Sarah Vassello is the audience development specialist for INN's Amplify News Project, which focuses on editorial collaboration and distribution. More information can be found at https://inn.org/project/amplify-news-project.
The Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) is a growing national network of 120 nonprofit news organizations dedicated to providing investigative and public service reporting. INN’s work helps newsrooms bring investigative and civic news to more people, hold the powerful accountable and strengthen democracy. More information can be found at https://inn.org.
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.
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.
Case study co-published by Institute for Nonprofit News and the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. The PDF version from INN can be downloaded here and was designed by Elizabeth Scott. For five takeaway tips from this case study, click here. In February 2012, the nonprofit news organization Mother Jones published a seemingly ordinary story that would prove to change its fate. The story profiled a Republican donor, Frank VanderSloot, and among other things, his treatment of a gay journalist.
Below are five lessons from MoJo’s experiences that other nonprofit investigative newsrooms can adapt and use. These tips stem from the INN/Shorenstein Center case study on Mother Jones, published Dec. 9, 2019. One: Treat your audience like your public board. By sharing strategic information like company financials and plans for the future, Mother Jones opened up a new relationship with its audience.