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MinnPost is a nonprofit news site based in Minneapolis, Minn.
The site was launched in 2007 by Joel Kramer, a former editor and publisher at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, to reach civic leaders and those interested in public policy. Its initial $1.1 million in funding was provided predominantly by local donors (including Kramer himself), along with the Knight Foundation, which provided a $250,000 grant. (MinnPost has since received another $205,000 from the Knight Foundation, as well as $225,000 from the local Blandin Foundation and part of a $100,000 grant from the Joyce Foundation.)
MinnPost began with six full-time editors and dozens of freelance contributors and had 17 full-time employees as of 2013.
MinnPost has multiple revenue streams, including advertising and subscriptions. It ran surpluses in both 2010 and 2011, albeit small ones, joining the ranks of few news organizations that can claim the same. The paper’s operating budget in 2011 and 2012 was about $1.5 million.
As of the end of 2011, MinnPost had about 3,300 paying members and $385,000 per year in advertising revenue. MinnPost also raises money from other sources, including an annual fundraiser called MinnRoast that provided about 10 percent of its annual revenue as of 2012. MinnPost has relatively low overhead costs, and its initial goal was to become sustainable without foundation assistance by 2012. About 20 percent of its revenue came from foundations in 2011 and 2012.
In 2009, MinnPost began selling real-time ads in a Twitter-like interface on its website. The site has also made a pitch for funding to cover the state gubernatorial race on the crowdfunding site Spot.Us.
The site’s journalistic product is based more on news analysis than on investigative reporting. It initially distributed a daily print edition of highlights from the site on 8″x11″ paper, but stopped distribution within a few months, and dropped a print-at-home edition in July 2008.
OJR interview with Joel Kramer:
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