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.
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.”
During a time where journalism, on the whole, has declined, visual journalism has been hit the hardest. Over the last 10 years, the number of visual journalists has declined by 52%, more than any other newsroom staff members. Without visual journalism, there’s no representation of the communities local newsrooms cover. It’s harder to make an emotional connection that ties a reader to the triumphs and turmoils of someone else’s life. Now, picture this: A media landscape with consistently powerful visual journalism that represents all communities respectfully.
The New England Newspaper and Press Association recognized The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting.with two Publick Occurrences Awards for its expose called, “Rx for Theft,” and its profile of governor Paul LePage.
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.
It was a story waiting too long for public attention: Some staff members at a rural facility housing young people with behavioral issues had physically, sexually and psychologically abused the children. South Dakota News Watch uncovered the story in June — resulting in the governor ordering an overhaul of the inspection processes for all youth treatment facilities in the state. The "Treatment or Trauma?" series exposed the harsh physical restraints on the residents that some employees of the facility regularly used — resulting in facial rug burns, black eyes, bloody noses, bruising and injured limbs. The story relied on a dozen on-the-record interviews and documents hard to obtain in a state with weak public records laws.
ByJules, Director of Communications and Marketing |
Six more leaders selected for LEAP Initiative to advance strategy and scale for nonprofit newsrooms
LOS ANGELES — The Institute for Nonprofit News announces the spring class 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. The six experienced executives selected for the spring class will work together to address their strategic challenges with support and guidance from INN as well as subject-matter experts and business coaches. The participants for the Spring 2018 session are:
The cohort met June 12 for their first meeting in Orlando, Fla. in advance of INN's annual conference, INN Days 2018, where they participated in business leadership workshops alongside INN's Emerging Leaders Council and major gifts training programs. Members also attended the conference. Led by INN Director of Programs and Services Fran Scarlett, the LEAP Initiative is a leadership program designed to help senior managers of well-established nonprofit news organizations seeking to update or change strategy or move to the next level of growth.
ByJules, Director of Communications and Marketing |
Launched in 2009, Civil Eats is the leading daily media source for providing original content and commentary to inform critical thought about the American food system. By focusing on fair, balanced, high-quality journalism, Civil Eats breaks important news, educates leaders and policymakers, influences the national conversation about food, and serves as an invaluable resource for broader mainstream media. For its first four years, Civil Eats operated with no funding and as a labor of love. Now in its ninth year, Civil Eats has achieved significant impact and reach: It raised an unprecedented $100,000 via Kickstarter in 2013 and was named Publication of the Year in 2014 by the James Beard Foundation, all with very limited resources. Civil Eats’ innovative media model reaches millions more through content partnerships with high-profile print and online publications, including TIME, The Atlantic, Slate, Salon, Yahoo!, Food & Wine, Public Radio International, PBS/ITVS, New York Magazine, Eater, Quartz, and Maplight.
The Conversation is a nonprofit news organization whose mission is to provide the public with credible, evidence-based journalism by unlocking ideas and research from academia. Stories range from politics to science to parenting, from the largest of trends to why paper cuts hurt.
ByLisa Williams, Director of Revenue; General Manager, Impaq.Me |
A stunning nine independent, nonprofit newsrooms from INN's membership have been named as finalists in this year's Online News Association Awards, a performance almost as notable as INN members' dominance of the most recent round of grants from the Ethics and Excellence In Journalism Foundation.
LOS ANGELES — Dec. 11, 2017 — Members of the Institute for Nonprofit News can receive discounted charity registration and compliance services under a new partnership between INN and Charity Compliance Solutions announced Monday. Nonprofit news organizations are required to register in any of 41 states if they actively solicit donations or have donors residing in those states. As public support grows for nonprofit news organizations, those expanding fundraising through email and other campaigns often need to register in multiple states.. The growth of online donations has made compliance even more of a challenge, and many nonprofits find it more cost- and time-effective to work with a charity registration firm than handle their own registrations throughout the year.
ByJules, Director of Communications and Marketing |
Twenty fellows participating in the Emma L. Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media program for students of color are helping Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) members, along with INN, this summer, as part of a new partnership.
This is the first time the foundation placed fellows who are college students and recent college graduates from its summer fellowship program inside nonprofit news organizations for eight-week internships focused on new media business, technology and editorial.
Midwest Energy News launched in 2010 and is a nonprofit news site dedicated to keeping stakeholders, policymakers, and citizens informed of the important changes taking place as the Midwest shifts from fossil fuels to a clean energy system.
Case study co-published by Institute for Nonprofit News and the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. The PDF version from INN can be downloaded here and was designed by Elizabeth Scott. For five takeaway tips from this case study, click here. In February 2012, the nonprofit news organization Mother Jones published a seemingly ordinary story that would prove to change its fate. The story profiled a Republican donor, Frank VanderSloot, and among other things, his treatment of a gay journalist.
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.
The coronavirus pandemic has sent an ailing local news industry into free fall across the United States. But in dozens of communities, nonprofit organizations that cover local news are a promising bright spot.
Originally posted on NewsMatch's Medium page by Kip Dooley
June 3, 2020 — This month, NewsMatch kicks off its fifth funding cycle with the goal of helping scores of nonprofit newsrooms continue to inform their communities and provide in-depth coverage of critical social issues. Results from the 2019 NewsMatch cycle, published for the first time today, show that it was the most successful to date, with an initial pool of $3.37 million in philanthropic funds leveraged into a $43.5 million payout — a nearly 1,200% return on philanthropic investments that infused much-needed cash into independent newsrooms just as the coronavirus disrupted business as usual. Credible, local news is more critical than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to be a vital resource for voters during the 2020 election season. Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) members have found new and innovative ways to serve their communities during the current crisis: Outlier Media (Detroit, Mich.) has been providing vital health information via text message to residents without internet access; Chalkbeat (Colo.) created food maps for families that rely on school lunches; and countless others like CalMatters (Calif.) and East Lansing Info (East Lansing, Mich.) are providing real-time reporting on the local effects of COVID-19. Flyer from OutlierMedia.org
Results from NewsMatch 2019 show that communities are stepping up to support this kind of quality journalism: Last year, the dollar amount of local matching gifts during NewsMatch more than doubled to $1.4 million, while the number of individual donors increased by 26 percent.
The Institute for Nonprofit News, in partnership with News Revenue Hub and The Miami Foundation, today announced that 267 nonprofit newsrooms will participate in the fifth annual NewsMatch fundraising campaign — a 35% increase over last year.
The board of the Vermont Journalism Trust supports the Investigative News Network's statement of "disappointment and concern" at the Wisconsin State Legislature's maneuvers, which appear to be designed to thwart an independent and highly respected news organization.
Below are five lessons from MoJo’s experiences that other nonprofit investigative newsrooms can adapt and use. These tips stem from the INN/Shorenstein Center case study on Mother Jones, published Dec. 9, 2019. One: Treat your audience like your public board. By sharing strategic information like company financials and plans for the future, Mother Jones opened up a new relationship with its audience.
For independent and nonprofit media, news that Facebook overhauled its News Feed to focus on what friends and family share is clarifying. I don’t mean that it’s good. In fact, it’s likely to diminish the reach of important news. A company that could be a global force for good in quality news and the civic engagement around is instead backing away from that opportunity or responsibility, however you look at it. But there are benefits to clarity for publishers, and for nonprofit news publishers in particular.
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.