Non-Profit Newspapers

Goals

To understand local nonprofit newspapers in the US.

Early Findings

  • The Institute for Nonprofit News has 209 members. Not all of these are newspapers but most are in some form.
  • Interestingly, in 2018, INN only had 165 members, so it has grown substantially in recent months.
  • "To be a member of INN, an organization must be organized as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or be fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) (such as INN). It also must be transparent about funding sources and produce investigative and/or public-service reporting."
  • Between 2010-2015 (the latest available statistics), 6,568 organizations donated over $1.8 billion to nonprofit media outlets in the US. Around of half this was received by PBS and NPR, but 4.5% (or $80 million) went to local nonprofit news organizations.
  • The biggest states with active local nonprofit news outlets are Texas, Minnesota, Illinois and California.
  • The newly-established The City has a $4 million annual budget. At his current rate, it will run out of money in 2.5 years if donations do not continue.
  • Bloomberg states there are "around" 200 local nonprofit news outlets, employing around 2,200 journalists.
  • Some nonprofit newspapers are sustainable, which implies the majority are not - yet. ProPublica and The Texas Tribune both increased their revenue last year.
  • INN found that, despite this, only around 10 nonprofits news outlets closed last year.
  • Funding tends to come from organized rounds, small donations from readers, large philanthropist donations, funding from charitable organizations and coalitions with other nonprofits as part of much larger funding drives.

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