Nonprofit Media in the News
Nonprofit media organizations are receiving a lot of media attention these days for stepping up to fill a void in critical public interest reporting. We’ve developed a running list of this coverage as a resource for nonprofit news organizations, the nonprofit and philanthropic community, and anyone who is interested in nonprofit media or who wishes to research this emerging topic.
- As it grows, The Marshall Project finds plenty of partners, but fundraising is still not easy – Nieman Journalism Lab
Founder of The Marshall Project discusses their recent achievements, but comments that “we’ll still be fundraising for the rest of our professional lives”, highlighting the funding pressures on nonprofit journalism organizations.
- Yelp and ProPublica Collaborate on a Mixed-Source Medical Review Program – Nonprofit Quarterly
Nonprofit news organization, ProPublica, has partnered with Yelp to provide public reviews of healthcare providers.
- Bill Keller Discusses The Marshall Project's Nonprofit Journalism – WWD
In an interview with WWD, The Marshall Project’s Bill Keller discusses their model of nonprofit journalism, his take on the future of print journalism and how they have partnered with their funders.
- At some Minnesota news sites, partisans write the checks – Minnesota Public Radio
MPR News reports on Minnesota-based nonprofit journalism and media organizations with possible political ties. The article raises the question of partisan involvement in nonprofit media and the need for transparency around funding sources.
- Marshall Project stakes out high ground on journalism's slippery slope – Columbia Journalism Review
This article highlights the dilemma facing cause-driven nonprofit journalism organizations as to whether to partner with for-profit outlets. Specifically, The Marshall Project’s model of collaboration is discussed.
- Nonprofit Media by and for Madison’s Communities of Color – Nonprofit Quarterly
A new nonprofit news site will be launching in August, and will focus on giving a voice to the minority community in Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to addressing racial issues within the community, it will also have a number of contributors of color to better represent minority perspectives.
- More Funding Is Flowing for Education Journalism. Is That OK? – Inside Philanthropy
Author, L.S. Hall, examines the growing trend of nonprofit journalism organizations focused on education issues. Hall argues that the challenge for these journalists is to ensure that there is a separation between the grant dollars that these organizations receive and the stories they are covering.
- How Grist has been able to flourish as a nonprofit news site - Poynter
In their final profile on a nonprofit journalist, Poynter highlights Chip Giller, founder of Grist. Grist is a nonprofit news site focused on environmentalism, with a humor and storytelling twist.
- Michael Stoll persists in vision to create a public-radio-style newspaper despite lack of funds –Poynter
Michael Stoll, nonprofit investigative news journalist, is the third nonprofit journalist to be profiled by Poynter. He is a co-founder of San Francisco Public Press, a site designed to “bolster public broadcasting [and] local newswires.”
- Is good journalism enough to sustain an investigative nonprofit? – Poynter
Nonprofit and investigative journalist, Beth Daley, is the second of four journalists profiled by Poynter in a series on nonprofit news startups. She works with the New England Center for Investigative Journalism, which is also profiled in this article.
- How MATTER succeeded in spite of itself – Poynter
In the first of four profiles of nonprofit news startups, Poynter highlights Jim Giles and Bobbie Johnson, two journalists who started MATTER in 2012. Starting as a for-profit enterprise, MATTER was acquired in 2013; this article discusses their revenue model.
- Campbell Brown to Launch Non-Profit Education News Site That Won’t Shy From Advocacy – CMO Today, Wall Street Journal
Former CNN Host, Campbell Brown, is launching a nonprofit news site called The Seventy Four, which alludes to the 74 million children in schools across the country. The site will be nonpartisan, but Ms. Brown says that it will not shy away from advocacy.
- Bloomberg Backs New Nonprofit Journalism Site with Focus on Gun Violence – Nonprofit Quarterly
A new nonprofit journalism site, The Trace, has been formed and is focused on covering gun violence. The site is supported by Michael Bloomberg and intends to have a nonpartisan perspective on gun laws. The site hopes to appeal to the National Rifle Association by providing more facts and stories on the anti-gun effort.
- Trevor Aaronson Elected to INN Board of Directors - Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
Executive Director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, Trever Aaronson, was elected to the board of directors of the Institute for Nonprofit News. INN’s mission is to promote the value of investigative and nonprofit journalism.
- A new nonprofit hopes to fill a void in coverage of California - Columbia Journalism Review
This article highlights the drop in state political news coverage in California in the last decade, particularly because the state is not an early primary state, nor is it a swing state. A new nonprofit news source, CALmatters, will be launching in July and plans to cover California state policies and politics. Their initial fundraising goal is $5 million and they are about halfway to that goal.
- Bill Moyers: The Challenge of Journalism Is to Survive in the Pressure Cooker of Plutocracy - Moyers & Company
At the presentation of the Helen Bernstein Book Awards for Excellence in Journalism on 5/26/15, Former White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers made a plea for charitable giving to nonprofit media. In addition to citing the FCC’s report on philanthropic investment in nonprofit media in 2011, Moyers also called for better legal protection and reporting requirements to support independent journalists.
- Brilliant Crowdfunding Campaign Connects Community to Solutions Journalism - PBS
This article is written by Josh Stearns from the Geraldine R. Doge Foundation’s journalism sustainability project, and highlights an innovative crowdfunding campaign launched by the nonprofit and community news site based in the Lower East Side, The Lo-Down.
- Knight Funds Community-Oriented Journalism at Detroit Nonprofit News Sites - Nonprofit Quarterly
NPQ reports that the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has granted $500,000 to the Detroit Journalism Cooperative, a partnership of five Detroit-based nonprofit news organizations. The grant is intended to support the Cooperative’s coverage of community engagement efforts in Detroit.
- This Climate News Site is a Winner in the Surge of Funding for Green Journalism - Inside Philanthropy
The Ford Foundation has provided a $400,000 grant to the Pulitzer-Prize winning nonprofit media operation, InsideClimate News. The grant is to be used for “general support to produce reports focusing on environmental issues of public relevance.”
- State of Dependency: How Funders Keep Nonprofit Journalism Afloat - Inside Philanthropy
Paul Suchecki provided a review of the Knight Foundation’s newly released publication, “Gaining Ground, How Nonprofit News Ventures Seek Sustainability”, and predicted a contraction in the field of nonprofit journalism in the coming years.
- Nonprofit Journalism in the U.S. May Be a Template for Other Countries - Nonprofit Quarterly
Description: Nonprofit Quarterly reports on blogger, Ashley Nguyen’s, recent post about nonprofit journalism. They report that the U.S. leads the world in nonprofit journalism, with around 100 agencies.
- Nonprofit Journalism: A Model That's Here to Stay - And Spread - Idea Lab article by Ashley Nguyen
In this article, blogger Ashley Nguyen highlights some key takeaways from a recent panel discussion hosted by the Center for International Media Assistance and OpenGov Hub. One of the key points was made by Charles Lewis, who pointed out that nonprofit journalism only works when there are funders to support it.
- Gaining Ground: How Nonprofit News Ventures Seek Sustainability - Knight Foundation
The Knight Foundation has released its third report tracking the field of nonprofit news organizations. Some key findings include: an increase in the average revenue of nonprofit news organizations of 73 percent between 2011 and 2013, and an increase in Web traffic of 75 percent between 2011 and 2013.
- Who benefits from an increase in philanthropic money to journalism? - Columbia Journalism Review
This article raises the issue of potential donor bias when foundations choose the type of nonprofit journalism that they want to fund. The author argues that it is most troublesome when the funding is designated towards public news agencies.
- Nonprofit News Site Focusing on Criminal Justice Draws Big Grant Makers' Support - The Chronicle of Philanthropy
The Marshall Project is a new nonprofit journalism website named after former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and focused on criminal justice reform. The site launched in November.
- Journalism's nonprofit surge - Capital New York
This article highlights Bill Keller and his new venture, The Marshall Project, a nonprofit journalism agency. They report that funding for nonprofit media has increased 21 percent between 2009 and 2011, but also acknowledge the lack of revenue for these types of ventures outside of foundation and donor support.
- DMLP Announcement: A New Report on Media Credentialing in the United States—Digital Media Law Project
This press release by the Digital Media Law Project at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society details a new report released by Media Credentialing Working Group. The report suggests that there could be systemic issues in the way credentials are awarded, and that this may negatively affect less-established organizations and journalists.
- Philanthropy and News—Huffington Post blog post from Jeff Jarvis
This opinion blog post by Jeff Jarvis raises some of the questions to be asked about philanthropy and news media, and whether philanthropists are encouraging sustainability in how they give.
- Beyond the Tea Party: How the IRS Is Killing Nonprofit Media—Huffington Post blog post by Dan Kennedy
This opinion blog post by Dan Kennedy, Assistant Professor of Journalism at Northeastern University, sheds light on some of the IRS practices that have been hindering the growth of nonprofit media, primarily the classification of journalism as non-educational.
- INNovation Fund Winners Announced—Investigative News Network
This announcement from the Investigative News Network names the eight Round 1 winners of their INNovation Fund grants for the cultivation of “experimentation and new ideas newsrooms.” The grants will be used for purposes ranging from the creation of database tools and apps to new programming and audience expansion efforts.
- Knight Study: Syndication, Diverse Revenue Streams Make Non-Profit News Sustainable—PBS
This article from PBS details a Knight Foundation study on nonprofit media revenue streams. The study examined the role of diversification of revenue, syndication and partnerships, and social media referrals in creating sustainable—and expanding—business models.
- Collaboration Is a Key Pillar to Keeping Investigative Journalism Alive—PBS opinion piece by Denise Malan
This piece from PBS proposes that bold, large-scale investigative reporting projects require more resources than any one small news organization can reasonably marshal—and thus advocates for greater collaboration among nonprofit media outlets in undertaking ambitious exposés.
- IRS should allow news to evolve: Column—USA Today opinion piece by Steven Waldman
Steven Waldman, the Chair of the Council on Foundations’ Nonprofit Media Working Group, contributed this opinion piece to USA Today, centering on the issue of the IRS’s nonprofit media-stifling practices.
- InsideClimate News wins Pulitzer—Washington Post
This article from the Washington Post discusses the small, nonprofit media group InsideClimate News, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for its story “The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of.”
- Another Nonprofit News Website Gets Its Wings – Nonprofit Quarterly
This article announces that the Carolina Public Press has been granted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS. Carolina Public Press became incorporated in 2012 and applied for tax-exempt status last year.
- Support crucial for non-profit journalism - USA Today
This article affirms the critical role nonprofit journalism is playing today, but argues that unless these organizations diversify their revenue streams, their continued existence is in danger. Quotes Steve Waldman, principle author of the FCC’s major 2011 study on American news media, saying that “if the winners of the new economy put a tiny bit of their wealth into this [area], this whole space would be transformed.”
- Nonprofit Journalism: A Growing but Fragile Part of the U.S. News System - PewResearch Journalism Project
This piece outlines a new study by the Pew Research Center on nonprofit journalism, and explains that “the growing nonprofit news sector is showing some signs of economic health, and most leaders of those outlets express optimism about the future… But many of these organizations also face substantial challenges to their long-term financial well-being.”
- Big questions face news nonprofits on the road ahead - Knight Blog post by Elise Hu
This blog piece on the Knight Foundation’s website details a roundtable discussion sponsored by Knight and the Pew Research Center and the Knight Foundation on the stability of the nonprofit news model. In the piece, Hu lists five key takeaways from the discussion.
- No “New Normal” Yet! Pew/Knight Session Finds Nonprofit News Enterprise Models Still in Formation - Nonprofit Quarterly
This article details the nonprofit media roundtable discussion hosted by the Knight Foundation and the Pew Research Center. It gives a wide-reaching overview of the discussion and states, “There were no hard and fast conclusions, but it was evident that this was a dynamic field of organizations trying to discern a way forward, not just for their sites but for journalism more generally.”
- New Report Sheds a Clarifying Light on Patterns of “Enterprise” in Nonprofit-Based News Sites - Nonprofit Quarterly
This Nonprofit Quarterly article gives an overview of an October 2013 report by the Knight Foundation on state of nonprofit media. The article includes an interview with two key Knight employees, Mayur Patel, Vice President of Strategy and Assessment, and Michael Maness, Vice President of Journalism and Media Innovation.
- Nonprofit Journalism Struggles to Keep its Promise – Miami Herald op-ed by Edward Wasserman
This op-ed piece by Edward Wasserman, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, questions the sustainability of nonprofit media because of the ongoing challenge of finding durable sources of funding. Yet, Wasserman notes that despite this challenge, nonprofit media have the ability to foster “indispensable public conversation about common concerns.”
- The “Brutish” but Exciting Lives of Nonprofit News Sites - Nonprofit Quarterly op-ed by Larry Kaplan
In response to Edward Wasserman’s Miami Herald op-ed, Larry Kaplan agrees with Wasserman that “life in independent media has from time to time been somewhat ‘brutish,’” but that we should “keep our eyes open for the many experiments [in nonprofit media] that are working.”
- New Report Shows Growing Role of Philanthropy in Shaping the Media Landscape - Knight press release
This is a press release from the Knight Foundation on their new October 2013 report, Growth in Foundation Support for Media in the United States. The report “is a collaboration among the Foundation Center, Media Impact Funders and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and provides the most comprehensive view to date of philanthropy’s role in the media funding landscape.”
- Experiments in Community Media - Huffington Post blog post by Kevin Murphy
This blog post from Council on Foundations Board Chair and Berks County Community Foundation President, Kevin Murphy, talks about the central role foundations have played in funding “new models of keeping our communities informed.” He also highlights the work of the Knight Foundation and the Council on Foundations in elevating the issue of nonprofit media.