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The American Independent News Network is a nonprofit network of local news sites centered on government and politics.
The network was founded by David S. Bennahum in 2006 as the Center for Independent Media, changing its name in 2010. It began with the New Journalist Pilot Program in Colorado and Minnesota, with 17 reporters participating. In 2007, the center began expanding to other areas, adding Iowa, Michigan, Washington, D.C., New Mexico and Florida.
It underwent layoffs in 2008 and 2010, the latter of which included the shuttering or downsizing of its ambitious New Mexico Independent and Washington Independent sites. Bennahum cited the rapidly growing staffs and the lack of long-term major grant givers as the reasons for the cuts. It also closed the Colorado Independent in 2013, though that site was reborn as an independent site later that year.
The organization appeared to be in hiatus as of early 2014.
The network has raised $11.5 million from numerous donors and foundations since its inception. As of 2010, it had a network-wide budget of about $2.3 million with a news staff of 31. Bennahum’s goal is for the network to earn more of its revenue from advertising, events and sponsorships, with more than half of its funding still coming from grants.
Spot.Us is a journalism crowdfunding project in which users can donate money to pay for the costs of specific stories they would like to see covered. Spot.Us was founded in 2008 by David Cohn and launched through a $340,000 Knight News Challenge grant. It was acquired in 2011 by the Public Insight Network, a division…