COVID-19: Resources for nonprofit newsrooms

FOR INN MEMBERS: What help do you need right now?

Share your COVID-19 needs

Journalism funders as well as INN and others are tracking your organizations’ needs and looking for resources for you as the coronavirus crisis develops. The button above allows you to log needs as they come up. We will be sharing those needs with journalism funders and key stakeholders.

New this week (3/26): Financial forecasting webinar, resources for photographers, solutions journalism exchange network, Aspen Tech Policy Hub grant, link to see all participating member content in Spotlight, INN Days postponed, extended INN Labs office hours, News Revenue Hub deck.

This page will be updated as additional resources and information becomes available.

Trainings and Office Hours

Financial Forecasting in Uncertain Times webinar: Join us for a webinar on April 1 at 2 p.m. ET with Halpert CPAs, an accounting firm that specializes in nonprofits and has clients across the US. Topics will include: Strategies to preserve cash flow, when and how to talk to your board and funders (about your financial situation) and perspectives on making tough decisions. The one-hour session will have plenty of time for Q&A so bring your questions. Chip Potts, INN’s Director of Finance, will moderate. Register here.

Philanthropy Office Hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 2:00pm-4:00pm EST. CLICK HERE to book your 30 min spot.

INN Labs Office Hours: Join weekly on Fridays at 2 p.m. EST to discuss your technical needs or challenges or email the Labs team directly at support@inn.org. Due to interest, office hours will be extended until 4 p.m. ET on 3/27.

Financial & fundraising resources

Grants & funding opportunities

The Aspen Tech Policy Hub is looking for experienced technologist teams to propose projects to help mitigate the short and long-term effects of COVID-19. Applicants are required to propose a project that will help mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Applications are due on March 30; learn more and apply here.

Facebook Journalism Project and Poynter's International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) launched a $1M USD grant program to support fact-checkers in their work around COVID-19. This grant program will not only allow folks to maintain their funding during this challenging period, but also supports proposals for translation services, audience initiatives to best reach people with reliable communication, working with healthcare professionals and more. Applications will be open March 18 to April 1Apply.

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is seeking proposals that develop innovative approaches to reporting on the novel coronavirus crisis using collaboration among journalists and newsrooms across state lines or national borders. This grant opportunity is now open, and applications will be reviewed on a first-come, rolling basis. 

The Independent News Challenge is partnering with the Facebook Journalism Project and News Media Canada to ensure that funding reaches local newsrooms in need of support across Canada. INC’s role is to ensure independent outlets serving underrepresented communities apply for the program. These applications will be reviewed rapidly, and funding will be given out on a rolling basis until all funds have been given out. Learn more and apply here

American Press Institute created a special dashboard in its analytics tool Metrics for News to help newsrooms assess the impact of their COVID-19 coverage. A limited version of Metrics for News with access to the Coronavirus Dashboard will be available for free with support from API’s team for up to 20 selected newsrooms. Please click here to apply by Friday, March 27.

Insurance and legal resources 

Thank you to Sheppard Mullin, an international law firm, for putting together a list of COVID-19 state public health orders and their impact on news media.

Democracy Fund hired a consultant to help put together some resources and questions around insurance that you might find useful in this time of COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic raises issues around insurance, including questions about liability for the wellbeing of staffers and freelancers. This FAQ attempts to quickly answer some of the important questions.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is outlining recommendations for journalists to ensure the press and public’s right of access to government information and proceedings is protected. Anyone who has updates about government responses to COVID-19 that impact newsgathering rights or public access can submit them to media@rcfp.org.

Tech support available from INN Labs

We are aware that many of you may need technical support as you provide critical coverage of COVID-19. Here are ways in which INN Labs can help:

  • Homepage modifications to highlight COVID-19 stories or series of articles.
  • Building special series templates or landing pages featuring COVID-19 coverage.
  • Adding the Republication Tracker Tool to your articles to see who is republishing your articles and the full audience impact of your reporting.
  • Adding breaking news alerts to your homepage or sidebars.
  • Data interactives (any kind of maps or tables) to support your COVID-19 stories.
  • Presenting multimedia in new ways, such as embedded video, galleries, or expanded imagery.
  • Newsletters focusing on COVID-19 in your local area: building newsletter templates, or ways to promote on your website.

Please reach out to paola@inn.org with any questions or to request support from INN Labs.

Resources for reporters & photographers

Sign up for feedback about your COVID-19 data story. OpenNews will try to connect reporters with a peer coach who can help to think through reporting and analysis for COVID-19 data coverage.

Thanks to the Lucie Foundation, which supports photography and visual arts, for sending us PhotoShelter's coronavirus resources roundup for photographers.

INN is contributing to Lenfest Institute's excellent link collection and we suggest you do, too: Here are resources to help local newsrooms cover the coronavirus pandemic ad adapt to remote work. Got a resource to share for reporters? Email Yossi Lichterman at joseph@lenfestinstitute.org.

Audience resources & sharing your coverage

The COVID-19 SoJo Exchange

Looking for solutions coverage of COVID-19 to republish in your news outlet under a Creative Commons license? Solutions Journalism Network is keeping a running list of solutions-focused COVID-19 coverage available for republication. If you have stories available, please reach out to them; instructions here.

Best practices on building audience

Many of you are seeing a spike in your readership due to COVID-19 coverage. This deck from News Revenue Hub compiles examples of best practices you can employ to fulfill your public service mission and optimize your audience in a time of confusion and concern.

Spotlight partnership

INN is partnering with Spotlight, a news aggregation app and website, where members can see all COVID-19 coverage from the INN network in one place, enabling accessible content sharing. All INN members are eligible and INN staff can handle onboarding any member who chooses to participate in the project.

Aside from easy content sharing, partnering with Spotlight offers a few additional benefits:

  • The platform also provides audience and revenue data to all of its partners; In addition to enabling us to collaborate, as the platform grows you will get 70% of the revenue generated by advertising on your stories. You will also be provided an audience dashboard so you can share information with your stakeholders.
  • You will get access to an existing audience that is, in many cases, younger than your regular audiences. Because Spotlight traditionally serves college media outlets, they have a very young audience that we hope will help you attract new audiences.
  • Over time, your content will also be fed into geographically-based feeds so that more people find your content, even if they may not know to look for you by name.

If you are willing to participate in this collaboration, and allow your COVID-19 coverage to be used by other INN members, all you need to do is sign the contract that can be found on the listserv and email it to tamer@spotlightnews.us. Please reach out jonathan@inn.org with any questions.

The sooner you move on this, the sooner we will be able to collaborate around COVID19. After we get ramped up, we will follow up with emails about where you can see all INN member COVID-19 content to repurpose on your own social and online channels.

INN promotion

We'd like to know more about your organization's coronavirus coverage, promote your work and amplify what nonprofit newsrooms are doing overall. To do that, we need your help tallying nonprofit news resources on the COVID-19 crisis. We also want to know your interest in a roundup of all nonprofit news coverage of the crisis, to make it easier to share.

Please take 3 minutes to let us know how your organization is covering coronavirus:

COVID-19 coverage form

Facebook promotion

Facebook is collecting timely, accurate information from partner news organizations.

If you'd like to share what you are creating to help your community stay updated, please email localnews@fb.com (and identify yourself as an INN member in the email) to tell Facebook if:

  • You provide coverage specifically for vulnerable communities (low-income workers, hourly workers, etc.) and share it to Facebook/Instagram platforms
  • You provide consistent, special coverage like Live town halls, Q&As with local health officials, pop-up newsletters, live blogs
  • You produce coronavirus coverage that overperforms with your Facebook or Instagram audiences, that is unique to your community

Facebook may use links you submit to drive where content appears across its platform.

Remote academic talks from INN members available for journalism educators

Are you a journalism educator, or do you work in another capacity at a journalism school around the US? Are you suddenly staring down weeks or months of online classes? INN has put together a database of dozens of journalists at our member organizations that would love to appear in your class via Zoom or some other platform. Access the database here and feel free to reach out to these experts through the email address provided.

Any INN members who would like to be added to the list can fill out this form.

INN Days postponed to Sept. 22 - Sept. 23

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, INN has made the decision to postpone INN Days 2020. The new dates for this conference are September 22-23, 2020. This convening will still be held at the Westin Alexandria Old Town in Alexandra, Virginia. We will hold virtual peer group meetups on June 15 and June 16 — more on that soon.

For those of you that have already registered, your registration will be automatically transferred to the new dates. If due to the adjusted dates you can no longer attend INN Days 2020, you can email tasha@inn.org to have your registration fully refunded.

If you have already booked your room, your reservation will automatically be cancelled and you will receive a full refund. A new link to book your hotel room for September will be available soon. If you have any trouble or questions, you can call the Westin hotel at (703) 253-8600.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and sincerely hope that you attend in September. If you have any questions or concerns you can contact Fran Scarlett directly at fran@inn.org. We will share more details about INN Days in the coming weeks.