Perspectives

Investigative Reporting Hits the Grassroots through Non-profit Journalism


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Investigative journalism is not the sole province of only big-city newspapers like the “New York Times” or the “Washington Post.”
Instead, it is starting to flourish at the grassroots level through the assistance of the Institute for Non-Profit News (INN), a collective of over 100 non-profit news organizations across the country. The groups are committed to transparency in government and to hold public officials accountable.
Affiliates across the country pay INN “a small fee each month in exchange for tech support; they help to negotiate deals on behalf of all members, and every year they have matching funds for member fund drives,” says Lucia Walinchus, the executive director of Eye on Ohio, the Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism.
Members also have the ability to share content from other member organizations.
Walinchus is an award-winning journalist, an author and an attorney. She often uses large data sets to research stories and is extremely adept at computer-assisted reporting. She has been published in many national publications and has made appearances on major television and cable news networks.
The scope of her reporting and investigations are wide but she is just an example of the type of reporter being attracted to non-profit journalism in 2018, says Walinchus
As the number of newspapers dwindles, the public is turning more and more to non-profit journalism to produce in-depth, long form stories that are relevant to the average citizen. These non-profits, like Eye on Ohio, bring top-flight investigative techniques to the heartland and produce stories that help define issues important to the readers.
Walinchus, for example, uses her journalism background and her law degree to decipher complex laws, regulations and financial transactions for her followers.
The mission of Eye on Ohio is: “to promote the public good by pursuing in-depth, underreported and high-impact journalism which exposes injustice and explores its consequences. Our reporting investigates the truth, holds those in power accountable, and seeks solutions.”
Examples of these types of stories and non-profit journalism can be found at http://eyeonohio.com/ and also at https://inn.org/2017/12/the-best-nonprofit-journalism-of-2017/