Nuvo reinvents itself as not-for-profit, online publication

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The founder of local alternative weekly Nuvo revealed Monday that the publication has radically shifted its business model in the wake of news that it has discontinued its print edition after 29 years.

Nuvo is reinventing itself as a not-for-profit online publication that will sell memberships for $5 per month and provide members with early access to some content.

Founder Kevin McKinney, who also is editor and publisher, said in a post Monday on the Nuvo website that he had gifted the Nuvo brand and all of its assets to the Nuvo Cultural Foundation, a pre-existing not-for-profit. The move allows Nuvo to accept tax-deductible contributions and apply for grants, McKinney said.

“Becoming a nonprofit aligns with our mission of making journalism more trusted again and useful in solving the problems that you think are most important,” he said. “We are now accountable to the community, which means you, and have a structure better designed for a mission-driven organization that desires to be transparent."

McKinney envisions the rebooted Nuvo as a writer-centric endeavor that spends significant time listening to and interacting with its members to help tailor its coverage. Instead of hemming to traditional journalistic objectivity, writers will reveal their biases and be more transparent about the reporting process and suggesting solutions to community problems. 

“We want your participation in a collaborative, community journalism that values your ideas, experience, and input,” according to a blurb on its membership page.

Membership will include unlimited access to articles, the ability to comment on articles, the ability to collaborate with editors and exclusive content delivered weekly. The site will maintain a paywall for content more than a year old, although early on the site will be generous with free views as it unspools the membership proposition.

McKinney told IBJ on Monday that Nuvo's staff going forward would consist of himself; writers Rob Burgess, Dan Grossman and Seth Johnson; designer Charlie Clark; business manager Kathy Flahavin; and Ian McPhee, who would provide technical support. All of the positions are full-time.

McKinney suggested that the end of the print publication had a silver lining.

"Print and advertising took up 75 percent of our time and focus," he said. "Now we can take the precious resources that were applied to print and advertising, and focus all of our energies on reinventing journalism online."

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