WWNO
9:59 am
Fri July 27, 2012

University of New Orleans to launch nonprofit newsroom

The University of New Orleans announced a plan to create a new nonprofit, multimedia newsroom today, in partnership with WWNO. The newsroom, to be featured online at NewOrleansReporter.org, is intended to produce in-depth local reporting on issues of vital interest to the New Orleans community.

NewOrleansReporter.org will generate online, mobile and radio content, said University officials, and is intended to create a sustainable model for nonprofit journalism in greater New Orleans for decades to come.

“This initiative demonstrates the University of New Orleans’ commitment to our community,” said UNO President Peter J. Fos. “We are an innovative, engaged and solution-oriented institution, and we are thrilled to be incubating this project. Public universities should be beacons of light in their communities, and we feel NewOrleansReporter.org will help illuminate the issues that are important to the people of the greater New Orleans area.”

NewOrleansReporter.org and WWNO will provide original reporting on key beats, including public accountability and government, business, education, criminal justice, the environment, and arts and culture. In addition to original reporting, NewOrleansReporter.org will feature and link to other local, national and world news; content will be delivered in across platforms, including web, mobile, social media and radio.

Built on a public radio funding model, the new service will be made possible through the support of the community, including voluntary donations from radio listeners and website users; corporate sponsors; and foundation funders and major donors. WWNO General Manager Paul Maassen will manage WWNO radio and NewOrleansReporter.org, coordinating digital and broadcast content in a shared newsroom on UNO’s campus, with reporters producing content for both online and radio formats.

“This is an exciting opportunity to converge digital, mobile and broadcast together in a multiplatform newsroom for New Orleans,” said Maassen. “We are grateful for the support the community has shown for this initiative.”

NewOrleansReporter.org will be “open source,” meaning all of its content will be available, free of charge, to other local and national news outlets.

UNO is launching NewOrleansReporter.org and WWNO’s expanded newsroom in partnership with NPR, which is providing consultation to WWNO around technology infrastructure and online revenue generation, as well as training to support the rapid deployment of a multimedia newsroom.

“NPR is honored to join with the University of New Orleans and WWNO as they launch this ground-breaking news service,” said NPR President and CEO Gary E. Knell. “We are excited about the opportunity to provide national support for this critically important local effort to serve the public in creative and new ways.”

Initial community engagement and fundraising support will come from Greater New Orleans Inc., the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region, and the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

“In the wake of the most dynamic time in New Orleans' recent history, we need as many diverse journalistic voices as possible. NewOrleansReporter.org is going to provide the community with an authentic voice that will allow our resurgence to be chronicled for all to see,” said Nolan Rollins, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans.

NewOrleansReporter.org will seek to coordinate with other local news sources and organizations to maximize existing resources and encourage the spread of high-quality reporting. Initial content partners include NolaVie and The Lens.

"Through this new initiative, we're pleased to extend our ongoing partnership with WWNO to provide news about the extraordinary work that nonprofits and other civil society organizations are doing to transform our region,” said Albert Ruesga, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

“A well-informed community has proven to be essential to the transformation of New Orleans,” said Suzanne Mestayer, chair of the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region. “This commitment to comprehensive coverage of issues facing our citizens and local government will support our work to improve the quality of life in our city.”

NewOrleansReporter.org will launch by the end of the year, says WWNO’s Maassen. Members of the community can sign up to become founding subscribers, and for e-mail alerts.

“Greater New Orleans is now one of the most innovative regions in America," said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “NewOrleansReporter.org will serve to not only provide high-quality news to the people and media of our community, but also to demonstrate to the world that New Orleans and Louisiana deserve their recent recognition as a top location for digital media in the United States.”