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INN Index: Mapping the Growth of Nonprofit News


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The INN Index is the most comprehensive nonprofit news study since 2013 Pew report.

Published in: News & Politics
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INN Index: Mapping the Growth of Nonprofit News

  1. 1. INN Index: Mapping the growth of nonprofit news
  2. 2. Institute for Nonprofit News INN Index •  Most comprehensive nonprofit news study since 2013 Pew report •  91 U.S. nonprofit news organizations provided their 2017 data •  Representative sample of overall INN membership •  Study generously supported by the Democracy Fund 2
  3. 3. Institute for Nonprofit News Scope of the sector GEOGRAPHY 3 PUBLISHING CYCLE Local 23% State 33% Regional 10% National 25% Global 9% Daily 55% Weekly 27% Less than weekly 18%
  4. 4. Institute for Nonprofit News What nonprofit newsrooms cover •  40% focus on in-depth investigative coverage •  Rest divide fairly equally between editorial focus on: — News and events coverage — Explanatory and analytical reporting — A mix of the above •  1/3 cover a single topic •  2/3 cover many topics for one geographic area 4
  5. 5. Institute for Nonprofit News Audiences •  30% identify defined target audiences — Policy-makers — Specific age groups — Communities of color — Activists with strong networks — Parents with school children •  70% say they report for general audiences 5
  6. 6. Institute for Nonprofit News Distribution •  65% say direct publication to web, mobile is the primary way they reach their audience •  75% distribute their journalism via third parties … but only 40% of them get data on that reach •  15% distribute primarily through social media 6
  7. 7. Institute for Nonprofit News Revenue ● $189 million total for these 91 publications ● Top five organizations account for nearly half ● Average revenue: $2.1 million; excluding top five : $1.1 million 7 16% 22% 16% 24% 22% >$3 million $1-3 million $500k-$1 million $200,000-500,000 <$200k By number of organizations
  8. 8. Institute for Nonprofit News Foundations 53% Major gift 20% Earned revenue 13% Small donations 8% Other charity 4% Membership 2% Revenue mix 8 OVERALLFUNDING MIX
  9. 9. Institute for Nonprofit News Revenue trends ●  55% of nonprofit newsrooms get the majority of their funding from foundations ●  Single topic sites: 62% foundation-funded. Multi-topic: 48% ●  As share of total revenue, national and global newsrooms have more foundation funding than local, state and regional publications ●  Local, state, regional have higher shares of earned revenue and major gifts than the nationals 9
  10. 10. Institute for Nonprofit News The workforce ● Average 16 paid FTEs per organization. Range is wide (0-237) ● 70% of staff and 85% of contractors are editorial ● Contractors make up nearly 28% of the workforce ● Diversity: better than traditional media, but still a challenge — 55% female, 45% male, 27% non-white (ASNE 2017: 23% minority for online sites, 17% for newspapers) 10
  11. 11. Institute for Nonprofit News Expenses ●  Average annual expense budget: $1.6 million ●  Excluding top 5, average is about $1 million ●  Wide variance: $30,000 to $18 million ●  Expenditure is heavily weighted to editorial: 65%. Significantly less is devoted to revenue, tech and administration ●  And expense is almost all people: 69% on average 11
  12. 12. Institute for Nonprofit News Takeaways ●  Opportunities: Improved audience targeting could boost growth. Consistent expense tracking should help with priority-setting. ●  Investment: Sites appear under-invested in their revenue-generating workforce. Adding capacity in revenue roles is where grants could be leveraged to build sustainability ●  Encouraging signs: Revenue growth, and at local sites, earned revenue & major donor share. ●  Catalysts: Foundations continue to play critical role in funding 12
  13. 13. Institute for Nonprofit News What’s next ● September 2018: Full report on findings ● Q4 2018: Individual account setup, permissions system for data sharing ● Q1 2019: — Benchmarking tool: Develop interface that enables participants to compare performance data with similar publications — Next survey for INN members ● Added possibilities: Salary/compensation survey. Cross-referencing to demographic data, M+R nonprofit benchmarks, ASNE Diversity Survey 13
  14. 14. Institute for Nonprofit News Participants (Thank you!) Adirondack Explorer Alhambra Source Anthropocene Magazine Arizona CIR Aspen Journalism Austin Bulldog BenitoLink Better Government Association Birmingham Watch Borderzine Bridge Magazine CALmatters Carolina Public Press Center for Public Integrity Center for Responsive Politics Center for Sustainable Journalism Chalkbeat Charlottesville Tomorrow City Bureau City Limits CivicStory - NJ Arts News Coda Media Connecticut Health I-Team Current East Lansing Info (ELi) ecoRI News EdSource Energy News Network Ensia FairWarning FERN Georgia News Lab Grist High Country News Highlands Current Inc. Honolulu Civil Beat inewsource Injustice Watch ICIJ InvestigateWest Investigative Reporting Workshop Iowa Watch KYCIR Maryland Matters Migratory Notes Milwaukee Neighborhood News MinnPost Mississippi Today Mongabay Corporation MuckRock National Institute on Money in State Politics New England CIR New Haven Independent NextCity NJ Spotlight Eye On Ohio Oklahom`a Watch PBS NewsHour Phil. Public School Notebook ProPublica PublicSource Pulitzer Ctr on Crisis Reporting Reveal/CIR Rocky Mountain PBS Rivard Report Scalawag Searchlight New Mexico Solitary Watch Solutions Journalism Network The Chronicle of Social Change The Colorado Independent The Connecticut Mirror The Hechinger Report The Hummel Report The Lens The Midwest CIR The Mountain Independent The Nevada Independent The Seattle Globalist The Texas Tribune The Trace The War Horse VTDigger Voice of OC Voice of San Diego Voices of Monterey Bay Wausau Pilot and Review Wisconsin Watch WyoFile Youth Radio 14
  15. 15. Institute for Nonprofit News Sponsors & Advisors The INN Index survey design was led by Michele McLellan with generous input and review from many, including Jesse Holcomb of Calvin College, the Pew Research Center, Jon Sotsky and Jennifer Preston of Knight Foundation and four heroic beta test points: CivicStory, inewsource, MinnPost and Public Source. Thank you! 15
  16. 16. Institute for Nonprofit News Last chance: Do it!! INN Index If you have not participated and want to, you must email by Thursday, June 21 and input all data by June 30. ASNE Diversity Survey ASNE is the diversity index for our industry. If you have not already participated, or aren’t sure, email Dr. Meredith Clark directly at It is incredibly important for our field that nonprofits participate! ●  16
  17. 17. Q & A