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The latest news about the Investigative News Network and our members.

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Journalists learn how to follow the money in state elections


Following the money in state politics is becoming easier, thanks to more than $47 billion in searchable campaign contributions compiled by the National Institute for Money in State Politics. About 20 reporters from around the country gathered in Missoula, Montana, last week to learn how to track those contributions, spot patterns and find stories among the data. The Specialized Reporting Institute was funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and hosted by the National Institute for Money in State Politics, also known as, a member of the Investigative News Network. Reporters learned how to use the new Follow the Money website, which allows anyone to search for contributors to politicians in all 50 states and federal offices. Reporters and members of the public can also search by industry and interest, by politician, by election year and a number of other ways. The institute's website contains 51 million records totaling more than $47.5 billion in campaign contributions. It is the only place where all states' campaign finance data are available as one searchable database. Continue Reading →

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Laura Amico shares lessons learned at Homicide Watch

A few weeks ago, the Boston Globe announced the hiring of Laura Amico to join the digital site as news editor for multimedia and data projects. Amico has been the co-founding editor of the Homicide Watch along with her husband, Chris Amico, since 2010. In a farewell post published today in The Crime Report, Laura shares some of the lessons she learned as the co-founder of the data-driven project that focused on violent crimes. In the post, she opens up about the challenges of keeping Homicide Watch true to its mission, focusing on people and not just data, and departing the project for the Boston Globe. Below is an excerpt of the full piece, which you can read here at the Crime Report:

The motto of Homicide Watch is simple: Mark every death. Continue Reading →

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CJET is coming to Austin, TX

INN’s Community Journalism Executive Training (CJET) is coming to Austin, TX, from September 10 to 12, 2014. CJET is an annual training conference that gathers journalism entrepreneurs for a crash course in news-industry leadership and the essentials of running a sustainable news and information business. INN’s goal is to provide hands-on training and guidance from mentors to build sustainable, independent journalism organizations. Since 2012, CJET has served as a training ground for independent news executives in both for-profit and nonprofit news organizations in areas critical to building momentum and sustainability at news startups:

Sales: How to build diverse revenues, managing sales operations, from hiring to compensation; how to build and work a prospect list; how to identify and close new underwriters and supporters
Building a membership base: How to become a member-supported news institution, from running membership drives to tracking and retaining supporting members; understanding and tracking the process of converting visitors to supporters who donate to further your work
Traffic & analytics: how to understand web and mobile analytics; how (and how not) to use those to drive decisions
Impact measurement: how to keep track of who views content and where, how to measure engagement across multiple platforms including increasingly important social and mobile channels
Financial management: How to build and track a budget; budgeting for projects to expand the reach of your brand or add new lines of revenue

“The way I see it, CJET exists to help journalists sprout entrepreneurial wings,” says Anne Galloway, founder of VTDigger. “CJET 1 made me realize that I had to get out of reporting and editing mode and start investing my energy in the business side. Continue Reading →

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INN Welcomes Tim Griggs of Texas Tribune to Board of Directors

Tim Griggs, publisher and chief operating officer of the Texas Tribune, has joined the INN Board of Directors after a run-off election against incumbent Margie Freivogel, the editor of St. Louis Public Radio and The Beacon. Griggs won with 20 votes to 19 for Freivogel. Griggs and Freivogel initially tied in the first election with 15 votes each. Anne Galloway of the Vermont Digger won one of two open seats in the first election with 21 votes. Continue Reading →

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Slideshow Presentations from INN at IRE Day 2014

For the past four years, INN and IRE have worked together to create a program specifically tailored to the needs and issues facing nonprofit investigative newsrooms.

On Thursday, June 26, we met up  in San Francisco for what turned out to be a day filled with conversations and ideas about revenue, collaboration, and innovation. We hope that, to that end, everyone walked away with some valuable shared lessons and insights from us and other member organizations. Here are some of the presentations from INN@IRE Day 2014. Trends in News Revenue: The View from 30,000 Feet

INN Member Programs:

INN Strategy and INNovation Fund
Content and Communications
Back-office Programs
Largo Project
Data and Editorial Collaboration
Revenue Opportunities &
Community Journalism Executive Training (CJET)
Filmed Media - Brainstorm

Revenue Generation Lightning Rounds:

Texas Tribune
San Francisco Public Press
Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting
New England Center for Investigative Reporting

Breakout Sessions:

Impact Metrics & Measurement

“Free Legal Resources”

  Continue Reading →

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UPDATED: Anne Galloway of Vermont Digger elected to INN board

Anne Galloway, founder and editor of Vermont Digger, has been elected to the Board of the Directors of the Investigative News Network (INN). Margaret Freivogel, editor of St. Louis Public Radio, and Tim Griggs, publisher and COO of the Texas Tribune, each received 15 votes. Galloway won with 21 votes. Thirty-seven members cast votes last week for six candidates vying for two seats on the board. Continue Reading →

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INNovation Fund Winners Announced

Encino, Calif., April 15, 2014 -- Investigative News Network is announcing 8 winners of the first round of its INNovation Fund grants, for a total of $236,280.  Initially established with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the INNovation Fund’s sole purpose is to spur nonprofit newsrooms to undertake innovative projects that will bring their organization closer to sustainability. "We were delighted to receive so many proposals from the various members of the nonprofit news and public media communities," said Kevin Davis, CEO & Executive Director of the Investigative News Network.  "While we only had sufficient funds to move forward with eight out of 118 proposals, we are very excited by the breadth and types of business experimentation exemplified by the finalists." “The INNovation Fund was created to cultivate experimentation and new ideas newrooms,” said Michael Maness, Knight Foundation vice-president of journalism and media innovation. Continue Reading →

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What Makes Crowdsourcing Campaigns for News Work?

At INN, our core mission is to create sustainable, independent nonprofit news organizations -- so we're fascinated by the many different approaches journalists are using to fund their work. Lyra McKee of The Muckraker is writing a book about the 33 year old murder of Robert Bradford, a politician from Northern Ireland.  In exchange for a donation, backers get access to the book as it's being written.  We asked Lyra what she's learned about crowdfunding an investigative journalism project. "If I could offer any advice on doing a crowdfunding campaign, it's - don't set a target you want, set the target you think you can get," says McKee.  "It's not the be all and end all: you've got to look at it as part of a longer process of nurturing readers and bringing them into the fold. Continue Reading →

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McCormick, Ethics & Excellence in Journalism and Patterson Renew Their Commitment To Supporting Nonprofit Journalism Through INN

Today we'd like to take a moment to highlight the efforts of multiple foundations who are working with INN to build and promote long-term sustainability for independent nonprofit news publishers. The McCormick Foundation is helping INN build an emergency legal fund for members.  Legal threats -- and the costs associated with defending against them -- can cause fledgling organizations to capsize.  INN and McCormick want to be there for independent nonprofit news organizations when emergency strikes. "INN plays a pivotal role in offering support and vital services to its non-profit journalism members,” said McCormick Foundation Journalism Program Director Clark Bell. Continue Reading →

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