Kevin Davis, CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit News, argues that a key way to avoid cheaper, commoditized and less locally-targeted news content is collaboration. Larger news organizations can bring audience to the table, while smaller, nimbler organizations can serve the public through specialized reporting and a range of programming, data visualization and other data skills. The examples of effective collaboration are proliferating, he says, and the benefits serve both the media and the public.
With traditional news organizations continuing to lay off reporters in their efforts to shed costs, nonprofit newsrooms are forming to help fill the gap left when they pull back on their local, civic and investigative reporting. But many of those for-profit news businesses are failing to take advantage of or are not placing full value on nonprofit journalism.
Kevin Davis, CEO and executive director of the Investigative News Network, says that before a system of standard metrics to measure journalism’s impact can be developed, there first needs to be a clear understanding of who will be using the metrics and for what purposes. “Regardless of what metrics are developed and agreed upon, adopting repeatable methodologies and standards that can be measured objectively over time will be essential in gauging not only the impact of the organization today, but also its growth,” he says.
The Pew Research Center’s recent report on the health of nonprofit newsrooms says that many of those organizations are finding it “hard to make time for business activities.” But those that don’t will soon disappear. Investigative News Network’s Kevin Davis: “Any nonprofit news organization that doesn’t have dedicated resources in business and revenue generation will simply not survive the next few years, let alone achieve the holy grail of nonprofit businesses: sustainability.”