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During a time where journalism, on the whole, has declined, visual journalism has been hit the hardest. Over the last 10 years, the number of visual journalists has declined by 52%, more than any other newsroom staff members.

Without visual journalism, there’s no representation of the communities local newsrooms cover. It’s harder to make an emotional connection that ties a reader to the triumphs and turmoils of someone else’s life.

Now, picture this: A media landscape with consistently powerful visual journalism that represents all communities respectfully. That’s what INN member CatchLight is envisioning with its program, CatchLight Local.

“Images are shared language,” said CatchLight CEO Elodie Mailliet Storm during INN’s Dec. 3 webinar, CatchLight Local: New Model for Sustainable Visual Journalism with CatchLight and INN. “Yet media organizations in recent years have not invested in visuals.” …

By Sue Cross, executive director and CEO | Institute for Nonprofit News

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SkyPics Studio/

We’re awash this year in a sea of propaganda and misinformation. Fake news sites, false reports, news-like stories selected and spun not to make us smarter, but to make us hate, to steer us toward supporting someone else’s cause.

Recent reports sound a tsunami alert to the rising tide of the fake and the false. According to The New York Times, at least 1,300 political propaganda sites have sprung up — mimicking local news but serving up spin directed by PR and political operatives far from the hometowns named on their front pages — while false reports written in Spanish are flooding social media to pit Latinos and Blacks against each other. Facebook fiddled with the algorithms that determine what you get to see in your news feed, boosting conservative news and diminishing progressive sources, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. …

By Fran Scarlett, Chief Knowledge Officer, INN

I left journalism 12 years ago, one of many “leavers” who had become disenchanted with the industry. I came back four years ago to join the Institute for Nonprofit News as its Chief Knowledge Officer in charge of programming and events that help INN members learn from experts and from each other as nonprofit news leaders. I was excited to see journalism presented as a public service — a different kind of journalism that is intentional about serving everyone, not just the information needs of the few. …

To add to the many struggles of life during a pandemic, the collapse, or absence, of local news means that too many communities do not have access to the information they need to combat COVID-19. According to the Brookings Institution, more than half of U.S. counties with COVID cases — 57 percent — had no daily newspaper as of April 2020. This situation is especially prevalent in rural areas and for communities of color.

Across the country, some 1,800 communities exist in these “news deserts,” with zero local news sources. And resources are dwindling in areas where local news sources do exist. Scores of publications have shut down; hundreds more are on the edge. …

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Elizabeth Hambuchen / Mississippi Today

Originally posted on NewsMatch’s Medium page by Kip Dooley

This month, NewsMatch kicks off its fifth funding cycle with the goal of helping scores of nonprofit newsrooms continue to inform their communities and provide in-depth coverage of critical social issues. Results from the 2019 NewsMatch cycle, published for the first time today, show that it was the most successful to date, with an initial pool of $3.37 million in philanthropic funds leveraged into a $43.5 million payout — a nearly 1,200% return on philanthropic investments that infused much-needed cash into independent newsrooms just as the coronavirus disrupted business as usual.

Credible, local news is more critical than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to be a vital resource for voters during the 2020 election season. Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) members have found new and innovative ways to serve their communities during the current crisis: Outlier Media (Detroit, Mich.) has been providing vital health information via text message to residents without internet access; Chalkbeat (Colo.) created food maps for families that rely on school lunches; and countless others like CalMatters (Calif.) and East Lansing Info (East Lansing, Mich.) …

By: Sue Cross, executive director and CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit News.

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Police and firefighters. Health care providers. Food producers. News reporters?

When the federal government included news publishers and journalists in its list of “essential workers” critical to public safety in the coronavirus crisis, it reflected what people looking for trustworthy news know now more than ever: Reporting the news is a public service.

On May 5, the folks behind GivingTuesday launched #GivingTuesdayNow — a special day of giving to support nonprofits during the pandemic — and for the first time they suggested that people give to nonprofit newsrooms across the United States. …

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People gather outside Shaw’s Metro PCS in support of the store being able to crank go-go again. Photo credit: Rachel Kurzius / DCist

The MetroPCS store in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. is well-known locally for the go-go music blasting outside its doors for more than 20 years. When rumors that the store was shutting off the music resounded on social media in early April (hashtag #DontMuteDC), the DCist staff knew they had a story to pursue.

Reporter Rachel Kurzius confirmed with the store owner that its parent company, T-Mobile, had instructed him to stop playing music outside in response to a complaint from a nearby resident. She said the story generated “tremendous traffic” to the DCist site, and was amplified by follow-ups, including interviews on the WAMU public radio station, which owns DCist. …

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Series illustration by Mariano Santillan of Carolina Public Press

North Carolina was the only state with the “rape law loophole” — legally, consent couldn’t be taken back once given. And if a survivor were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the assault wouldn’t be considered a rape. Now, thanks to a Carolina Public Press-led collaboration among 11 TV, radio, digital and print newsrooms across North Carolina, laws that opponents called “archaic” have been reformed.

The story originated when Carolina Public Press Executive Director and Editor Angie Newsome heard in a casual conversation that a district attorney wasn’t prosecuting any sexual assault cases. She wanted to know if that was true — and, if so, whether it was happening elsewhere in the state. …

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Some of the seniors City Limits reporters spoke with. Top row, left to right: Rena Harrison, Stephen Warner, Gwen Sabria; 2nd row: Jayanthi Athukorala, Luz Nydia Salazar, MIke Chong; Bottom row: Adeline Mandell, Hilda Alers, Columbus Smith. Photo credit: Marc Bussanich

What started as a private interest of City Limits Executive Editor Jarrett Murphy turned into journalism with real impact: helping New York City seniors advocate for themselves and win an increase in funding of senior centers.

The topic made sense for the mission of a news organization that has made covering climate, housing affordability and transit a priority. All those topics have relevance to New York’s population, aging faster than ever in modern history. By 2030, it is estimated that 20% of New York’s population, or more than 1.7 million residents, will be over 60 years old.

“We saw that there was a big change coming. It was kind of inevitable,” said Murphy. …

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“States tackle immigration on their home turfs” was a project reported entirely by Meryl Kornfield, an IRW intern. Graphic designed by Kelly Martin/IRW.

University of Florida 2019 graduate Meryl Kornfield knew what she was looking for in her post-graduation journalism internship. She was ready to dive into an investigative project.

Kornfield had experience with data projects and covering the Florida Legislature through past internships at WUFT News and the South Florida Sun Sentinel and during her time at student paper The Independent Florida Alligator.

“I just never really had the chance to grab a huge project because they had me working dailies and doing breaking news, which I think is pretty typical for beginners,” she said. …


Institute for Nonprofit News

INN strengthens and supports more than 250 news organizations in a new kind of media network: nonprofit, nonpartisan and dedicated to public service.

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