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2022 INN Index Fact Sheet: Local News

By Michele McLellan, Jesse Holcomb and Emily Roseman

Oct. 5, 2022

Definition: Local news organizations are those that cover part or all of a community, municipality or county or a cluster of them, ranging from large metro areas to small neighborhoods. The factsheet covers data for 121 local news organizations.

The Landscape

Local nonprofit news is in the midst of a multiyear expansion into more communities, and the number of organizations has more than doubled in five years. They have launched at an average rate of more than one per month, a total of 66 outlets, since rapid growth began in 2017. Fourteen outlets in this study launched in 2021.

Growth: Local news outlets made up about one-fourth of the nonprofit field in 2017, when the number of outlets began to expand rapidly. Now, four in 10 nonprofit news organizations are local in scope. Local startups, which we define as launching in the past four years, account for more than half (55%) of the nonprofits that started up in that timeframe.

Mission & Impact: More than the rest of the field, local news organizations are likely to say encouraging and inspiring civic engagement is a top priority. Nearly three-fourths (72%) say it’s a high priority. (Non-local outlets are more likely to emphasize exposing wrongdoing or shedding light on complex topics.)

Focus on communities of color: Local nonprofit news outlets are more likely to say coverage of a community or communities of color is a primary mission. One in four local organizations have that focus, compared to one in six across all INN members.


Local organizations generally operate on small budgets. Half generate less than $250,000 a year in revenue and half of those earn less than $100,000 a year. Median revenue was $245,000 per outlet in 2021, about the same as the year before.


The median number of personnel among the local organization is 4 and paid employees per organization range in number from 0 to 38.

Audiences & Distribution

Three in 10 local outlets say serving communities of color is a primary focus of their work, compared with 2 in 10 among non-local organizations. Local startups are driving much of this focus. Out of 32 startups with a primary focus on serving communities of color, 20 are local in scope. Overall, local organizations are much more likely to target Black and Hispanic audiences as well as low-income and immigrant communities..

More Nonprofit News Fact Sheets

2022 INN Index Fact Sheet: State and Regional News

State and regional news lead the field in developing a revenue mix that balances multiple funding sources.

2022 INN Index Fact Sheet: National and Global News

National and global organizations make up the most established and prominent group in nonprofit news.

2022 INN Index Fact Sheet: News for Communities of Color

Organizations that serve communities of color made up one-quarter of nonprofit news outlets, a share of the total field that has grown over time.

INN Index 2022 Full Report

Learn what drives nonprofit news, how it’s funded, who it serves, and how we can continue expanding sources of high-quality information for the public.

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