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Challenges & Possibilities in Nonprofit News
Journalism lost a thousand jobs last week, a gut-wrenching cap to the loss of 40 percent of newsrooms jobs since the early ‘90s. It’s particularly devastating to local news. Gannett cut some 400 people, a loss that will be felt and grieved not only by journalists, but throughout states and towns losing reporters and editors, often in places where reliable local news already was getting hard to find. But there is this, and it’s important to think about:
These cuts are falling on a different landscape now. Because civic leaders are no longer waiting for a perfect answer to the puzzle of how to pay for local news coverage.
The Institute for Nonprofit News is updating its donor transparency recommendation for members of the INN news network to make it easier for nonprofit newsrooms to let users know about any government financial support as well as donations.
Nonprofit finance executive Chip Potts joins INN this week as director of finance and operations, supporting the growth of the INN membership network, overseeing INN's fiscal sponsorship program and expanding the portfolio of business services and benefits for INN members. Potts previously was associate director and CFO of the Santa Monica College Foundation. He has more than 30 years of accounting experience, starting with a Washington CPA firm that specialized in audit reporting for nonprofit organizations and government contracting. He ran his own accounting and tax practice for 12 years in Arlington, Virginia before moving to California and joining the college foundation nine years ago. Potts brings INN and network members broad nonprofit experience in volunteer fundraising, board participation and civic leadership.
“A healthy society should not have just one voice.” -- Dr. Li Wenliang, persecuted by the Chinese government after warning about the 2020 coronavirus. Dr. Li died on February 7. When all this started, the coronavirus was a local news story. Dr. Li Wenliang sounded the alarm just as the virus was just spreading from a local market through one city, Wuhan. Government officials tried to silence him.
Today, the Institute for Nonprofit News joins journalists across the country in asking you, the public, to stand up for your rights to free speech and an open government.
This started as a campaign by the Boston Globe to ask the President of the United States to knock off attacking the news media. But the President’s attacks on the press aren’t ultimately about the press.
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.