Skip to Content

Nonprofit news outlets are growing revenue and audiences while expanding across local markets

July 27, 2022

INN Index Report shows broadened demand for public service journalism

Nonprofit news is driving sustained, multi-year growth, and the number of outlets providing local coverage has rapidly increased over the past four years, according to the 2022 INN Index Report released today from the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN). The latest Index finds growth of the nonprofit sector is widespread, but different types of outlets experience growth in distinct ways. Fueled by philanthropic sources, larger, national and global outlets are driving up total revenue and audience sizes as they develop into more robust news operations. Meanwhile, a new wave of local news outlets, serving smaller populations and operating in smaller markets, is driving growth in the number of nonprofit news outlets. 

While the INN Index surveys only news organizations that are members of the INN Network (and meet its standards for quality and independence), it has come to be seen as the benchmark for how the nonprofit news field is developing. The number of newsrooms in the INN Network has doubled over the past four years and now exceeds 400 independent news organizations that distribute content through more than 7,100 other media outlets.

“The trend data are telling us that there is a demand for the kind of nonpartisan, in-depth news coverage that nonprofits provide,” said Sue Cross, executive director and CEO of INN. “When you see news organizations attracting both revenue and readers year over year, and you see more nonprofits launching at the local level, you know that people are hungry for trustworthy news that is relevant to their lives.”

Key findings of the INN Index report include:  

Data in the report was collected through INN’s Index survey, an annual questionnaire INN member news organizations complete each year. Survey questions vary year over year but commonly focus on revenue and expenses, audience and distribution, and staffing and diversity data across the nonprofit news sector. 

See the full 2022 INN Index Report for more information. 

For questions on the Index Report or press inquiries, please contact INN’s communications team at

About the INN Index

The INN Index is the most comprehensive study of the state of nonprofit news. Since 2018, the Institute for Nonprofit News has conducted this annual Index survey of its member nonprofit news organizations. INN member news organizations act as a research consortium by sharing their business and editorial statistics to help each other benchmark their own development and so that INN and the field can evaluate and better understand new media models as they form: the staffing, business models, financials, and editorial focus of newsrooms in the growing movement of public service journalism. Previous Index reports are archived.

INN distributed the survey online in January 2022 to 338 INN network newsrooms, excluding service organizations that are also INN members, and 315, or 93%, completed the survey. Survey responses reflect performance in the calendar year 2021. Survey language is provided here. The data do not scientifically represent all North American nonprofit news outlets, since not all belong to INN, including an array of public media stations.

This year’s INN Index Report is sponsored by the Google News Initiative.

INN offers assistance to researchers, reporters, philanthropists and journalism organizations that want to dig deeper into the data gathered from the annual INN Index survey. Please fill in this quick interest form to learn more.

* A note on the cohort used for this report: Of the 315 news organizations that completed the survey, the data for 285 are included in this report. (Data provided by 30 members from the public media sector is not included due to systematic differences in how these organizations report revenue and expenses.) For the revenue analysis portion, 20 startups younger than one year were excluded, as they did not yet have comparable data for the entire year. An additional 18 organizations did not provide revenue data. Thus, the revenue section of the report is based on the information provided by 247 outlets. Year-over-year financial comparisons are drawn from smaller cohorts of outlets that provided complete financial data for 2020-2021 (N = 201), as well as 2018-2021 (N = 92).

Back to top