Louisville, Kentucky News Outlet becoming a Nonprofit Organization

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New model positions Insider Louisville for long-term growth

Insider Louisville has become a trusted source of information for our loyal readers. Now, with the support of those readers, we will be able to broaden our mission of producing useful, engaging news about critical issues.

Today, Insider Louisville — the city’s digital-first news organization — is transitioning to a nonprofit model to expand its mission of delivering powerful journalism on cornerstone topics such as the local economy, education, health, government and culture.

With this change, Insider Louisville will become a member-supported, independent 501(c)(3) organization and continue to deliver breaking and in-depth local news seven days a week. Readers will be notified of the change today and invited to become supporting members. Insider Louisville, however, will remain a free service with no paywall blocking content from non-members.

Insider Louisville joins a nascent movement of organizations across the country producing local online news through a mix of memberships, philanthropic support, corporate sponsorships and advertising. The model has been successfully adopted by other news entities including the Texas Tribune, MinnPost, Honolulu Civil Beat, Voice of San Diego, City Limits in New York and Rivard Report in San Antonio.

“Former print journalists like myself have joined this nonprofit revolution in communities across the country — it’s a little scary, but encouraging and it’s happening fast,” said Mickey Meece, who joined Insider in 2016 as managing editor after 13 years at The New York Times.

“In the last five years, Insider Louisville has become a trusted source of information for our loyal readers,” Meece added. “Now, with the support of those readers, we will be able to broaden our mission of producing useful, engaging news about critical issues.”

Today, Insider Louisville has more than 150,000 monthly readers from its daily newsletters, Twitter and Facebook followers, website visitors and those who search for local news. It employs five dedicated reporters and editors plus a robust group of quality contributors. With the transition to nonprofit status, the editorial team plans to triple in size over the next few years.

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, cities have lost more than half of their local journalists in the last 15 years. The digital revolution has shuttered many newsrooms, while social media platforms have overthrown traditional advertising.

“Our readers are among the most engaged and educated people in Louisville. We’re solely focused on producing even more compelling journalism to serve them,” says Jon Pyles, COO of Insider Louisville. “We’ve carefully studied all the factors, and we’re confident that with a strong, committed base of public support, Insider Louisville will be a successful as an independent nonprofit news organization.”

Insider Louisville will continue its relationships with current advertisers, and will increase efforts to generate revenue from sponsorships, as well as grants and philanthropic support. All revenues received after expenses will flow back into supporting and expanding the newsroom.

“We view this as a critically important social shift that needs to happen in our city and throughout the nation,” says Tom Cottingham, CEO of Insider Louisville. “Local news is essential to an empowered citizenry. Louisville has a chance to raise the level of civic engagement in our community. And Insider’s pledge is to provide essential, unbiased reporting that will illuminate the most important issues impacting our community.”

Founded in 2012, Insider Louisville has been funded to date with investments from civic leaders including David Jones Jr., chairman of Chrysalis Ventures and the Insider Louisville board of directors. Referencing the Washington Post tagline, Jones says: “Democracy dies in darkness. Louisville’s lost more than half of its paid local reporters in recent years, and our city can’t thrive if we don’t know what’s going on. As a community-owned resource, Insider Louisville will focus on filling this gap. We’re marrying the best traditions and practices of public-interest journalism with digital media’s reach and flexibility. We think the results will be exciting and meaningful for our readers.”

A restructuring of Insider Louisville’s board of directors adds three new members: Ed Manassah, former Courier-Journal publisher and executive director of the Institute for Media, Culture and Ethics at Bellarmine University; Lopa Mehrotra, a social entrepreneur and non-profit executive; and Moses Icyishaka, an associate with impact investment firm Access Ventures. Original members Jones and Cottingham will remain on the board.

Insider Louisville staff have earned a variety of local journalism awards and have been cited by national media. The outlet has grown in status as one of the most reliable and comprehensive local news sources, leading in local coverage of the University of Louisville’s administration and athletics department misconduct, the city’s growing opioid crisis, poverty, health inequity, public education, gun violence and national immigration policy. At the same time, Insider Louisville has emerged as the go-to source for news on local and state government, the bourbon industry, tourism, infrastructure, economic development and the arts.

Visit InsiderLouisville.com for more information or contact:
Jenny Recktenwald
Strategic Communications Consultant
502.994.9167
jrecktenwald(at)outlook.com

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