By NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org
I’m a little late wrapping up our getting-to-know us stories for InDepthNH.org’s fourth anniversary.
But I want you to know who we are and how we think we can help add vigorous news reporting in New Hampshire when so many news outlets have been forced to cut staff here and across the country.
We are members of an organization called the Institute for Nonprofit News, which is considered the gold standard umbrella organization for nonprofit news.
I was reminded of the importance of INN in InDepthNH.org’s brief history during an INN board meeting in New York that I attended remotely this week as I was fortunate to have been elected to its board of directors last year.
Coincidentally, INN is celebrating its own anniversary, 10 years of fabulous growth with members big like ProPublica and small like InDepthNH.org.
Without INN, I doubt IndepthNH.org would have grown the way we have in four years. The mission of INN is to help us grow and to that end, I have taken at least two webinars a month over these years learning the business end of news and especially nonprofit news.
INN experts taught me how to write a business plan, helped build our website, showed me how to do search engine optimization and fiscally sponsored us until we received our own 501C3 IRS determination.
INN also became the go-to organization when major funders such as the Democracy Fund and the Knight Foundation and others created NewsMatch, which provides dollar for dollar matches for funds raised by qualifying INN members, usually up to $25,000 from individual donors, from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31.
To be eligible for NewsMatch, nonprofit news outlets must be members of INN and meet the application standards of both INN and NewsMatch.
InDepthNH.org is the only INN member in New Hampshire and the only news outlet eligible for NewsMatch in the state again this year, our third year.
The major funders and members have looked to INN as the hope for the future of news, with executive director Sue Cross’s goal of putting 20,000 more reporters to work across the country in the next decade to help make up for some of the devastating losses.
Cross is inspiring in the workload she carries and the knowledge and inspiration she generously shares. When I joined INN four years ago, we had about 120 members and now there are more than 240 member nonprofit news outlets across the country.
Cross left the Associated Press in 2014 as senior vice president and has run her own communications firm as well as previously being a finalist to be director of University of Southern California Annenberg School of Journalism.
I want you to get to know InDepthNH.org more and more so I will keep celebrating our fourth anniversary for a little while longer. But I will start making it more clear as I do that our partner Institute for Nonprofit News of Encino, Calif., is one of the big reasons for our success.
InDepthNH.org’s mission: We believe that vigorous, in-depth news coverage focused on government and public servants is the bedrock of a thriving democracy.
We promise to hold government accountable. Our goal is to foster civil debate and spur citizens to action in a way that will make government more responsive to its citizens.
Happy 10th to INN, and Happy 4th to the terrific people in New Hampshire who have shown what real journalists can achieve when we get to keep on working.
Among them are Bob Charest, Paula Tracy, Garry Rayno, Roger Wood, Mike Marland, Montana West, Monica West, John Harrigan, Susan Dromey Heeter, George Liset, Mary Helen Gillespie, Bob Lapree and Wayne King in no particular order.
We love working for you New Hampshire.
Thanks to you all and the many folks who hit the donate button or mail checks to make sure we thrive.
Thank you and see you for NewsMatch 2019!