Did you know that NPQ has a well-tested but radical design for its journalism? We noticed a few months ago that our basic design, in fact, was being proposed by Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, for a new experimental media startup, now progressing.
But for NPQ, which has been publishing its daily newswire for around ten years, our design flows not just from a faith in those many students of change that work in every corner of our sector, and from a need for deep background to produce informed content, but also from a natural affinity for a more democratic, diverse and robust journalism and knowledge development process.
In short, the only way that NPQ can produce content that is current, grounded, practical, and edgy at the rate that we do is through the engagement of the very rich and broad intelligence of the sector. NPQ, in short, is a community focused on knowledge sharing and development and, to our mind, our newswire writers are at our core. Along with our other regular editorial contributors, they are what makes NPQ resonate so strongly.
Right now, NPQ is searching for more volunteer newswire writers, so we figured the best way to let you see if it might be a perfect fit for you is to share the reasons why our current writers take the time to help make sense of this complex sector. These are their responses when we asked them why they belonged to our community of embedded practitioner journalists:
Jim Schaffer says…it is a place to grow intellectually in fellowship with others and the editors.
NPQ offers select sector professionals the opportunity for great fellowship, a unique volunteer experience with the capacity to accomplish much good through the written word, the opportunity as individuals and as professionals to express for our sector what we believe to be right and best and to do so with the priceless benefit of NPQ editors perfecting our work. NPQ is a gift for both its readers and its volunteer writers.
Jeannie Fox says…it allows her to help lift up and provide traction for the most promising work of nonprofits.
As a Newswire writer, I love being a part of NPQ’s informing our nonprofit readers of trends that we are seeing around the nation. An informed sector is better able to speak to these issues and to advocate for how nonprofits contribute to the social fabric of our society. It also gives us an opportunity to highlight some of the amazing work being done by nonprofit professionals all around the country and how we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with, not less than, our counterparts in business and government.
Mary Frances Mitchner says…the act of story-choosing in itself is valuable.
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One of the many reasons I am a Newswire writer is to stay informed of the issues that impact the nonprofit sector real-time. Not surprisingly, there are many. It is also a great opportunity to keep current about best practices and, in some cases, the cautionary tales within the nonprofit universe. Finally, the topics I choose to write about are so varied, it gives me the opportunity to develop a smart take about a variety of subjects. That in and of itself is another plus, the opportunity to choose the topics to write about.
Kevin Johnson says…the discipline keeps him intellectually current and provides a way to share knowledge.
I write about areas of news or policy that I am more curious to learn more about—it’s a great excuse to explore. I sometimes take on topics of interest but that I am still developing or informing my thinking. Writing forces to me to sort out things. I sometimes discover new ideas I can apply in my work with other nonprofits. A lot of news, especially in regard to nonprofits and public policy that affects them, is too often delivered in tidbits, with little or no real context. Writing for NPQ gives me a chance to share some of the things I have learned and observed, hoping to help others understand the landscape and make better decisions for their nonprofits and the people they serve.
Danielle Holly says…it gives her a way to support and be a part of rigorous journalism of and for the nonprofit sector.
I’ve always admired NPQs thorough and critical approach to nonprofit journalism, and joined the newswire team so I wouldn’t have to admire them from afar! Nonprofit journalism is more critical—and more under-resourced—than ever, and NPQ always takes a serious and fair look at nonprofit governance, practices and the stories that help us all better understand the sector and its interplay with businesses, government and policy. During the day, I run Common Impact, an organization that helps promote effective skills-based volunteerism and pro bono. Writing for NPQ has been my commitment to pro bono for the nonprofit sector and has been incredibly expansive for me professionally. Through the research and writing, I’m able to gain a deep understanding of issues that I would otherwise only know in headlines.
Angie Wierzbicki says…newswire writing is both a productive and well supported experience.
I decided to volunteer to write for NPQ almost a year ago because I love reading industry-related articles. NPQ offers some great perspectives on current events and, as a writer, forces me to learn more about topics that I may have previously just skimmed. It also offers me a “voice” to share with my colleagues, friends and family. Ruth and the rest of the staff have also been great to “work” for and are accommodating to volunteers, while also being very professional.
Carole Levine says…she is challenged and afforded voice at the same time.
So much of what NPQ does is related to the things I care about. I enjoy the challenge of writing on a deadline, the discipline it takes to work articles into a busy schedule; I also really like choosing from the newstip list, where I can pick something that speaks to me off a limited list so I’m not overwhelmed by the news deluge. I reposted a lot of NPQ’s content anyway, before I was a writer, and it’s thrilling to repost my own take on things. It’s helped me to balance my time and allowed me to have a different kind of voice on the issues I care about. It’s also helped me to link a lot of issues and events together where I didn’t make those connections before.
We hope this provides a sense of what it takes to make a good NPQ newswire writer. It is not a longing to be a thought leader, but instead to help develop and share knowledge with others from an already strong base of nonprofit practice. The group necessarily needs diversity of all kinds—field, size and type of organization, geography, and personal demographics. It’s that mix that makes us ever more useful to an ever-expanding community of readers.