The Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) released an in-depth report that shows the nonprofit news industry has been growing rapidly over the past decade, and continues to offer growth opportunities for publishers.
Why it matters:
Nonprofit news sites largely emerged as a way to fill information gaps left by cutbacks in traditional media organisations. This INN Index report shows that nonprofit news is not only experiencing good growth in reach and revenue, but that it is filling a tremendous need in communities across the United States.
Key findings of the INN Index:
The report, which was compiled from a detailed questionnaire completed by 88 INN member outlets, showed:
- Revenue growth. More than half of news organizations surveyed generated $500,000 or more in revenue in 2017, with a third generating $1 million or more. This is a vast improvement over survey results from 2015.
- A laser-focus on public interest journalism. Nonprofits focus on original and often explanatory reporting, and 40% of nonprofit news outlets are investigative in nature. Single-subject news outlets are one of the fastest-growing categories.
In this story written by Stefanie Murray, director of the Center for Cooperative Media in New Jersey, she focuses on four nonprofit news organisations currently in the state: NJ Spotlight, Civic Story, Delaware Currents and Shelterforce. Each of these organisations has carved out its own unique niche in topics including public policy, civic and creative growth, river watershed and affordable housing. While Murray writes that all are doing excellent work, more are needed.
The Center for Cooperative Media exists to serve New Jersey residents by growing and strengthening local journalism. It studies the constantly shifting landscape for media in New Jersey, keeping a close pulse on the news ecosystem there. Murray notes that the state has been losing journalists steadily over the past decade, and so support for news entrepreneurs is vital.
The bottom line:
There is a huge opportunity for nonprofit start-ups in New Jersey — especially when it comes to single-subject outlets. The INN Index findings bode well for potential new nonprofit news and investigative journalism, in New Jersey and well beyond.