100,000 grant by the Charles Evans Foundation. “The Evans Foundation has been a fantastic supporter of our efforts to produce strong, public interest journalism,” said Myron Levin, executive director of FairWarning in a press release earlier this week. “They have come through for us once again, for which we are deeply grateful.”

Since FairWarning’s launch in March, 2010, its reports and commentaries have appeared in more than 35 news outlets across the U.S., including the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian, The Kansas City Star, Mother Jones, the Orange County Register, the Houston Chronicle and The Dallas Morning News. The Evans Foundation has supported a wide range of causes, ranging from fire safety and public health to projects to assist the disadvantaged. FairWarning has also received support from the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, the Public Welfare Foundation, The Renaissance Foundation and the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University School of Communication.

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.

Four New Members Join INN

The additional members signal growth in the organization of more than 100 nonprofit news organizations that produce a diverse range of journalism from local, state and regional news to single-subject enterprise reporting.

How Five Newsrooms Benefited from NewsMatch this Year

As the next NewsMatch campaign is getting ready to launch Nov. 1, Mark Glaser interviewed INN members South Dakota News Watch, Sahan Journal, The Current, Patagonia Regional Times and Mississippi Today to hear about how much money they raised last year, how it helped their newsrooms and what they would tell others interested in joining this year.

I Left Journalism Because It Had a Problem with Race. I Came Back to Change It

I left journalism 12 years ago, one of many “leavers” who had become disenchanted with the industry. I came back four years ago to join the Institute for Nonprofit News as its Chief Knowledge Officer in charge of programming and events that help INN members learn from experts and from each other as nonprofit news leaders. I was excited to see journalism presented as a public service — a different kind of journalism that is intentional about serving everyone, not just the information needs of the few. I was excited to see that, with that framework of journalism, there were a growing number of news entrepreneurs looking to do journalism in a new way — to not repeat the mistakes of legacy media, especially the mistake of ignoring or misrepresenting communities of color. That year, when I went to present at my first INN Days, the conference was just as white as when I left eight years before.

INN and Columbia Journalism School partner on new internship program

Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, responding to a news media job market in crisis due to the COVID-19 virus, is collaborating with two non-profit news organizations to provide graduating students with paid internships and reporting grants to support their transitions to professional journalism. The Columbia Journalism School Internship and Grants Program will support as many as 25 full-time, 10 to 12-week paid internships at non-profit news media companies through a partnership with the Institute for Nonprofit News. And separately, the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting has established a dedicated $50,000 fund to award grants, each one generally under $5,000, so graduates can continue work on their theses or develop other freelance stories to be pitched for publication. The new investments in graduating students complement existing postgraduate fellowships and grants at the Journalism School which fund investigative reporting, international reporting, and coverage of the media at Columbia Journalism Review. The new effort recognizes that the media environment, constrained by safety practices to contain the COVID-19 virus, has created extraordinary challenges for the class of 2020, as news organizations reduce, postpone or eliminate internship programs and other positions.

INN Announces New Member Focusing on Juvenile Justice Issues

The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange has joined the Investigative News Network, a growing consortium of some 60 news organizations in North America. JJIE is a news source and conversation hub for juvenile justice and the related areas of child welfare, mental health and public education. Since its launch in 2010, JJIE.org has grown into a national powerhouse for convening informed conversations around youth justice issues. “We are excited about having JJIE and Kennesaw State University as part of the network,” said Kevin Davis, CEO and Executive Director of INN. “Juvenile justice issues are chronically underreported by the mainstream media and we are delighted to help bring high quality and persistent coverage of this important area.”

JJIE.org’s goal is to help the general public, practitioners, educators, parents, youth, policymakers and lawmakers better understand juvenile justice issues both singularly and as a part of the larger child welfare, mental health and educational ecosystem.

INN Condemns Attack on Democracy

While some will continue to attack the media, we will continue to support our members as they deliver fact-based information about the issues essential to the well being of our people and our democracy.

INN Days 2017

Join us for INN DAYS 2017 - two+ days of intensive business training for news organization who want to move to the next level.

INN Days 2018

June 13-14, 2018
 Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld
Thank You for attending INN Days 2018! About INN DaysSpeaker BiosIRE Conference 
Save the date for INN Days 2019 on June 12-13 @ Marriott Marquis in Houston, in conjunction with IRE
INN Days 2018 was presented with the generous sponsorship of The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation.  
Missed the event? Check out the tweets and read the recap from Nieman Labs. Plus, view the pix on our Facebook page.

INN Emerging Leaders call for nominations 2019

The Institute for Nonprofit News is accepting nominations for the 2019 INN Emerging Leaders Council, an initiative to identify and support current and future leaders in nonprofit news. Generous support for the 2019 program year is being provided by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation. The nomination deadline is March 15, 2019.

INN Impact Prize for Nonprofit News Photography 2017

Images that tell powerful stories about homelessness, immigration and gun laws captured the top INN Impact Prizes for Nonprofit News Photos honoring photographers for their work in 2017. Winners were selected by a panel of three professional news photographers and photo editors based on the editorial and visual impact of the photos.

INN Is Now the Institute for Nonprofit News

Encino, California — The Investigative News Network, a 501(c)3 membership organization of over 100 nonprofit news organization, announced today that it is refining its mission and changing its name to the Institute for Nonprofit News effective immediately.

INN LEAP Fall 2017

LOS ANGELES — September 12, 2017 — INN announces the inaugural cohort of the LEAP initiative, an executive program designed to help senior leaders of established nonprofit news organizations navigate strategic challenges to advance their growth and impact.

INN Major Gifts Coaching Cohort raises $1.7M

LOS ANGELES – October 08, 2019 – The Institute for Nonprofit News today released a case study on results of an INN pilot program that tested strategies and tools the nonprofit news field can use to increase major donor support for their work. The study found that even small investments in major donor programs can reap major results. For eight of the nonprofits in the pilot, the increases in major donor giving ranged from between 9 percent to 367 percent, and collectively they raised $1.7 million in net new revenue. Securing funding is the fundamental challenge of the emerging nonprofit news field. Gifts from individuals contributed provide nearly 70 percent of all U.S. nonprofits’ charitable donations in 2018, according to GivingUSA.

INN Members Speak at Global Conference

A strong contingent of INN members participated in the recent Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Kiev, Ukraine, speaking on panels, marketing training opportunities, and meeting one on one and in groups with other participants. The global conference, the seventh of its kind, drew more than 500 journalists from 80 countries despite extensive visa problems for journalists from Africa and Latin America. The conference spanned five days, with the first day devoted to a trip to Chernobyl, the site of one the world's worst nuclear plant disasters. Among the INN members attending and speaking were Chuck Lewis of the Investigative Reporting Workshop; Mark Horvit of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting; Joe Bergantino of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting; Bill Buzenberg of the Center for Public Integrity and many of his staff; Chase Davis of the Center for Investigative Reporting; Jennifer LaFleur of ProPublica; Sheila Coronel of the Stabile Center for Investigative Reporting; and Brant Houston of the Investigative News Network. Handouts and tip sheets from the conference will be posted the Global Investigative Journalism Network Web site, gijn.org, as they become available.

INN Members to Collaborate on Examination of COVID-19’s Impact on Rural Education

Thanks to a grant from the Walton Family Foundation, seven members of the Institute for Nonprofit News will spend the next six months examining how COVID-19 is changing the 2020-21 school year. The members, Charlottesville Tomorrow, El Paso Matters, Iowa Watch, The Nevada Independent, New Mexico In-Depth, Underscore and Wisconsin Watch, will each pursue stories in their local communities, but also look for parallels and similarities across state lines. We expect their stories will pay particular attention to the disproportionate impacts being felt by Spanish-speaking communities, Native American communities and people who live below the poverty line. The reporting will be presented during three periods — one to coincide with the beginning of the academic year, another at the midpoint of the fall semester and a final set of stories near the end of the semester. The news organizations will publish via their own channels, and INN also will work to expand the reach of their reporting through its growing network of distribution partners as well as by outreach to other INN members and other publishers in relevant communities.

INN Partners with Google News Initiative to Attract Sponsorship Revenue to Nonprofit Newsrooms

The Institute for Nonprofit News is launching a pilot program funded by Google News Initiative (GNI) that will enable a cohort of well-established nonprofit newsrooms to increase their earned revenue from sponsorships. Currently, income from sponsorship of content or events makes up a small portion of revenue at most news nonprofits, but it has the potential to grow substantially larger.

INN Selects Eight Newsrooms To Receive Google News Initiative-Funded Sponsorship Training

Today, INN announces eight newsrooms selected for the first-ever cohort for the Ignite Sponsorship, a pilot program funded by Google News Initiative that will enable well-established nonprofit newsrooms to increase their earned revenue from sponsorships. Currently, income from sponsorship of content or events makes up a small portion of revenue at most news nonprofits — in INN’s 2019 Index, revenue from earned sources made up on average 12% of the 108 reporting organizations’ total revenue. INN sees sponsorship as a significant revenue growth area for our members. “I’m really excited about the potential for members to build their organizational capacity to grow earned revenue and further reduce their reliance on foundation support, said Fran Scarlett, INN’s Chief Knowledge Officer. At the end of the program, INN expects cohort members, with the tools, training and coaching provided, to be able to increase their earned revenue by a minimum of 15% with a target of 30% growth by June 2022.

INN Shifts Technical Support Services

On July 31, the Institute for Nonprofit News closed INN Labs and is shifting to providing news technology support through a mix of staff and partner companies. 

INN will continue to provide technology support for its members. Kay Lima, as technology director, will help news organizations with analytics, Google Ad Grants, donation flow improvements and other NewsMatch support, as well as assistance for member tech staff postings, RFPs, and with sourcing skilled providers. For details, see our updated Technology Services  page. Technology Office Hours, the popular free weekly sessions for news tech help, continues each Friday. INN will no longer be maintaining the Largo publishing platform and plugins.

INN to partner with Nextdoor to distribute local, statewide journalism

INN is excited to announce a new pilot distribution partnership with Nextdoor, the hyperlocal neighborhood communication platform. The company has seen a significant increase in user engagement since early March, with users taking to the platform to connect to their communities digitally during the pandemic. As part of this agreement, geographically-based INN members will share their content with Nextdoor, which will inject links to stories on member website into the Nextdoor news feed in places where it makes sense. All the traffic will be directed to member sites. “We’re very excited to have INN members’ high-quality content in front of more people who will appreciate it most — in the neighborhoods where the news is happening,” said Jonathan Kealing, INN’s chief network officer.

INN Welcomes 13 Participants to Nonprofit News Springboard Training Program

Challenges abound when conceptualizing a new nonprofit news outlet or navigating the early days of a launch. INN created the Nonprofit News Springboard to boost the skills of people facing those challenges through coaching on business planning, leadership, and funding strategies as well as connection with a supportive community of nonprofit news leaders. “Forming a value proposition, navigating fundraising and communicating vision is complicated, and early-stage nonprofit news leaders are called on to wear dozens of different hats,” said Sara Shahriari, INN’s director of leadership and talent development. “Springboard connects these leaders to each other and provides strategies and support to help their organizations thrive.”

This program is free of charge to selected participants and is funded through the generosity of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. “INN’s objective for the Springboard program is to provide these news entrepreneurs with the fundamentals for success early in the life cycle of their organizations, to accelerate their journey through the start-up phase when organizations are most vulnerable,” said Fran Scarlett, INN's chief knowledge officer.

INN Welcomes New Member Oklahoma Watch

The Investigative News Network is pleased to announce the acceptance of Oklahoma Watch into the growing network of nonprofit, non-partisan investigative news outlets that produce high quality journalism in the public interest. "We are very pleased to welcome Oklahoma Watch to the Network," said Kevin Davis, CEO & Executive Director of the Investigative News Network. "Oklahoma Watch represents a new breed of news organization that is not-for-profit, targeted on serving the information needs of the public in a key region and collaborates to produce journalism of the highest quality." Oklahoma Watch is an independent, non-profit reporting team that has forged a unique collaboration with news organizations and higher education in Oklahoma to produce multi-media content that focuses on critical state issues. Its current topics include "Women in Prison: why Oklahoma leads the nation," "Tax Breaks and Their Consequences" and "Immigration, Jobs and Citizenship."

INN, IRE to Hold Pre-Day Nonprofit News Event at 2012 Conference

Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) and the Investigative News Network (INN) are partnering to host Best Practices for Nonprofit Newsrooms: A day of hands-on sharing and learning at the IRE Conference in Boston on June 14, 2012. This all-day program will focus on three areas that are vital to nonprofit investigative centers: collaboration, legal issues, and best practices in operations. All INN members are encouraged to attend. Additional conference details are available on IRE's website. The agenda for June 14 includes:

9:45 a.m. Welcome remarks Kevin Davis, INN CEO

10 a.m. Collaboration Workshop Evelyn Larrubia, INN Editorial Director

As collaborations between newsrooms flourish, how do you handle serious journalistic disagreements, such as how a story’s findings are described in the nutgraph?

INN/Catchlight Partnership Launches Visual Storytelling Initiative in Chicago

CatchLight, in partnership with the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), is excited to announce the launch of the CatchLight Local Chicago Initiative — bringing Chicago-based news organizations, local visual journalists, and community members together to harness the power of visuals to better understand the long-term impact of COVID-19 on social equity in local communities.

Introducing the 2020 INN Emerging Leaders Council

The Institute for Nonprofit News is pleased to announce the members of the 2020 INN Emerging Leaders Council, an initiative to identify and support leaders who will advance the nonprofit news sector throughout the next decade.

Investigative News Network Awarded Prestigious Manship Prize

Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication has awarded the Investigative News Network (INN) with the 2011 Manship Prize for the innovative use of media to encourage civic engagement. The prize was presented to INN CEO Kevin Davis and chair of INN’s board of directors Brant Houston at Manship’s annual 1913 dinner on Sept. 9 in Baton Rouge. "This prize reflects both the role that nonprofit news has begun to play in informing the public and the unique and innovative role that INN plays in representing the nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative sector," Davis said. The Manship Prize is one of the school’s most prestigious awards and the only national award of its kind.  First presented in 1998, past recipients have included Michael Bloomberg of Bloomberg News, editor Bill Adair of PolitiFact, political strategist Joe Trippi and others.

Investigative News Network Now Has 60 Member Organizations

The Investigative News Network (INN) announced today that it has reached 60 member news organizations with the addition of VTDigger, Catalyst Chicago and 100Reporters. “With the addition of the three latest member organizations, INN has hit a milestone that not only demonstrates the strength of the nonprofit, non-partisan investigative journalism sector, but also the wide range in types of organizations that comprise our journalistic community," said Kevin Davis, INN CEO & executive director. 100Reporters, which plans to launch this month, focuses on such issues as financial malfeasance and despotism in Africa and around the Globe. VTDigger focuses its reporting on issues faced by communities in Vermont, and Catalyst Chicago focuses on urban education and school improvement. The news comes on the heels of last week's announcement that Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica, one of the largest nonprofit investigative newsrooms in the country, has also come aboard.

Investigative News Network secures grant from Rockefeller Brothers Fund

The Investigative News Network (INN) is proud to announce that it has received a $140,000 grant over two years from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The general support grant will support INN's efforts to create efficiencies and economies of scale for the many of its smaller, regionally focused nonprofit news organizations.  The grant also will encourage collaboration amongst its more than 50 member organizations and help broaden the reach of the Network's content across multiple digital platforms and new and dynamic distribution methods. "We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund," said Kevin Davis, CEO & Executive Director of INN.  "The Rockefeller Brothers Fund was instrumental in facilitating the initial meeting from which the Network was born.

Investigative Nonprofit ChicagoTalks Joins INN

ChicagoTalks has joined the Investigative News Network, a national organization of more than 50 nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations that produce journalism critical to local communities across the country. "We’re excited to be joining a national network of nonprofits committed to doing the same high-quality investigative work that we are,” said Suzanne McBride, co-founder and co-publisher of ChicagoTalks. Launched in February 2007, ChicagoTalks has produced hundreds of stories about issues, and events that take place in the nation’s third-largest city. Its investigative work has won national awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, as well as Investigative Reporters and Editors, and been honored by the Chicago Headline Club and the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors. McBride, associate chair of the Journalism Department at Columbia College Chicago, and colleague, Dr. Barbara K. Iverson, started ChicagoTalks with a New Voices grant from J-Lab: The Institute of Interactive Journalism.

IRS Awards 501(c)3 Status to San Francisco Public Press

After more than two and a half years, the IRS has awarded 501(c)3 nonprofit status to the San Francisco Public Press, a nonprofit, noncommercial local news organization that publishes in-depth public-interest news daily online at sfpublicpress.org and quarterly in a print newspaper.

Jeffrey Woolverton to lead INN Major Gifts initiative

Jeffrey Woolverton has joined the Institute for Nonprofit News as Network Philanthropy Director, a new position. Woolverton will lead INN’s Major Gifts initiative to transform fundraising capacity and increase  major gifts across the INN network of more than 250 nonprofit news organizations. He will create shared resources, built on industry best practices, for INN member newsrooms to increase their skills for major gift fundraising, including identifying and developing relationships with individual donors. “This is an exciting time for nonprofit news organizations in the INN network. I hope to highlight the impact INN members have in our communities and inspire donors to give generously to support our missions,” he said.

Knight Foundation expands major initiative to rebuild trust in media and democracy, announces $6 million in funding to three organizations that strengthen local news, including INN

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced a $6 million investment in three organizations that seek to create a strong support system for local newsrooms across the country through business development, training, networking and capacity-building resources: Institute for Nonprofit News, LION Publishers: Local Independent Online News, and News Revenue Hub.

Launch of News Giving Roadmap: A Comprehensive Program to Cultivate Individual Donors

Today the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) is launching the News Giving Roadmap — a unique, comprehensive program designed to expand the capacity of our members to build sustainable revenue from individual donors including annual gifts, mid-range gifts, major gifts and planned giving. With support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Park Foundation, the News Giving Roadmap represents the start of a significant investment in fundraising capacity-building for members. Now, INN members will be able to access tools, training and resources to help them advance from wherever they are on the fundraising spectrum to the next level. For start-up newsrooms, the first step might be establishing a donor database, while for more established organizations it might be building the skills to pursue major gifts or to launch a planned giving program. 
To identify an organization’s fundraising experience and capacity, INN’s Network Philanthropy Director Jeffrey Woolverton has developed an online self-assessment that is free to all INN members. The answers to this assessment will enable him to offer a customized “roadmap” for each organization including but not limited to tools for donor management and fundraising planning, training in how to solicit major gifts and encourage planned giving, and shared resources such as access to donor profiles and wealth screening software.

Lens on Lightfoot Collaboration Ends Series

The "Lens on Lightfoot" collaboration, which included the Better Government Association, Block Club Chicago, Chalkbeat Chicago, The Chicago Reporter, The TRiiBE, The Daily Line and La Raza, ended on Oct. 31. The project reunited many of the partners responsible for Chi.vote, which reported extensively on the mayoral election. Each participating newsroom brought its own editorial focus to Lens on Lightfoot, looking at topics such as housing, education, health, governance, the police, economic development, environment and taxes. The content is housed on the individual publications’ websites and collected on a landing page at INN.org.

MacArthur Foundation Awards Multi-year Grant to the Investigative News Network

The Investigative News Network (INN) is pleased to announce that it has received a $300,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The grant will be used over three years to build INN’s organizational capacity and to support the Network’s efforts to provide editorial, technological and cost-saving services to the member organizations. “We are extremely grateful to the MacArthur Foundation for their generous support of our Network,” said Kevin Davis, CEO & Executive Director of INN.  “This support will allow INN to increase our efforts to ensure the sustainability of our member organizations and reach the widest audience possible.”

Created in 2009, INN has doubled its membership since then and fostered editorial collaborations among its members, negotiated significant cost-savings for media insurance, and recently entered into a global syndication agreement with Thomson Reuters. INN is a growing consortium of 53 non-profit news organizations in North America that produce nonpartisan investigative and public service journalism on a local, regional and national basis. It is composed of news organizations in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico that create long-form and ongoing stories that keep communities informed on the issues they most care about.

McCormick Foundation Provides an Additional Two-Year Grant to INN

The Investigative News Network is pleased to announce that it has received a two-year $225,000 grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. This two-year grant will be used for joint reporting projects and support services for INN’s growing network of 60-members

The funds will also finance a second training seminar for INN members in partnership with the Center for Investigative Reporting. The seminar will be held April 2012 in Berkeley, Calif.,  prior to the annual Logan Symposium on Investigative Reporting. "We are very grateful to the McCormick Foundation for their continued support of our consortium," said Kevin Davis, CEO and Executive Director of INN.  "Thanks to this generous grant, INN can increase the level and impact of the editorial collaborations across the Network, while increasing the business capabilities of our member organizations. The grant is part of the nearly $5 million in McCormick funding approved for 22 organizations dedicated to news literacy, press freedoms and excellence in journalism over the course of the next two years.

Message To Members From The INN Board

We do wish we could have had a less abrupt transition and we were unable to achieve that. But also we know that INN is far more important than one staff member or one board, and we know we need to focus on our future and INN's next phase.

New distribution opportunities increase reach, revenue for INN members

The need for information related to the current pandemic is bringing more audiences to news sites across the board — but through new distribution opportunities, nonprofit news outlets have an extra opportunity to gain new readers, insights into their audience and even earn additional revenue

Over the past few months, INN has been able to offer members new opportunities for third-party distribution through partnerships with Smart News, Patch, Spotlight, News Break and, most recently, Nextdoor. These platforms range in function, though all share member content through aggregation by location to connect readers to stories in their area. “Our goal at INN is to strengthen the nonprofit news ecosystem, and one of the ways we do that is by helping members get their high-quality content in front of new audiences,” said Jonathan Kealing, INN’s chief network officer. “All of these distribution deals seek to help members bring in new audiences who, hopefully, will help them become more sustainable over time. And we’re always especially excited when we can pair a distribution opportunity with a revenue stream, to reinforce members’ business operations.”

One partnership in particular has helped members generate substantial revenue.

New INN Index Report on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Nonprofit News

The nonprofit news movement was launched with the idea that not only the powerful should get to speak through the megaphone of the news media. Yet the reality of nonprofit news organizations lags these ideals. We talk about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as essential to our mission, but how do we measure up? Today INN is releasing the latest report from our periodic survey of member newsrooms: INN Index 2020: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Nonprofit News. This study is a reality check, and we hope an inspiration for nonprofit news organizations to do more to reflect the diversity of their communities, fight racism and build inclusive audiences.

New INN Program Supports Emerging Leaders in Nonprofit News

LOS ANGELES -- Feb. 27, 2017 -- The Institute for Nonprofit News is launching a new program to support leadership and skills development for future leaders of nonprofit news organizations. The INN Emerging Leaders Council will provide training, professional development and peer support for 10 mid-career individuals in nonprofit news who have demonstrated the potential to become top executives and leaders of the nonprofit news media sector in the U.S.

Nonprofit news organizations have grown rapidly across the U.S. About 10 percent of INN’s 120 member organizations reported in 2016 that they were in the process of or had recently completed succession planning to name new leaders, often replacing the founding journalists. “Succession is a milestone in ensuring these newsrooms are here for the long haul and can keep serving and informing their communities,” said INN Executive Director & CEO Sue Cross. “We are excited to encourage and support these emerging leaders who can take the helm of nonprofit news organizations in the future.”

The Emerging Leaders Council is funded by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, part of EEJF’s generous support of INN programs to advance investigative reporting and professional development for journalists.

NewsMatch 2019 Analytics how-to guide now available

Use this step-by-step guide to build your news organization’s NewsMatch campaign
The Institute for Nonprofit News has launched a how-to guide on working with web analytics to provide newsrooms participating in NewsMatch 2019 with easy-to-use tools and examples to develop their fundraising programs.  Nearly 200 INN members are participating in the nonprofit news annual fundraising campaign, which runs Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. The weeks leading up to the Nov. 1 launch are a critical window to prepare newsrooms’ campaigns.

NewsMatch 2020 broke records: more newsrooms, donors, dollars and local matches

The fifth annual NewsMatch campaign was the most successful ever with a record-breaking $47 million raised by nonprofit newsrooms across the country. In November and December 2020 -- at a time when the health and economic impacts of the COVID pandemic and elections made access to reliable news absolutely essential -- matching gifts from funders, philanthropists, and local businesses were leveraged to generate this groundswell of support from individual donors. NewsMatch is a collaborative fundraising initiative that benefits members of the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) — a nationwide network of 300+ independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations. NewsMatch brings together national and community foundations, corporate partners, and small businesses, providing them with multiple opportunities to support independent journalism:

Contributing to the main NewsMatch fund that matches donations earned by nonprofit newsroom
Creating special funds for a cohort of newsrooms that meet specific criteria (e.g., diversity, education)
Setting up a local matching grant
Donating directly to an individual newsroom. Over the past several years, as many communities have lost their local news sources due to consolidation and closure of daily and weekly newspapers, NewsMatch’s collaborative fundraising model has been one solution toward building enduring and resilient sources of independent news. 

Here are some highlights from the 2020 campaign:

More dollars: newsrooms leveraged a pool of $6.7 million in matching funds to attract more than $47 million from individual donors (compared with $43.5 million in 2019) -- the largest amount to date.

NewsMatch fund increases to more than $5 million with investments from Google News Initiative, Abrams Foundation

The Google News Initiative and Abrams Foundation are investing a combined $1 million in the 2020 NewsMatch fund, bringing the program’s total investment in nonprofit news organizations to more than $5 million this year. The Google News Initiative’s $750,000 contribution will provide added support to the participating 266 newsrooms: every organization that raises $11,500 from its audience will receive an equal matching gift from NewsMatch and a $2,500 “GNI Bonus” totalling $14,000. GNI funding will also enable an award to newsrooms that bring on 100 first-time donors during the campaign cycle, from November 1 to December 31. As part of the GNI partnership with NewsMatch, all participating newsrooms will receive coaching and personalized support across GNI tools and training, including News Consumer Insights and the GNI Digital Growth Program. “The Google News Initiative has been focused on critical investment areas required for a healthy news ecosystem, including cultivating a new class of digital news startups and growing subscriptions and contributions for quality journalism,” explained Ben Monnie, the director for Global Partnerships Solutions at Google.

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

Meet the Candidates
INN members, please meet the candidates seeking to represent you in three open seats on INN's Board of Directors. These seats are currently held by Anne Galloway of VTDigger, Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics and Laura Frank of Rocky Mountain PBS. Their two-year terms are up for renewal. All three are running for re-election. Frank was one of the founders of INN in 2009 and has served on the board since 2013.

Nonprofit Best Practices: INN Member Presentations at IRE 2012

At the IRE conference in Boston this month, several INN members shared their experience and expertise on a number of topics that are vital to nonprofit and independent news organizations. The topics range from best practices in shooting video to tracking a news organization's impact. We’ve compiled the presentations into a resource. Thanks to all the INN members who participated. Descriptions and links to video and the slides from each of the presentations is listed here.

Jules Shapiro

Nonprofit marketing and communications leader joins INN

Jules Shapiro joined the INN team this week in a new role to direct and lead INN’s marketing and communications strategies and editorial calendar for INN members, INN Labs, the general public and the greater nonprofit journalism community. She has a special focus on marketing member benefits and services along with advocating for nonprofit news across all marketing and communications channels.

ProPublica Joins the Investigative News Network

ProPublica, one of the largest non-profit investigative newsrooms in the U.S., has joined the Investigative News Network (INN), a growing consortium of nearly 60 nonprofit news organizations in North America. “We are delighted to have ProPublica become a member of our community of nonprofit and nonpartisan newsrooms,” says Kevin Davis, CEO & Executive Director of INN.  “ProPublica is a leading organization in the nonprofit journalism sector that consistently demonstrates both the need and the ability for these newsrooms to create high quality public interest journalism.”
ProPublica was created in 2007 and has one of the largest investigative newsrooms in the U.S.  In 2010, ProPublica was the first online news organization to win a Pulitzer Prize. In 2011, ProPublica won the first Pulitzer awarded to a body of work that did not appear in print. ”ProPublica is very pleased to be joining INN,” said Richard Tofel, General Manager of ProPublica.  We’re proud to have already published stories in partnership with seven INN members (as well as more than 70 other news organizations), have worked closely with other INN members, and look forward to collaborating with even more.  We’re very enthusiastic about Kevin Davis’s leadership of INN and have already realized significant cost savings through our INN association.”

ProPublica is supported primarily by philanthropy and provides the articles it produces, free of charge, both through its own website and to leading news organizations selected with an eye toward maximizing the impact of each article. INN was founded in 2009 to help the increasing number of nonprofit newsrooms to pool resources, promote editorial collaborations and get wider distribution of their work.

Service journalism from the INN Network

Originally posted on Medium
Over the past year, INN has watched as the independent and nonprofit news organizations in our network produce incredible service journalism for their audiences (readers, viewers and listeners). What is service journalism, you might ask? We like this definition from Pete Pachal:
“Service journalism, of course, is a new term for an old idea: giving readers good, practical advice — what to buy, where to go, how to do a certain thing — to make their lives easier. While service journalism shares the same standards of truth and fact-finding as regular reporting, it requires a different approach. The biggest shift: The reporter’s lens moves from the subject to the reader.”
We all know how this past year unearthed several urgent needs for high-quality, practical information and advice.

Sharene Azimi to lead INN communications

Sharene Azimi is a specialist in strategy and communications for cause-oriented organizations. As Communications Director for INN, she works to increase awareness of the growing field of nonprofit news. "I am amazed and encouraged by the growth of nonprofit journalism over the past decade," Azimi said. "I look forward to sharing the story of how nonprofit news organizations have fulfilled the need for information in communities around the country, and how they have uncovered truths that traditional news outlets have missed." Prior to joining INN in 2020, Azimi spent a decade as founder and principal of Mission Communications, providing organizational strategy, branding, communications planning, and marketing services to non-profits, universities, and foundations.

Spotlight News to Include INN Network on Election 2020 Dashboard

Spotlight News and the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) announced today that many of INN’s 250 member newsrooms will be aggregating their 2020 election coverage on Spotlight. Launched late last year, Spotlight News offers news publishers digital tools for both desktop and mobile applications and pledges to return to them 70 cents of every advertising dollar their content generates on the platform. Aspiring to be "the Netflix for news," Spotlight launched as a free experience for readers, who can create customized news feeds defined by publishers or by areas of interest. Through this arrangement with Spotlight News, INN members will feed their coverage into the Spotlight platform, where it will be featured on an Election 2020 dashboard along with coverage from other news outlets. "We are thrilled to be adding these widely-respected journalism names to our rapidly-growing digital platform," said Spotlight founder and CEO Tamer Morsy.

Stabile Center Reports on the Overmedication of Foster Children

Orphan earmarks, drugged cops and overmedicated children in foster care: These were the subjects of investigations published by students of Columbia University’s Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism this past month. USA Today led its Jan. 5 edition with a Stabile Center investigation into how congressional earmarks have cost states $7.5 billion dollars in lost highway funding over the last 20 years. Stabile Center student Cezary Podkul began researching  “orphan earmarks” last summer and found over 7,000 congressionally directed highway projects in which the money, or a good portion of it, remains unspent for various reasons. At least 3,600 of these haven’t been spent at all because of typographical or other errors.  But states cannot reallocate these unspent earmarks, which are counted against their share of federal highway funds.

Ten Selected for INN Emerging Leaders Council

LOS ANGELES, April 24, 2017 — Ten mid-career professionals have been selected for the first INN Emerging Leaders Council, a peer group of leading business and news leaders who will meet for a year to work on news industry challenges, build support networks and develop professional skills. INN congratulates:

Jahna Berry, Director of News Products, Mother Jones
Natalie Choate, Director, Media Relations and Partnerships, The Texas Tribune
Lauren Fuhrmann, Associate Director, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
Sarah Garland, Executive Editor, The Hechinger Report
Dave Levinthal, Politics Reporting Team Leader, The Center for Public Integrity
Ben Nishimoto, Director of Philanthropy, Honolulu Civil Beat
Brad Racino, Assistant Director, inewsource
Amber Rivera, Engagement Editor, Inside Energy
Paula Saha, Director, Audience & Donor Development, NJ Spotlight
Halle Stockton, Managing Editor, PublicSource
Jason Alcorn, council coordinator and nonprofit news advisor

Council members are mid-career professionals nominated by their organizations for demonstrating potential to lead their organizations and the growing nonprofit news sector. “The range of entrepreneurial talent rising in nonprofit news to create new types of journalism is  incredibly exciting for the future of news,” said INN Executive Director & CEO Sue Cross. “We saw a very strong field of candidates and will work to expand this program to meet the breadth of interest and ability among our members.”

The group will be led by peer and member Jason Alcorn, a nonprofit news consultant and advisor. “We need insightful, innovative leadership that represents the diversity of news and diversity of the communities we serve, and this group reflects that,” said Alcorn.

The Best Nonprofit Journalism of 2017

Voices raised. Knowledge gained. Accountability. Inspiration.
Come read the stories that we all know about this year thanks to the work of nonprofit newsrooms.

The Investigative News Network to Offer Health Insurance Portal to Nonprofit Member Organizations

The Investigative News Network is pleased to announce a new insurance program that will allow our members and their employees, volunteers, freelancers and family members to purchase a variety of personal insurance policies. The portal gives members the ability to shop conveniently for health insurance, dental insurance, term life insurance, and short-term and international medical insurance. In addition to the online portal at inn.healthinsurance.com, members may call 866.924.1933 and speak with a licensed agent to discuss their insurance options. "Acquiring personal insurance can be daunting and challenging to journalists who are not employed by a large company," said INN CEO Kevin Davis. "The ability to secure an insurance policy is important to these news entrepreneurs who have set out to build their own independent organizations."

Tips for Managing Coronavirus Reporting Risks

With help from Reuters and many INN member news leaders, we have assembled advice and tips to help nonprofit news managers think through some of the risks of reporting this story.

Tucson Sentinel Joins the Investigative News Network

TucsonSentinel.com has joined the Investigative News Network, a national organization of more than 50 nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations that produce high-quality journalism. "As a local news site, we're proud to partner with so many accomplished peers from around the country," said TucsonSentinel.com Editor and Publisher Dylan Smith. "We look forward to increasing our collaborations with other independent news organizations, to better report news that impacts Southern Arizonans." Launched in January 2010, TucsonSentinel.com is a local independent nonprofit news organization that offers professional reporting and community conversation on issues that affect Tucson. To date, TucsonSentinel.com has been funded solely by local sponsors and donors. TucsonSentinel.com is led by Editor and Publisher Dylan Smith, formerly the Online Editor of the now-shuttered Tucson Citizen.

VTDigger: A Rising Star in Nonprofit News

A study in leadership
To editors and executive directors of nonprofit news organizations, Anne Galloway’s story will sound familiar: An experienced local newspaper editor, set adrift in a round of layoffs, starts her own nonprofit digital news enterprise, learns business skills on the job, produces community-changing journalism, and works herself to exhaustion in the process. This report was produced with the generous support of The Knight Foundation and is being published with the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. The full report is available for download. Join INN on June 27 for an online Q&A with VTDigger founder Anne Galloway. Register for the free event here.   But Galloway’s story is remarkable.

Watchdog Institute Changes Name, Watchdog Mission Remains Strong

The Watchdog Institute is launching a name change and a formal partnership today with KPBS, the PBS-NPR affiliate in San Diego. The partnership underscores a new level of collaboration between the organizations, which over the past year have investigated the whooping cough epidemic and inequities in K-12 school funding in California. The Institute, which opened its doors in San Diego State University’s School of Journalism & Media Studies in 2009, is now known as Investigative Newsource. Founder and executive director Lorie Hearn said the new name “ is a natural outgrowth of the evolutionary process we’ve gone through as a young startup. Investigative Newsource better defines who we are, and plainly reflects our quest to be a source of credible, investigative, nonpartisan journalism.”

Hearn said the partnership with KPBS strengthens the commitment of both organizations to public service journalism in the region, particularly as KPBS debuts a nightly, half-hour television news show this week.  “By sharing our expertise and resources, we can provide more and deeper projects of importance to the community,” she said.

WDET’s Courtney Hurtt to Manage NewsMatch Program

Public media strategist Courtney Hurtt joins the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) as the program manager for NewsMatch, the largest grassroots funding campaign for nonprofit journalism. Previously, she led collaborative initiatives to diversify audience and revenue for WDET, Detroit’s public radio station. As associate director of product strategy and operations, Hurtt created “Framed by WDET,” an award-winning series of community exhibitions that have appeared in more than 25 locations. “Independent journalism is an essential service that helps people navigate the world around them,” said Courtney Hurtt. “I am excited to step into a role at NewsMatch and scale support for nonprofit media organizations that provide the news and information that communities rely on.”

Hurtt will manage the NewsMatch program, which combines a matching gift campaign with tools, training and fundraising development for nonprofit, nonpartisan newsrooms that provide public service reporting.

What wouldn’t you know, if not for nonprofit news media?

Across America over the last year, reporters in nonprofit newsrooms broke thousands of stories while pursuing journalism in the public interest. Here are some of the best from the 120 member newsrooms of INN: Fact-based and community-focused. Transparent and non-partisan. Reporting for you. Reporting by InDepthNH.org in New Hampshire helped free a man who was locked up for seven years even though he wasn't convicted of a crime — with most of those years spent in the state prison's psychiatric unit.

WordPress plugin update to allow data visualizations across all devices

INN Labs is issuing a major update to the Pym.js Embeds WordPress plugin, formerly known as the Pym Shortcode plugin, that improves presentations of data journalism.

As data journalism gains importance, this plugin can substantially increase the readership for news reports that feature data and save journalists time in presenting it.

The plugin enables news consumers to seamlessly engage with data journalism interactives across all devices using responsive design.