Best Practices for Nonprofit Newsrooms:
A day of hands-on sharing and learning

Sponsored by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Investigative News Network and IRE


INN Logo   Knight Foundation


This daylong program will focus on three key areas that are vital to nonprofit investigative centers: collaboration, legal issues and best practices in operations, digital technology and more. A limited number of fellowships are available. Requests should be sent to Shelby Ian ([email protected]) at the INN by end of business on Friday, May 11

Program Highlights


Time — Event

9:45 a.m.Welcome remarks

10 a.m.Collaboration: We’ll discuss best practices and successes and pitfalls. We will then break into groups organized around possible story subject-matter or data and led by facilitators with the goal that each group will walk away with a formed project that will be produced collaboratively when they return to their newsrooms.


1:30 p.m.Protect Yourself: The Online Media Legal Network leads a session that examines legal and risk-management issues and teaches news entrepreneurs how to avoid costly mistakes.

3 p.m. — Break

3:15 p.m. — Best Practices Speed Presentations: Featuring a series of short presentations provided mainly by INN peers, we will use this working session to share lessons learned from the field on a variety of topics such as membership generation, digital tools, video production, leveraging datasets, hosting an event and more. Adequate time will also be provided for members to ask questions and share their own lessons.*

Below is a list of speakers.

  • Joe Bergantino, New England Center for Investigative Reporting:

    Training as a Revenue Stream

    How to develop and market training programs that can add to your bottom line.

  • Lauren Hasler, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism:

    Tracking your Impact

    Tools for tracking your impact and other tips for recording, mapping and sharing metrics with your audience and present and potential funders.

  • Linda Jue, G.W. Williams Center for Independent Jouranlism:

    Diversity: Not Why But How

    A quick survey of some of the best practices in media diversity being employed by outlets to not only reach a wider audience and meet funders’ expectations but – more importantly – help build a more viable strategy for sustainability.

  • Laura Frank, I-News Network:

    Diversifing Revenue Sources

    When INN members and funders talk about diversifying revenue, we usually think about donated revenue vs. earned revenue. But what INN members really need are predictable sources of revenue to balance unpredictable sources.  We’ll look at a diverse set of revenue streams, then break them down into predictable and not-predictable, and talk about how to get our revenue pie on the 60-70 percent predictable side.

  • Kate Golden, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism:

    Free data tools

    You don’t have to spend big bucks to analyze big data. The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s Kate Golden will discuss Tableau Public, Google Refine and other free tools that she’s used recently for both analysis and presentation.

  • Liz Lucas, IRE/NICAR:

    Leveraging the NICAR datasets

    As we did in the previous year, INN has subscribed to NICAR for use of their complete data library for use by our member organizations in their reporting.  Liz Lucas will provide INN members with an overview of the data library and share best-practices in using it.

  • Steve Talbot, CIR:

    Reaching new audiences through YouTube

    CIR and INN recently announced the formation of the official Investigative News channel on YouTube.  Senior producer Steve Talbot will share best practices in producing compelling online video to reach new audiences with greater impact. 

  • Brant Houston, INN:

    Partnering with Public Media

    Investigative journalism centers and regional PBS and NPR stations have already had many successes and the future holds great promise. Brant Houston will share findings from his recent report on these collaborations. The presentation will include strategies and lessons gleaned from INN members.

  • Jessica Plautz, INN & Nicole Holloway, St. Louis Beacon:

    New options in CMS

    INN members have lots of options when it comes to publishing their content on the web.  We will look at two different approaches of robust digital publishing for and by INN members.

5 p.m. — Closing remarks.

*All INN members who would like to be considered for making a 7 minute presentation to their peers should contact Kevin Davis at [email protected] at your earliest convenience.