The Elevator Pitch For Mission-Driven News Nonprofits

You’ve heard this premise before: You’re standing in front of an elevator and, as the doors open, in front of you is the key individual that you’ve tried for months to get on the phone. Once you’re in the elevator you realize you have only 30 to 60 seconds to make the right impression and get him or her to take note. While this scenario may not play itself out quite as dramatically in the real world, as nonprofit news executives we often find ourselves in situations where we have to articulate what we do, why we do it, and why anyone else should care – and we have to do it quickly. There are many articles available to business executives, entrepreneurs and sales professionals with tips on how to deliver the perfect elevator pitch (read here, here and here for a few examples). However, a nonprofit leader has the added complexity of having to articulate the unique qualities and value of his or her mission-driven organization to a wider range of constituents including foundations, corporate underwriters, advertisers and, of course, members of the audience that you serve. Continue Reading

Five Steps to Pave the Way Toward Collaborative Revenue

Reporter Jacob Kushner had found a good story. The recent University of Wisconsin graduate was freelancing in post-earthquake Haiti, a place he knew from studies and visits while in college. Kushner had learned that one out of two Haitians being deported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency were taken straight to Haitian jails, although they had not been convicted of violating Haitian law. Many had only minor convictions in the United States. Jail conditions were bad enough that at least one deportee died. Continue Reading

How Open Should Nonprofits Be with Community Supporters About Money?

Ask early and ask strategically. As journalists, we’re good at applying this concept when it comes to asking for information, but less so when it comes to asking for the money that will keep our nonprofit shops operating. Like a lot of my peers new to running this brand of newsroom, I’m getting better at fundraising, and I’m always looking for object lessons. I think I’ve found one in the recent shutdown of The Florida Independent and the year-end layoffs at voiceofsandiego. The message from readers in each case was the same: “Why didn’t you tell us you were in trouble? Continue Reading


Five Trends to Inspire your Staff from ISOJ

For two days, journalists and academics gathered in Austin, Texas this past weekend for the 13th International Symposium on Online Journalism hosted at the University of Texas at Austin. This unique event featured panels on the latest trends happening in the news industry around the globe. Continue Reading