Skip to Content

INN Index 2021 shows broad and sustained growth across nonprofit news

June 15, 2021

Today the Institute for Nonprofit News publishes its latest Index report, capturing the state of nonprofit news in 2021. 

During a year of crises and intensified demands for high-quality news, nonprofits rose to the challenge. Community-centered media rapidly read the public’s needs and ramped up coverage to provide information and connections that people couldn’t find anywhere else. Journalists tackled their own field’s racism as they covered a national racial reckoning. And in a polarizing election year, they provided nonpartisan voting guides and fact-based coverage. 

Through it all, more and more people turned to nonprofit news providers. Audiences swelled. So did community support for this journalism. More individuals donated to newsrooms, and they donated more. Foundations also pumped funding to the field to help with emergency coverage. 

This tumultuous year generated the fastest growth in nonprofit news media since the financial crisis of 2008, when many journalists left legacy media to create nonprofit newsrooms, with the aim of saving accountability and investigative reporting considered essential to democracy. 

The remarkable thing about the field’s growth in 2020 is that it spans almost every measure. INN has been studying the field since 2009, and with Index and NewsMatch data trends now going back to 2018, we also are able to see that the breadth of growth in 2020 is part of a pattern – a steady, broad sustained growth, based on a healthy mix of revenue sources coupled with experimentation and entrepreneurship to build more. 

The breadth of growth in 2020 accelerates the establishment of this new kind of media across the U.S. 

Here’s what INN’s Index data tells us about the state of the field:

See the full INN Index 2021 report here

If you have a question about the report or a press inquiry, please reach out to us at

Back to top