The Investigative News Network has announced eight winners of the second round of its INNovation Fund grants, for a total of $226,020.

The fund was established with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to spur business innovation and experimentation in nonprofit newsrooms that are focused on audience engagement and long-term sustainability.

“This second round of INNovation grant winners reflects our continued emphasis on business experimentation in the nonprofit and public media space that is both replicable and scalable in the future,” said Kevin Davis, CEO and executive director of the Investigative News Network. “Whether its a speaker’s bureau, a film festival or a social network for content syndication, each of these new projects has the potential to generate impact and benefit for the entire nonprofit news sector.”

“One of the hardest jobs we have as a regional 501(c)(3) nonprofit online news organization is building relationships with our readers throughout Western North Carolina,” said Carolina Public Press Executive Director Angie Newsome. “2015 is going to be an exciting year, because we’re not only continuing and expanding our News Exchange series, we’re also launching an event series called Newsmakers. It will focus on the top issues facing the region by bringing the region’s journalists and those in the news together for a nonpartisan public conversation that residents can participate in, too. We’re grateful that the Investigative News Network and the Knight Foundation supports our efforts to make real connections with readers and supporters throughout our region.”

Carolina Public Press’s first Newsmaker event, on the future of the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests — a portion of which can be found in nearly every Western North Carolina county — will be held on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, at Handmade in America, 125 S Lexington Ave #101, in Asheville. An invitation-only breakfast for Carolina Public Press donors and contributors will be held from 8:30-9:30 a.m. The forum — which will be open and free to the public — will be held from 9:30-10:30 a.m.

According to the Investigative News Network, eight finalists were chosen from a pool of 48 proposals, each describing the project, the goals, projected results, and explanation of how the money would be used. The chosen projects vary from event journalism to mobile app development, most with the aim to increase audience reach and engagement.

“Each of the winners has already taken important steps towards business development and newsroom innovation—putting them on a path to sustainability,” said Marie Gilot, Knight Foundation program officer for journalism. “The INNovation Fund will help build on that momentum further allowing them to test and experiment with new tools to grow revenue and engage audiences.”

The eight winners are:

100Reporters — $35,000 to launch an Investigative Film Festival in Washington, DC, focusing on films about investigative journalism or investigative journalists.

Carolina Public Press — $25,000 to organize a series of in-person News Exchange events to reach potential readers, subscribers and policymakers in 18 rural Blue Ridge mountain counties.

Citizens Campaign — $35,000 to launch a Community Day in Paterson, NJ to heighten interest in the Paterson Press, their local online investigative news outlet.

High Country News — $30,000 to expand HCN University, partnering with colleges and universities nationwide to integrate HCN’s content into science, economics and environment courses.

inewsource — $28,404 to create one ‘virtual voice’ content syndication and distribution program among up to 90 community news outlets in the San Diego area.

The Lens — $7,500 to expand a Speakers Bureau to bring the Lens reporters face-to-face with current and potential subscribers in New Orleans.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism — $35,000 to organize a series of ‘Art + Journalism’ forums/fundraisers statewide, showcasing their stories on water issues with representative sculpture which will be auctioned.

WKAR-AM/FM/TV — $30,116 to develop a mobile app around their long-running ‘Off the Record’ public affairs show to attract more viewers ages 18-29.

More in-depth information about each grantee and project is available at

Launched in 2011, Carolina Public Press is a nonprofit online news service providing Western North Carolina with unbiased, in-depth and investigative reporting as well as educational opportunities to journalists, students and others. An award-winning news organization, Carolina Public Press’s unique reporting may be found at and through content-sharing partnerships with news organizations across North Carolina — including The Charlotte Observer, WUNC, WCQS, WLOS-TV and others. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Carolina Public Press is supported by the generous donations of its readers, sponsors and local, statewide and national foundations. Carolina Public Press is a member of the N.C. Press Association and the Investigative News Network.

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Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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