Distribution/Syndication Agreements

INN has made agreements for its members to get third-party distribution in their areas through partnerships with Smart News, Patch, Spotlight, News Break and Nextdoor. Jonathan Kealing, INN’s chief network officer, explains how these content distribution opportunities work: 

“All of these distribution deals seek to help members bring in new audiences who, hopefully, will help them become more sustainable over time. And we’re always especially excited when we can pair a distribution opportunity with a revenue stream, to reinforce members’ business operations.”

One partnership in particular has helped members generate substantial revenue when Patch editors republished content they found locally relevant. According to statistics provided by Patch, the five most successful publishers on Patch generated over 515,000 page views, combined, via Patch distribution in the first three months of 2020. Because Patch pays INN members $0.01 per page view, those five publishers generated a combined total of over $5,000 in just three months. The five: Chalkbeat, CalMatters, IndepthNH, Texas Tribune and Maryland Matters.

While $5,000 is a relatively small revenue stream, IndepthNH editor Nancy West said her publication had seen big benefits.

“I am thrilled. I took a few minutes to sign up with Patch.com. It was the only effort I had to put out, besides opening their check every month,” said West. “The total for the first three full months that I worked with Patch.com was almost $1,200, and I believe that will increase as readers look for in-depth reporting. Patch.com has a good reputation in NH and we have found new readers who then come to our website. It has been great — and I highly recommend the partnership.”

News Break and Smart News refer traffic back to member sites, exposing new readers to members’ sponsors, donor messaging, newsletter signups and more. News Break also provides an analytics dashboard, which members can use in their funding reports to showcase the additional scope of their reaching.

Spotlight, which also provides compensation to publishers directly, further helped INN members by aggregating all COVID-19 coverage automatically. INN members were allowed to republish any COVID-19 story in this collection. Spotlight also marketed INN members on its platform and amplified INN members’ content across social media.

Shortly after starting with Nextdoor in INN’s newest distribution partnership, member Voice of San Diego was already seeing success.

“Having our content shared in Nextdoor’s local news feed has been a great way to engage with our community,” said VOSD engagement editor Megan Wood. “We’re interacting with new readers that we may not typically reach on other social media platforms.”

With Nextdoor and News Break, INN staff was able to add members to the platforms automatically, providing members the ability to opt out, rather than devoting staff time to signing up with a new platform, Kealing said. The INN member provides an RSS feed, and Nextdoor automatically takes content into its platform.


Information from Jonathan Kealing, INN’s chief network officer. Members interested in content distribution opportunities can reach out to Kealing at jonathan@inn.org to find out more or get connected.