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Nonprofit news continues growth trajectory: new members join INN

February 23, 2024

More than a dozen well-established nonprofit newsrooms across the country now have access to reliable election results, operational support and industry data as new members of the Institute for Nonprofit News. In total, this year INN has welcomed 19 news organizations, most of them founded before 2021, to its membership ranks.  

Most of the outlets focus on local and regional news coverage, which is the fastest-growing segment of INN membership — a trend noted in the INN Index. That’s a significant distinction during an election year and a time when many regional news outlets are laying off staff and shrinking coverage areas. INN members have access to state and national election results and related graphics through a recently announced collaboration with The Associated Press, with funding from the Google News Initiative. 

The majority of these new member news organizations cite goals of boosting reader engagement and to holding local governments accountable. Some focus on specific populations within their communities such as people experiencing homelessness (Street Spirit) and Black communities in Nebraska (the forthcoming Dreamland Report). Others cover specific topics, homing in on issues such as factory farming and animal policy (Sentient Media). INN also welcomed an affiliate member, News Ambassadors, that supports solutions-based journalism.

INN reviews membership applications and accepts new members throughout the year. Organizations applying to join INN are vetted by INN staff to ensure they meet standards for ethics, transparency, independence and quality of journalism and are then approved for membership by leading journalists on the INN Board of Directors.

As INN members, the news outlets have access to INN programs that will help them develop revenue and business models to support strong reporting, collaborate on editorial and business innovation, share services and advance the diverse leaders who are forging a new future for news.

“At a time when we’re seeing news organizations shrinking and shutting down, and with elections scheduled throughout 2024, it’s heartening to see so many new communities served by nonprofit newsrooms that are part of the INN Network,” said Jonathan Kealing, INN’s chief network officer. “Residents of these communities can rest assured that these news sources have the highest commitment to quality, transparency and independence.”

News organizations that are full members of INN regularly publish original investigative or public service journalism. They have 501(c)3 status or editorial independence from their fiscal sponsor. The newest full members of the INN Network are:

Provisional members of INN receive support while working to fully meet INN’s membership standards for editorial excellence, independence and transparency. Provisional members often are fiscally sponsored by INN in order to receive nonprofit status with the IRS to launch their fundraising efforts. They can tap into INN’s Network Philanthropy Center to learn about fundraising and access resources for audience growth. They also benefit from the INN peer community that shares knowledge and tips.

Our current list of provisional members includes:

Affiliate membership is open to organizations that share the INN mission of advancing nonprofit public service journalism but aren’t primarily newsrooms. This month, the INN Board welcomes News Ambassadors, which aims to reshape journalism with “news that uplifts common ground and explores solutions to wide-facing social problems.” Its mission is to “recruit radio stations and journalism schools to create these stories, and spread this groundbreaking approach.” Other affiliate members of INN include academic institutions — like Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism — and field-building organizations like American Journalism Project. To find one of more than 425 nonprofit newsrooms covering a specific region or topic across North America, visit the INN Network Directory.

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