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SD News Watch team

How South Dakota News Watch uncovered abuses in a youth home and changed state policies

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.

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.

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.

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 adds nonprofit news Startup Guide, updates “Learn” resource site

The Institute for Nonprofit News is launching an updated INN Learn site with new resources for people starting and running nonprofit sites. The biggest addition is the Startup Guide, where INN has collected answers to thousands of questions INN fields from folks exploring how to start a news organization. INN will continue to build these resources and collect new questions from founders during free monthly startup info sessions. The guide walks news site planners through key steps in starting a nonprofit news outlet. From building a mission to creating a board of directors, the Startup Guide is a resource for those asking the questions: Should I start a news outlet?

Introducing the journalism awards Google Calendar

Every day, I send out a newsletter with the best of nonprofit journalism from the Midwest, with an audience mostly comprised of nonprofit news editors. As the audience development specialist for INN’s Amplify News Project, I try to include other links that I’m seeing from the journalism industry that could be helpful for smaller outlets trying to grow their audience—events, trainings, guides, etc. The links for journalism award submissions are among the most clicked-on resources I share. Consistently. It’s no secret that journalists love awards.

INN Emma Bowen Foundation fellows return to nonprofit news organizations

Twenty nonprofit news media outlets, including INN, welcomed back Emma Bowen Foundation Fellows into their organizations for a second summer. The program is part of INN’s strategic initiative to cultivate a diverse talent pipeline essential in propelling the nonprofit sector’s innovation and growth, with generous support from Democracy Fund.  

All but one fellow returned to the same nonprofit news organization. Fellows, who are college students, are placed inside nonprofit news organizations for eight-week internships focused on news media business, technology and editorial. The list of participating INN members and fellows are:

BenitoLink
Francisco Romero
San Jose State University, Software Engineering

CALmatters
Adria Watson
Sacramento State University, Journalism

The Center for Public Integrity
Laura Zornosa
Northwestern University, Journalism and International Studies

Chalkbeat
Zipporah Osei
Northeastern University, Journalism

Chalkbeat - Detroit
Imani Harris
Northwestern University, Journalism

Chalkbeat - New York
Camille Respess
University of Florida, Journalism

Charlottesville Tomorrow
Norah Mulinda
University of Virginia, Media Studies and Psychology

The Chicago Reporter
Elly Rivera
Northwestern University, Journalism

The Connecticut Mirror
Maya Moore
University of Connecticut, Journalism

The GroundTruth Project
Milan Polk
Northwestern University, Journalism

Institute for Nonprofit News
Nikita Advani
University of Southern California, Business Administration

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
Zshekinah Collier
American University, Justice and Law

Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting (Louisville Public Media)
Jewél Jackson
Syracuse University, Newspaper & Online Journalism with a minor in Communication & Rhetorical Studies

MinnPost
Tiffany Bui
University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Professional Journalism

The New Food Economy
Kamari Stewart
Pace University, Digital Journalism

Next City
Natalia Rommen
University of Pennsylvania, Communications and Political Science

Politifact
Sophie Austin
American University, Journalism

Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
Domonique Green
Howard University, Graphic Design

Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting
Simmone Shah
Barnard College of Columbia University, English with a Writing Concentration

The Texas Tribune
Troy Closson
Northwestern University, Journalism

The fellows are already making an impact inside INN member organizations. For Jewél Jackson, a junior majoring in newspaper and online journalism with a minor in communication and rhetorical studies at Syracuse University and an editorial intern with the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, this is her first experience inside a nonprofit newsroom.

INN’s LEAD group talks nonprofit news leadership challenges ahead of INN Days 2019

A new leadership development cohort, serving senior leaders from INN members across the country, held its first meeting before INN Days 2019 in Houston, where group members participated in design thinking training and discussed common leadership challenges. Six people were chosen for the LEAD cohort after INN received feedback that people who were outside the group targeted by its Emerging Leadership Council could also be served by mentorship and training. Five of them were able to come together at the conference. “The group was formed because there were additional leaders further along in their careers that needed leadership and product development training when we announced the nomination for INN’s Emerging Leaders Council,” said INN’s Chief Knowledge Officer Fran Scarlett. All of the participants were nominated by their INN member organizations for their strength in nonprofit news leadership.

Missouri’s Mark Horvit named INN director; three board member representatives re-elected

LOS ANGELES, July 17 — Investigative journalist Mark Horvit is joining the board of directors of the Institute for Nonprofit News, along with three member representatives elected to the board. Horvit is an associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism with deep experience in investigative and nonprofit journalism. He directs Missouri’s State Government Reporting Program, where he is focused on creating a new model for statehouse coverage. He previously served as executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors and guided IRE through significant expansion. Three member representatives were re-elected at INN’s annual meeting in Houston on Thursday: Laura Frank, vice president of journalism at Rocky Mountain PBS; Anne Galloway, executive director of VTDigger; and Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics.