Three years after its inception, the Investigative News Network (INN) held a conference this January on ways of increasing sustainability for its members.
The conference, held at The Pocantico Center, was made possible by a generous grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and explored collaborative opportunities to develop new sources of revenue for our nonprofit member organizations.
The Fund also supported the conference in July 2009 on nonprofits that resulted in the formation of INN. As Chuck Lewis, INN co-founder and long-time investigative journalist, stated in a document ratified at the founding conference.
That we, representatives of nonprofit news organizations, gather at a time when investigative reporting, so crucial to a functioning democracy, is under threat. There is an urgent need to nourish and sustain the emerging investigative journalism ecosystem to better serve the public.
This is as true today as it was when it was first published, as journalism and the revenue streams that have sustained it for more than a century continue to erode at a staggering pace.
Today, INN is 74 nonprofit member organizations strong and growing. INN provides the membership with back-office services, education and training, and fosters editorial and revenue-generating collaborations within the Network and with outside partner organizations.
The 30 invited participants to the conference held Jan. 10 – 12, 2013 included representatives from member organizations, foundations and outside media companies that do business with nonprofits. Participants provided strategic and tactical advice to INN for future programs that increase the rate of revenue diversification and the social impact of the work of the member organizations.
As a result of this conference and ongoing initiatives including grants to be announced, INN will intensify its efforts to help member organizations become sustainable. Those efforts include leveraging the buying power of the INN; facilitating the capturing and dissemination of editorial and operational best practices both within and outside of the network; and working to raise the awareness of the importance of nonprofit newsrooms across the United States and the globe.
INN also held its annual board meeting at the Pocantico Center during the conference. Minutes of the board meeting are available to member organizations.
Attendees, pictured above (from left to right): Adam Schweigert – INN, Janet Coats – Coats2Coats/Patterson Foundation, Robert Rosenthal – Center for Investigative Reporting, Dick Tofel – ProPublica, Bill Buzenberg – Center for Public Integrity, Dave Gehring – YouTube/Google, Jon Sawyer – Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, Brant Houston – Chair of the Board, INN & Knight Chair of Investigative Reporting, Mark Horvit – Investigative Reporters & Editors, Benjamin R. Shute, Jr – Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Reg Chua – Thomson Reuters, David Donald – CPI. Middle Row (left to right): Robyn Tomlin – Digital First, Joe Bergantino – New England Center for Investigative Reporting, Margie Wolf Freivogel – St. Louis Beacon, Benoit Wirz – Knight Foundation, Sue Hale – Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Sheila Coronel – Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. Front Row (kneeling, left to right): Rusty Coats – Coats2Coats, Jacob Simas – New America Media, Mark Anthony Thomas – City Limits, Kevin Davis – CEO, INN, Clark Bell – McCormick Foundation Not shown but in attendance: Neal Shapiro – WNET, Joaquin Alvarado – CIR, Matt Stiles – NPR, Charles Lewis – Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, Greg Moyer – Scripps Networks International