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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

The Lens is a nonprofit news site dedicated to covering the New Orleans area. Founded in 2009 by Karen Gadbois and Ariella Cohen, The Lens began publishing online in January 2010 with the mission of covering stories beyond the scope of local news organizations like The Times-Picayune and The Advocate. Its content is often republished in those outlets through a Creative Commons license.

The IRS designated The Lens a 501(c)(3) non profit organization in December 2012, after a protracted delay. Prior to that, The Lens was fiscally sponsored by the Center for Public Integrity. A member of the Investigative News Network, The Lens is now funded through grants and donations, including support from the Greater New Orleans Development Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the Knight Foundation. The Lens is a two-time winner of the Knight Community Information Challenge. In 2012, its revenue was about $700,000 and it had a full-time staff of 11. It made layoffs because of drops in revenue in 2014.

In September 2011 The Lens launched the Charter School Reporting Corps, which is aimed at covering New Orleans’ sprawling charter school system. Made up of over a dozen freelance reporters and one charter schools editor, the corps dispatches a reporter to each of the 45 school board meetings that currently run over 60 charter schools in the area.

The Lens relaunched its website in February 2013 using Project Largo, a long-form blogging platform that INN developed from NPR’s Project Argo.

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Primary author: Linda Kinstler. Main text last updated: July 3, 2014.
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