Amplify News Project

The Amplify News Project is an effort to expand distribution and collaboration within nonprofit news organizations. From a base within our Midwest member newsrooms, this project has three main goals:

To test the limits of nonprofit partnerships within INN itself through editorial collaborations;
To create external partnerships to test distribution collaborations;
To provide audience development support and measurement strategies to our members. Amplify also manages editorial collaborations for INN members, often in collaboration with non-members. Amplify collaborations so far have included:

Seeking a Cure: The quest to save rural hospitals
Lens on Lightfoot: Seven independent newsrooms report on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration
From Rust to Resilience: What climate change means for Great Lakes cities
Translating Chicago Stories
Lesson Plans: Rural schools grapple with COVID-19
Slammed: Rural health care and COVID-19

The project is funded through the generous support from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and The Joyce Foundation and general support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It benefits from partnership with the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, Public Narrative, the Chicago Media Project and INN's member news organizations throughout the Midwest.

CatchLight Local offers a shared solution to visual journalism at the community level

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.

A scene of Arcadia, Wisconsin

INN launches editorial collaboration on decline of rural hospitals

Lyle Muller, the first editor of Iowa Watch, grew up in rural northeastern Iowa and had a personal and professional interest in reporting on the struggles of rural hospitals. Jennifer Hemmingsen, a former reporter and now an editorial writer at the Seattle Times, recalls the uproar in rural Minnesota when Mayo Clinic announced its plan to remove inpatient medical and surgical services and obstetrics from the local hospital in Albert Lea. Hemmingsen’s parents grew up in the area, and her first newspaper job was in the town. “It really felt like their town would be abandoned. It was huge.

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-led “Rust to Resilience” collaboration reaches 13 states and four national outlets

Climate change affects every person on this planet. In the Midwest and beyond, our members provide strong environmental coverage. Based on a conversation with the editor of a member newsroom about potential collaborations, INN decided to pursue a project about the Great Lakes. As with any collaboration, we wanted to help facilitate reporting that told a broader story than any individual outlet could provide. “From Rust to Resilience” was a collaborative reporting project that included six members of the Institute for Nonprofit News (Belt Magazine, The Conversation, Ensia, Great Lakes Now at Detroit Public Television, MinnPost and Side Effects Public Media at WFYI) as well as WUWM Milwaukee.

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.

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, 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

New INN-led member collaboration on Great Lakes launches today

A new INN-led collaborative reporting project about climate change in the Great Lakes region is launching today. Called “From Rust to Resilience: What climate changes means for Great Lakes cities,” the series includes a dozen pieces that will be published or broadcast from April 20 to May 1. The project is part of the Pulitzer Center’s nationwide Connected Coastlines reporting initiative.