Here’s how local news outlets can access quality national content at no cost

To aid with distribution, some news organizations make their content available for republication — for free

Newsgathering is a huge expense for local news publishers. The costs of paying news staff members and freelancers add up quickly, and subscriptions to wire services and syndicates are often too expensive for local and hyperlocal news organizations.

But there is a way for local news organizations to get access to regional and national content at a very low cost, sometimes for free: republishing content made available for that very purpose.

Many nonprofit news organizations allow some, or all, of their content to be republished. Why? Often because it’s in the public interest, and because they are seeking a wider audience for the information they have gathered. Many get some financing from foundation grants and donations.

In many cases, the nonprofit focuses on a specific subject. Chalkbeat and The Hechinger Report are devoted to covering news about education. Kaiser Health News, as the name implies, reports on health issues. Other nonprofit news organizations, like ProPublica, the Investigative Reporting Workshop and The Conversation cover a variety of topics.

So how can you tell if a news organization offering free content is credible and not simply a way to promote a certain agenda? Check for an “about us” or “mission” statement on the news organization’s website. Key terms to look for are “independent” and “nonpartisan.”

Many of the organizations follow the Code of Ethics from the Society of Professional Journalists.

You should also take a look at the biographies of the people on the staff. The writers for The Conversation come from academia and their articles are edited by a team of journalists whose experience includes such news organizations as the BBC, Dow Jones and USA Today. The Hechinger Report has staff members who have worked at The New York Times, The Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report.

Be sure to look for the guidelines for using the material. Some websites allow use of text, photos and graphics. Others limit the free material to text. Also, make sure you’re using the articles created by the news organization. If it republishes material from other organizations, that material generally cannot be used.

When used wisely, free content can enhance your publication while allowing the provider to reach a wider audience.

Below is a list of news organizations that we’ve verified offer content for republication, and below the list you’ll find more detailed descriptions of each.

We hope this is useful. And if your publication offers content for republication and you’re not on this list, let us know! Email info@centerforcooperativemedia.org. We plan to keep expanding this list; the best way to find out when we add more organizations (aside from stalking this page) is to subscribe to the Local Connection newsletter.

News you can use (and republish)

Here are some places to find content that can be republished or repurposed at no additional cost.

Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism

The non-profit, non-partisan Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism publishes BirminghamWatch, which serves as a watchdog on government and other powerful institutions, highlights significant issues, uncovers solutions as well as problems and involves the public in its work. It focuses on local reporting about government, education, the environment, and economic development and opportunity.

Media outlets are invited to use content from this site with prior written permission of BirminghamWatch.org. Content cannot be changed and prominent credit must be provided. Permission requests should be sent to editor@birminghamwatch.org.

Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

The Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting is an independent, nonprofit media organization producing accountability journalism in Arizona. “AZCIR’s mission is to produce, foster and promote investigative journalism through original and collaborative reporting, public events and trainings, for the betterment of our communities,” its website says. AZCIR’s innovative, interactive and in-depth investigative reporting incorporates data analysis and visualizations, multimedia and interactive digital content.

Unless otherwise noted, all AZCIR content is covered by a Creative Commons license that permits republication under certain conditions. You can see the guidelines for republication here.

Aspen Journalism

Aspen Journalism is a non-profit, independent journalism organization based in Colorado. “Our mission is to produce quality in-depth journalism, as we believe well-informed citizens make better decisions,” its website says. “Our approach is both investigative and collaborative.” Aspen Journalism covers such topics as water, education, land use, local government, housing, transportation, energy, wealth, real estate, the ski industry and development.

Aspen Journalism’s work is available under a Creative Commons License. You can republish articles and graphics without cost, but you cannot edit the material. You can see the full republication guidelines here.

California Health Report

California Health Report is a nonprofit news organization that covers health and health policy throughout the state, with an emphasis on disadvantaged communities and populations. It is editorially independent and financed through grants. It describes its mission as finding and telling “stories about Californians who are disproportionately affected by growing income inequality, the uncertainties surrounding access to health care and the effects of generational poverty.”

The California Health Report’s statement of editorial independence says: “We are a grant funded organization, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support. We retain full authority over our editorial content. We accept no advertising and our content is available to other news organizations free of charge.”

Center for Responsive Politics

The Center for Responsive Politics is a nonpartisan, independent, nonprofit research group that tracks money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. The center says its vision “is for Americans to be empowered by access to clear and unbiased information about money’s role in politics and policy and to use that knowledge to strengthen our democracy.”

Under a Creative Commons license, the center’s content in the news section is available for republication, along with the center’s data. You just need to provide proper credit and link back to the original site.

Chalkbeat

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news organization that covers efforts to improve schools for all children, especially those who have lacked access to a quality education. Chalkbeat says it believes “that every child deserves an excellent education, and that a strong press is vital to making that happen.” Chalkbeat’s coverage focuses on Chicago, Colorado, Detroit, Indiana, Newark, New York and Tennessee and is looking to expand.

Chalkbeat encourages republication of its stories. Here are the guidelines for using them.

The Conversation

The Conversation is an independent, not-for-profit global network of newsrooms first launched in Australia in 2011. It began its U.S. operations in 2014, and also publishes in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Indonesia and Africa.

Through a Creative Commons license, Conversation US articles are shared — at no charge to news organizations — across the geographic and ideological spectrum. Articles are written by academic experts and edited by journalists. The Conversation is particularly interested in strengthening news organizations that are severely under-resourced.

Be sure to read the republishing guidelines.

Energy News Network

The Energy News Network is an editorially independent publication of Fresh Energy, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for clean energy policy. The Energy News Network says its content “should not be considered to reflect policy positions of Fresh Energy or our donors.”

The Energy News Network’s stories are available for republication via Creative Commons Attribution/No Derivatives license. Contact director Ken Paulman at paulman@fresh-energy.org for more information.

Ensia

Ensia describes itself as “an independent, nonprofit magazine presenting new perspectives on environmental challenges and solutions to a global audience.” It is financed by the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, major foundations and private individuals.

Ensia makes its articles available for republication under the terms of Creative Commons’ Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license. It requires attribution for the writer and Ensia as the original source and a link to the Ensia article at the beginning of the repost. Ensia asks that you send a link to the republished article to contact@ensia.com. Images and other visuals are not included.

The Hechinger Report

The Hechinger Report is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that covers “inequality and innovation in education with in-depth journalism that uses research, data and stories from classrooms and campuses to show the public how education can be improved and why it matters.”

It permits reposting or reprinting of its articles under a Creative Commons license. Check out the guidelines for using its stories.

High Country News

High Country News is a nonprofit, independent media organization that covers the issues and stories that define the American West. Its mission is to inform and inspire people — through in-depth journalism — to act on behalf of the West’s diverse natural and human communities. Among the topics it covers are public lands, water, natural resources, grazing, wilderness, wildlife, logging, politics, communities and growth.

High Country News offers news articles for republication at no cost and op-ed articles at a low fee. Guidelines for republishing stories are available here. Email chrisk@hcn.org if you are interested in republishing a news story so its availability can be confirmed.

Investigative Reporting Workshop

The Investigative Reporting Workshop, based at the School of Communication at American University, focuses on government and corporate accountability, including such topics as the environment, health, national security and the economy. Founded by investigative journalist Chuck Lewis, IRW pairs graduate students as researchers and reporters with professional staff at The Washington Post and PBS Frontline. Other media outlets that have co-reported and co-published IRW stories include inewsource and KPBS in San Diego; WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C.; Reveal at the Center for Investigative Reporting; The New Yorker; The New York Times; and the Columbia Journalism Review.

IRW encourages the wide republication of its stories, graphics and other content. Be sure to check out the ground rules for republication.

Kaiser Health News

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service that produces in-depth coverage of health care policy and politics. It reports on how the health care system — hospitals, doctors, nurses, insurers, governments, consumers — works. Kaiser Health News is editorially independent and financed by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, Calif., that is dedicated to filling the need for trusted information on national health issues.

Articles are available at no charge through a Creative Commons license.

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service describes itself as covering “stories that are important to the people who live, work and serve in city neighborhoods, on topics such as education, public safety, economic development, health and wellness, environment, recreation, employment, youth development and housing.” The award-winning website has won two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for excellence from the Radio Television Digital News Association.

The website content is available for reuse under a Creative Commons license. Details about guidelines for republication can be found here.

Mongabay

Mongabay, named after an island in Madagascar, is a rainforest information website with environmental news reporting and analysis. It publishes articles in nine languages and has been used as an information source by members of the mainstream media, including The Economist, Bloomberg, National Geographic and The Associated Press.

To republish articles and photographs, email Mongabay at rights@mongabay.com. Here is Mongabay’s copyright policy.

The New Food Economy

The New Food Economy is a non-profit newsroom that uses independent, deep and unbiased reporting to investigate the forces shaping how and what we eat. “We are the home of a new kind of food journalism that goes beyond the gustatory to tell the urgent, under-reported stories of a changing system no one can opt out of,” its website says. It takes journalistic guidance from the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics, the Associated Press’ news values and principles, and The New York Times’ standards and ethics guidelines.

Send requests for republication to Kate Cox, editor, at kate.cox@newfoodeconomy.org. A link back to the original story and Credit to The New Food Economy must be included near the top of the story and a link back to the original story is required.

OtherWords

The Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, publishes OtherWords.org, a nonprofit editorial service. Each week it publishes several op-eds for free distribution to newspapers, particularly those that serve small and medium-sized communities and are underserved by for-profit syndicates.

The op-eds are completely free for republication. The institute asks only a simple credit to the author and an attribution to OtherWords. You can sign up for a weekly newsletter that will keep you up to date on the articles that are available. If you have questions, you can email OtherWords at otherwords@ips-dc.org.

PassBlue

PassBlue, a project of the New School’s Graduate Program in International Affairs, is an independent, women-led digital publication offering in-depth journalism on the relationship of the United States and the United Nations, along with coverage of women’s issues, human rights, peacekeeping and other global matters playing out in the U.N. PassBlue is a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News and is not tied financially or otherwise to the U.N.

PassBlue’s articles can be republished as long as you credit PassBlue in the byline.

ProPublica

ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit news organization that produces investigative journalism. Its website says, “We dig deep into important issues, shining a light on abuses of power and betrayals of public trust — and we stick with those issues as long as it takes to hold power to account.”

Unless otherwise indicated, ProPublica’s articles and graphics can be republished for free under a Creative Commons license. Photographs and illustrations cannot be republished without specific permission.

The Revelator

Published by the Center for Biological Diversity, The Revelator provides editorially independent reporting, analysis and stories about politics, conservation, art, culture, endangered species, climate change, economics and “the future of wild species, wild places and the planet.” It says that part of its mission is to “drive and deepen the national conversation among the public, politicians, environmental groups, scientists and academics on the important environmental issues of our age.”

All material written by The Revelator’s staff is available for republication at no cost as long as the content is not altered in any material way. All other material is copyrighted by the authors or creators. (If there’s a copyright symbol at the bottom of the story, it is not available for republication.) Check the guidelines for republication here.

Shelterforce

Shelterforce is an independent, nonprofit, non-academic publication covering community development, affordable housing, and neighborhood stabilization. It is published by the National Housing Institute but says it is “bit beholden to a particular program, theory, approach, or constituency.”

Requests to republish articles should be submitted through this webpage.

The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune describes itself as “the only member-supported, digital-first, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.”

The Texas Tribune’s stories and graphics can be republished at no cost. Here are the guidelines for use.

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

The nonpartisan, nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism works to foster an informed citizenry and strengthen democracy. It publishes investigative stories on WisconsinWatch.org. The center is a member of the Trust Project, a global network of news organizations that has developed transparency standards to help news readers assess the quality and credibility of journalism. The center is also a member The Global Investigative Journalism Network, an international network of nonprofit organizations founded to support, promote and produce investigative journalism.

The center’s articles and multimedia are available for republication at no cost as long as you follow the ground rules listed on its website. Please let the center know if you use any of its content by emailing info@wisconsinwatch.org so it can track the distribution of its work.

Did we miss your organization? Let us know; email info@centerforcooperativemedia.org.


Carla Baranauckas is the Local/National Partnerships Coordinator at the Center for Cooperative Media. She can be reached via email at baranauckasc@montclair.edu.

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. The Center is supported with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, the New Jersey Local News Lab Fund of the Community Foundation of New Jersey and the Abrams Foundation. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. For more information, visit CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.