The Narwhal Judith Lavoie

Institute for Nonprofit News welcomes The Narwhal as sole Canadian member

The institute recognizes publications committed to transparency and independence in public interest, investigative journalism

The Narwhal has been accepted as a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News — becoming the institute’s only publisher based in Canada.

The institute — headquartered in California — is a network of nearly 200 newsrooms that produce journalism in the public interest. Members include well-established investigative journalism outlets such as ProPublica, the Center for Investigative Reporting, Mother Jones and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

“It’s an incredible honour to be named among so many non-profit heavyweights, doing some of the most important investigative journalism in the United States,” Carol Linnitt, co-founder and managing editor of The Narwhal, said.

All members of the Institute for Nonprofit News produce high-quality original news reporting and adhere to standards of editorial independence and financial transparency. In 2018, the institute’s members had a total estimated staff of about 3,000 — including nearly 2,200 journalists — and combined annual revenue approaching $350 million.

But the members also adhere to a brand of journalism that is increasingly rare in today’s media world — journalism that isn’t profit-driven.

While the non-profit news sector has flourished south of the border, there are few examples of thriving non-profit news outlets in Canada — in part due to differences in charitable law. In the U.S., funding journalism has long been viewed as a charitable activity, which has enabled large-scale philanthropic support for non-profit news.

In last month’s budget, Canada’s federal government announced a plan to allow eligible news organizations to earn qualified donee status, which will enable them to issue tax receipts and receive gifts from Canadian registered charities.

Launched in May 2018, The Narwhal receives support from more than 1,000 readers. In our first year, we have won four Canadian Online Publishing Awards and been nominated for three awards from the Canadian Association of Journalists.  

“As a publication that relies on donations from our readers, The Narwhal has had to reinvigorate that broken relationship between journalists and their audience,” Linnitt said. “The non-profit challenge is one that inherently drives us to reconnect with our readers to deliver the news in deeper and more meaningful ways.”

The Institute for Nonprofit News has a long history of supporting media outlets that cover critical but controversial topics like climate change, immigration, criminal justice and money and influence. The institute’s members consistently report on stories that are undercovered in traditional and legacy media outlets.

The Narwhal’s team of award-winning journalists are playing an important role in revitalizing public interest journalism in Canada, where non-profit outlets are few and far between.

Our investigations have revealed information about orphaned oil and gas wells, public funds given to secretive numbered companies, muzzling of scientists in the Trudeau era, companies escaping fines for breaking environmental laws and how mining companies avoid paying taxes and fees to the communities they operate in.

“It’s a privilege to be supported by Canadians to do this kind of impactful public interest journalism,” Linnitt said.

New title

You’ve read all the way to the bottom of this article. That makes you some serious Narwhal material.

And since you’re here, we have a favour to ask. Our independent, ad-free journalism is made possible because the people who value our work also support it (did we mention our stories are free for all to read, not just those who can afford to pay?).

As a non-profit, reader-funded news organization, our goal isn’t to sell advertising or to please corporate bigwigs — it’s to bring evidence-based news and analysis to the surface for all Canadians. And at a time when most news organizations have been laying off reporters, we’ve hired five journalists over the past year.

Not only are we filling a void in environment coverage, but we’re also telling stories differently — by centring Indigenous voices, by building community and by doing it all as a people-powered, non-profit outlet supported by more than 3,500 members

The truth is we wouldn’t be here without you. Every single one of you who reads and shares our articles is a crucial part of building a new model for Canadian journalism that puts people before profit.

We know that these days the world’s problems can feel a *touch* overwhelming. It’s easy to feel like what we do doesn’t make any difference, but becoming a member of The Narwhal is one small way you truly can make a difference.

If you believe news organizations should report to their readers, not advertisers or shareholders, please become a monthly member of The Narwhal today for any amount you can afford.

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