Articles about "Nonprofit news models"

Lorie Hearn, the founder, executive director and editor of inewsource, wrote Tuesday for Nieman Report about the challenges that come with starting a nonprofit news site. Investigative reporting is tough, Hearn wrote.

But if you think being an investigative reporter is hard work, try finding the business model to support it. We journalists think we’re above talking about money, let alone asking for it. We’re too self-righteous for that. At least, I thought I was. Well, the cold hard facts about the future of accountability journalism lie in cold hard cash.

The biggest mistake I made in founding a journalism nonprofit was thinking that good work will automatically attract funding.

(Related: How two inewsource reporters uncovered a scandal)

Lorie Hearn, Nieman


Knight will give $1 million to news nonprofits fund

Investigative News Network
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation expects to give up to $35,000 each to about 30 news nonprofits and public media outlets as part of a $1 million grant to a fund administered by the Investigative News Network.

INN is an umbrella group for news nonprofits that helps such organizations share resources and work toward sustainability. INN will choose the recipients of the grants and manage the "INNovation Fund." (more...)

News nonprofit starts taking donations in Bitcoin

San Diego news nonprofit inewsource began accepting donations in the online currency Bitcoin Monday. It took the plunge because "a potential donor indicated he'd like to contribute bitcoin," inewsource Executive Director and Editor Lorie Hearn tells Poynter in an email. "And he did, the equivalent of $205 US."

According to this list, only a few news organizations accept donations in the currency: Among them, two that say they're affiliated with the hacking collective Anonymous and Juice Rap News.

Setting up the donation mechanism "was easy," inewsource reporter Brad Racino, who arranged the method, tells Poynter in an email. He used a site called Coinbase that was free but requires a verified bank account, which receives the donations in cash. "The site generates a code for a bitcoin 'button' you can place on a website. It's the same as, say, a Paypal button," Racino writes. "Donors just click the button, log into their bitcoin account, and choose an amount to donate from their digital wallet."

As of the time I'm writing this, 1 bitcoin is worth $1,056.53.

Related: I'm Changing My Mind About Bitcoin (Business Insider)

Merger between St. Louis Beacon, St. Louis Public Radio gets closer

St. Louis Beacon
University of Missouri curators will likely approve the merger of St. Louis Public Radio, which the university owns, with the nonprofit news site St. Louis Beacon, Dale Singer reports. The combined organization, which has no name yet, will "cover local news online, on the air, on social media and on any new technologies that come up," Singer writes. St. Louis Public Radio General Manager Tim Eby will manage the combined operation. Employees of the new organization will work for the University of Missouri.

The combined news organization will also provide opportunities for student work in "urban journalism," Singer writes. Dean Mills, the dean of the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Mo., tells Singer "this will probably lead UMSL to engage a little more in what we call professional journalism education.” (more...)
Cover art from Knight Foundation's report on nonprofit news startups. (Knight Foundation)

Knight Foundation support for nonprofit news startups shifts focus to growth, sustainability

The Knight Foundation has released a detailed new report today arguing that well-run nonprofit news sites can weather their growing pains and operate at break-even or better.

The report itself has a wealth of statistics on 18 selected sites, all … Read more

hand with money

Nonprofit journalism sites are proving to be healthy but slow to scale

A recent Pew Research Center/Knight Foundation roundtable conference on the future of nonprofit journalism had the feeling of an annual physical. After three hours of poking and probing, the sector was found to be slowly getting stronger but with some … Read more


Pew: Some news nonprofits would welcome govt. subsidies

39 percent of news nonprofits Pew surveyed "said they favor “some form of government subsidies” to help fund organizations like theirs," Jodi Enda writes. 30 percent opposed taking public money. "In fact, the notion that the government would subsidize the news business is not new," Enda writes. (more...)

New Pew study finds nonprofit news sites are ‘growing but fragile’

The Pew Research Center is out with a new report this morning documenting just how difficult it is for startup, nonprofit news sites, to achieve financial stability.

A typical site starts with a substantial foundation grant, often more than $100,000, … Read more


FCC chair: ‘The rise of nonprofit news organizations is a crucially important trend’

The Council on Foundations
The IRS should change how it decides whether to grant tax-exempt status to news nonprofits, says a report released Monday morning by the Council on Foundations.

The current system presents "serious and unnecessary obstacles to critical innovation," says the report, which was funded by the Knight Foundation.

News nonprofits have particularly struggled to become designated as 501(c)(3) organizations -- a tax-exempt status that most major foundations prefer their beneficiaries have -- because of rules the report says have "not been updated for the digital age." The Chicago News Cooperative, for example, cited its inability to vault the IRS' restrictions as one of the reasons it shut down last February.

Those hurdles are especially dangerous, the report argues, because news nonprofits often fill a void left by the cratering newspaper industry. A 2011 FCC report by Steven Waldman, who also chaired the group that produced the new report, pointed to the important role nonprofits could play when local news and investigative journalism, for instance, fall victim to budget cuts.

Among the obstacles the report says should be fixed: The IRS should reconsider its definition of journalism:
The IRS has taken the position in several cases that journalism is not educational. This position is inconsistent with the applicable federal tax regulations, which define "educational" as "the instruction of the public on subjects useful to the individual and beneficial to the community."

St. Louis Public Radio, St. Louis Beacon to explore ‘combining talents and resources’

St. Louis Public Radio and nonprofit news site the St. Louis Beacon signed a letter of intent to explore "options for strengthening regional news reporting by using their individual assets in combination," the organizations say in a press release.

The two news organizations already partner on coverage from Washington, D.C., where the Beacon has a bureau. This announcement indicates a willingness to take the partnership a lot further, and though it doesn't use the word "merger," Beacon Editor Margaret Wolf Freivogel is quoted in the release as saying, “By combining talents and resources, our organizations will again make this region a national leader in journalism that serves the community."

So what's the difference between a partnership and an alliance? Freivogel and St. Louis Public Radio General Manager Tim Eby say what their organizations are discussing could be "a model for communities across the country that are searching for new ways to expand the flow of high-quality reporting and thoughtful discussion in the digital age." (more...)
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