As the number of outlets has increased along with associated capital investment, so too has the size of the workforce in nonprofit journalism. We estimate that INN’s digital-first members (not including public media organizations) employ nearly 4,000 people, including both editorial and non-editorial staff. Of those, roughly two-thirds are editorial staff. The overall staffing number represents a 15% increase in workforce size compared to the previous year. That increase is generally in line with the rate of growth in fieldwide revenue as well as the number of new entrants into the INN fold.
The median staff size for a nonprofit news outlet in our sample is five people, with the split of editorial to non-editorial staffers falling around 70/30. The staffing size of an organization and its ratio of editorial to non-editorial (including revenue-focused) employees is largely dictated by the age and geographic scope of the outlet’s coverage. Local outlets tend to have about four people on staff, whereas national or global organizations have a median staff size of 10, with a range from one to more than 170 FTEs. A startup outlet in its first three years of operation, unsurprisingly, will have a lower count of staffers — usually between one to three people — working to get the outlet off the ground.
Our next DEI Index Report will include data on the race, ethnicity and gender of the people behind nonprofit news, the most common equity and inclusion practices across the sector, and the field’s revenue access and distribution.