Within 10 years, independent, nonprofit newsrooms will produce a significant share of the news consumed by most Americans about our civic life.
And that news will flow from newsrooms that reflect the full diversity of the communities they serve. When the American public needed us the most — with the Covid-19 pandemic, protests demanding racial justice, and a deeply divisive election — the nonprofit news sector reached a new level of impact. With more than 2,500 journalists grounded in newsrooms across the country, the nonprofit news field demonstrated that it can:
Provide individuals and communities with trusted and essential information.
Share expert, in-depth and investigative reporting to help build an understanding of complex issues.
Contribute facts and context to the public conversation, from local to global.
Bring a diversity of voices to news coverage.
Help millions of citizens vote, volunteer and engage in public life.
Of equal importance, 2020 affirmed that sustainable business models exist for journalism rooted in civic purpose rather than profit. INN creates an ecosystem where new forms of public service journalism are being discovered and developed, and many of the nation’s strongest journalists are supported through this network. While the news industry as a whole remains in crisis, the story of nonprofit news is growth, resilience and invention. To support the incredible individuals and organizations doing the work of nonprofit news and ensure this field grows even stronger, in 2020 INN:
Generated more than $10 million for public interest reporting, through collective fundraising and revenue-building programs.
Provided more than 2,800 participants with training, coaching and growth tools to support public service journalism and help civic leaders save local news.
Strengthened public trust and journalism standards, vetting nearly 300 news organizations for fact-based reporting and helping more than 100 strengthen editorial independence and financial transparency practices.
Established the first baseline research for measuring diversity, equity and inclusion in nonprofit news.
Expanded programs to fight racism and inequity in news organizations and coverage and build more inclusive career leadership paths.
Engaged more than 30 newsrooms in reporting collaborations that increase the power of their journalism and heighten public attention to critical issues.
Filled in news deserts. INN coached and provided shared services for nearly 60 news startup founders and directly helped 25 organizations launch through fiscal sponsorship and expert business support.
The next few years will define the future of our free press, for generations. Nonprofit newsrooms are shaping this new era in news by restoring trusted reporting, the coverage that communities count on and engage with, and the facts and understanding around which people can come together. We invite you to read how we’re doing it, and join us, in reimagining and rebuilding news as a public good.
Sue Cross Executive Director & CEO Institute for Nonprofit News