May 17, 2023
Veteran journalist and news leader Sue Cross will step down as executive director & CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) by the end of this year, INN announced today.
Cross led the transformation of INN from a relatively small consortium of news organizations into the hub of a fast-growing network with 425 nonprofit newsrooms across North America. Together, these newsrooms send about 4,200 journalists into the field to deliver coverage at the local, state, national and global levels — a rich source of quality reporting made available as a public service through more than 7,000 media outlets.
“The expansion of the nonprofit news movement since 2015 and the growth of the INN Network are very much owing to the leadership and creativity of Sue Cross,” said Marcia Parker, chair of INN’s board of directors. “At a time when much of the news industry is struggling, INN has proven that supporting nonprofit news organizations is an effective and sustainable way to meet the demand for news in communities across the country. On behalf of the entire board of directors, I thank Sue for her tireless work and for leaving INN stronger than it has ever been.”
Cross has helped lead a shift in how journalism in America is funded through capacity-building programs that help news organizations build broad, sustainable community support for public service journalism. The NewsMatch program — a collaborative fundraising initiative supported by a coalition of funders and managed by INN, The Miami Foundation and News Revenue Hub — has helped raise over $270 million for emerging newsrooms since its launch in 2016. NewsMatch has been critical in launching successful startups in communities that had lost local news and expanding outlets that serve people of color and rural areas.
With INN members, Cross established the INN Index research program to collect and study data on the nonprofit news field. INN also won broader adoption of best practices and standards that can counter disinformation and build public trust in news, through network members’ commitment to editorial independence, transparency about news funding and control, and inclusive and representative coverage.
“This marriage between fostering change and commitment to strong public service values in journalism is creating a new world of news — one that’s critical to countering disinformation and preserving democracy,” Cross said. “I’ve been honored to support INN members who are leading the movement to provide news as a public good — and inspired by the outstanding journalism they generate.”
Cross plans to continue supporting news reinvention through part-time and project roles while completing a personal project over the next two years.
“We are in a golden age of news innovation” Cross said. “I am moving on at a moment when the members of INN, their board and an outstanding and dedicated staff will continue moving smartly to achieve INN’s vision: a world where everyone has access to the quality news and information we all need to make decisions that affect our lives, our communities and our democracy.”
In June, the INN board of directors will launch a national executive search through Koya Partners. The board is committed to an inclusive transition process that engages staff, members and other stakeholders invested in the future of nonprofit news.
Sharene Azimi, Communications Director
Institute for Nonprofit News