None of us harbors any illusions about the grubby logistics of building a new institution. The staff sizes, annual budgets, and editorial capacities of the various nonprofit publishers in the U.S. vary widely, as does, frankly, the quality and quantity of their work and the actual extent to which they do investigative reporting. Newsgathering practices and standards of some sort must be established, a thankless job that the membership committee, chaired by Brant Houston, is handling.
Scott Lewis, the co-founder and CEO of Voice of San Diego, is the chairman of the sustainability subcommittee, which is conducting a basic assessment of member organizations’ needs and capabilities. What are the best practices and shared strategies for fundraising, generating earned revenue, human resources, IT, general and liability insurance, corporate governance, etc.? I chair the content dissemination subcommittee, which includes an assessment of platforms, technologies, corporate and legal structures, and potential editorial collaborations. Bill Buzenberg is, among other things, spearheading the effort to obtain planning grants from a few foundations to support these activities over the next six to twelve months. The Center for Public Integrity is serving, as it did for the Pocantico conference, as the temporary fiscal agent for this burgeoning network until a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organization is formed.
With the new Investigative News Network, we will have, at the least, the first broad-based, nonprofit news publishers association, its members collaborating administratively, editorially, and financially. At the most, well, use your imagination.