Northeast News transitions to nonprofit

By Abby Hoover

On May 2, 2022, the Northeast News began a new chapter with longtime community partners at the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

The free weekly newspaper, which first began delivering to Northeast residents in 1932, will continue its mission, now as a nonprofit publication.

“Local journalism is an essential and valuable public service, and we are pursuing non-profit status for this very reason,” Managing Editor Abby Hoover said. “We want to continue doing this work because our community deserves it.”

Effective May 2, 2022, The Northeast News will operate out of the Economic Growth Gallery (EGG), an event space and small business incubator at 2659 Independence Avenue, operated by the Northeast Chamber of Commerce.

“The Northeast Chamber is excited to share the EGG space with The Northeast News,” said Bobbi Baker-Hughes, president and CEO of the Chamber.The EGG is for art and small business, and The Northeast News is art in journalism, and we’re excited to share that space with yet another form of creativity.”

The Northeast News has been free to the community for decades, keeping residents informed on local government, education, crime, development, social services and neighborhood events. Because The Northeast News has not charged a subscription fee for local delivery, local advertisers have kept the paper in business.

The community paper has seen its fair share of struggles over the decades in business, surviving world wars, recessions, and COVID-19, thanks to loyal advertisers and readers.

In 2021, the paper faced closure when its struggling small businesses pulled their ads to save money amid the pandemic. The Northeast News published a blank front page, and asked inside the March 24 issue for readers to support them. An outpouring of support – from neighbors, friends and strangers across the country – and national media attention bolstered the publication.

Throughout it all, the small team worked hard to stay afloat and continue reporting for the community they are invested in. Each of The Northeast News’ employees is a resident of Northeast Kansas City, spread across Pendleton Heights, Scarritt Renaissance and Indian Mound.

Now, The Northeast News will operate under Historic Northeast Media, Inc., a registered, Missouri non-profit corporation.  

Services may expand in the near future, but for now, the printed Northeast News, the Northeast Newscast, and all social media platforms will remain active. The Northeast News plans to continue working with its loyal print and multimedia advertisers, and monthly sponsored content for our nonprofit partners.

The success of other local non-profit media outlets like Kansas City PBS and Flatland, The Beacon and KCUR was key in the decision to make this transition. News for public benefit is gaining momentum across the nation.

“The nonprofit journalism world is expanding exponentially and The Northeast News is now in a much better position to expand our capabilities of news gathering and delivery in the Historic Northeast community,” said long-time Northeast News Publisher Michael Bushnell. “The move also allows for greater collaboration capabilities with other area nonprofits, something we’ve been looking forward to for quite a while.” 

Northeast Kansas City is a historically underserved community. With a diverse population of families who have been here for decades, immigrants and refugees, and those who have invested in this corner of the city in recent years, The Northeast News works to unify neighbors.

Some of The Northeast News team’s goals in the coming months and years include restarting Spanish translation of the paper, diversifying staff, creating a more sustainable business model, and creating avenues for community feedback. Much of this will be accomplished through grant funding available to nonprofit news organizations.

“This new chapter will allow The Northeast News to continue serving the Historic Northeast neighborhoods, keeping our neighbors informed and connected,” Hoover said. “We are excited to continue this work and improve where we can, and thank the community for all their support over the past 90 years.”

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