Recent Articles

INN provides Policy on Editorial Independence for member organizations

The Investigative News Network is providing a new Policy on Editorial Independence for its member newsrooms.

The policy, approved by the INN board of directors during a meeting on January 5, 2015, is intended to set expectations for donors to member organizations and help ensure that they don't try to exert influence over the members' editorial process. While there are many different business models among INN's more than 100 members, most nonprofit newsrooms are funded largely by philanthropic foundations and private membership. Though it is entirely optional, INN suggests its members adopt the policy, post it on their website and provide a copy for each of their funders. Policy on Editorial Independence for INN member organizations. We subscribe to INN’s standards of editorial independence as follows:

Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. Continue Reading →

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INN Syndication FAQ

INN exists to make the work of member nonprofit investigative newsrooms more sustainable and more widely seen.   To that end, INN has negotiated syndication deals with two organizations at favorable rates so that you don’t have to. Want to sign up?  Contact Lisa Williams at Newstex

Newstex aggregates and curates content from media organizations, online magazines, top blogs, YouTube, and social media channels.  Customers typically need content to round out a topically-focused website; they republish the content. What they syndicate:  RSS feed of articles from your site, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. Continue Reading →

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Thirty Minutes on Nonprofit News Sustainability

"We're going to do it American Idol style," says Kevin Davis in this video of a session at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference on nonprofit news business models, "I'll present what we've learned, and you critique it, from a global perspective." Want to hear more?  See the complete video here. Continue Reading →

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VIDEO: Google Hangout Conversation Between INN Members & Knight Foundation On Nonprofit News Sustainability

Today INN hosted a Google Hangout with representatives of the Knight Foundation on the topic of nonprofit news sustainability with the authors of Knight's recent report, "Finding a Foothold: How Nonprofit News Organizations Seek Sustainability." The report gives readers a deep dive into 18 nonprofit news organizations, how they bring in money to support their work, and how that's changed over time. Key questions addressed during this conversation include:

What's the right mix when it comes to devoting resources toward core editorial functions and efforts like marketing and fundraising? What are the most common ways news nonprofits create earned revenue? What doesn't work? Continue Reading →

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Nonprofit or not, investigative news organizations are still businesses

INN executive director Kevin Davis weighed in on the recent study on revenue sources for nonprofit newsrooms on the Knight Blog:

“Finding a Foothold” validated what we here at the Investigative News Network have been preaching for sometime: that nonprofit newsrooms are first and foremost mission-driven businesses. While nonprofits are traditionally thought of as “charitable organizations,” this report correctly underscores that successful nonprofits must develop multiple revenue streams that are consistent with their mission.  Continue Reading →

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How independent news organizations can build sales

Eleanor Cippel of EW Scripps

Eleanor Cippel, Corporate Managing Director of Sales, Business Development and Operations for EW Scripps today addressed participants of CJET, a training and mentoring program for news startups. "It's incredibly important to know your identity as a business," says Cippel. "You should have a very clear message both internally and externally -- and that should help you develop an elevator pitch that expresses what your unique value proposition is." This applies to for-profits and nonprofits, says Cippel. "Unless someone is walking by with a tray floating you money, you have to ask people for money, and to do that you have to understand what your value is." Continue Reading →

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How can news organizations assess impact and engagement?


Lauren Fuhrmann of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism spoke to CJET, an event where independent investigative and community news organizations can gain business development and strategic planning skills to make their organization sustainable in the long term. Continue Reading →

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How News Startups Can Convert Readers To Members

Mary Walter-Smith, head of Voice of San Diego's membership operations


Mary Walter-Brown, head of advancement for the Voice of San Diego, spoke to news entrepreneurs at CJET on the nuts and bolts of building a membership program to support an independent journalism organization. "At the bare minimum, I encourage you to do reader surveys -- we did them through SurveyMonkey and it was very easy to administrate," Walter-Brown says.  "But break the target audience for your survey into segments."  Walter-Brown says Voice of San Diego broke survey respondents into groups -- people who had given the site money and those who hadn't; people who were subscribers to the organization's email list, and then for readers who engaged with specific beats, like the arts. "We asked what devices they used. Continue Reading →

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