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INN collaborations prompt change, civic engagement

August 20, 2021

Two reports released today show the impact of INN’s expanding editorial collaborations program.

In May, eight INN members published a series of powerful stories on the intersection of water and equity as part of a collaboration called Tapped Out: Power, justice and water in the West. One story on water shortages in Gallup, New Mexico, published by INN member New Mexico In Depth, helped free up $3 million in federal funds to bring water to Gallup and nearby communities. 

Another story reported that the town of Corcoran, California, was sinking as a result of excessive groundwater pumping. Published by SJV Water and the Center for Collaborative Investigative Journalism as well as The New York Times, the article drew national and international attention. As a result of the reporting, the state claims it will review its surface water transfer program.

The INN newsrooms that spent more than three months reporting on water issues in the Western U.S. to create the series also included California Health Report,High Country News, Circle of Blue, Columbia Insight and Ensia

Read the Tapped Out impact report.

The project was made possible by a grant from The Water Desk, with additional funding from Ensia and INN’s Amplify News Project. Amplify — which provided support for project management and organization, as well as cash stipends for reporting and editing — is funded with support from the Joyce Foundation in the Midwest and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in Chicago. 

The collaboration partners are currently pursuing a follow-up series, which will investigate additional issues raised by the original reporting. 

Tapped Out was the sixth collaboration led by INN since 2019. A subsequent project, AC: Life After COVID, was published in late June and early July. This year, INN also worked with City Bureau to pilot a daily Chicago Documenters newsletter, Newswire, which synthesizes public meeting coverage, opportunities for civic involvement and local news. Newswire launched publicly on May 25, after the successful pilot, and has increased traffic to by 50% since the launch. Numerous community organizations and journalists have used and promoted the newsletter. 

Read the Newswire pilot report.

All of INN’s editorial collaborations can be found at

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