UNO, WWNO Revise Plan on Nonprofit
News Initiative

The University of New Orleans and public radio station WWNO have revised the plan for its new nonprofit multimedia news operation which will include an expanded partnership with the nonprofit news website The Lens.

The new plan calls for NewOrleansReporter.org to be transitioned to the existing independent news site TheLensNola.org. The Lens will cover the issues of government accountability, education, criminal justice and flood protection with a newsroom staff expanding to 10.

WWNO will collaborate with The Lens to produce multiplatform content, and WWNO’s news staff will expand to three with the addition of a news director and reporter/producers. WWNO will cover general assignment news, and arts and culture—in collaboration with NOLAVie.com. WWNO is working with NPR to further enhance wwno.organd its related mobile platforms so WWNO is better positioned to fill the role of trusted news provider, plus aggregator of content from all the best sources in the area. WWNO’s strength as a broadcast, mobile and digital distributor of content will make news available to all in the community. This revised plan builds on the existing platforms and expertise, which will increase efficiency, reduce duplication and begin expanded news coverage sooner.

Community partners Greater New Orleans, Inc.; the Urban League of Greater New Orleans; the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region; and the Greater New Orleans Foundation will help raise supporting funds. UNO will continue to house the WWNO newsroom, which will provide space for collaborating reporters. The Lens will also maintain its current newsroom.

“Our mission remains the same,” said UNO President Peter J. Fos. “We aim to be a catalyst in developing a strong, sustainable model for nonprofit, multimedia journalism that will serve the greater New Orleans area as an open source of trustworthy news and information. We also believe that our region benefits when numerous and diverse voices are represented in news coverage and commentary.”

WWNO and The Lens will share content across broadcast, mobile and online platforms, and NPR remains committed to offering its expertise to the project.

“Our partnership with NPR remains strong,” said WWNO General Manager Paul Maassen.“NPR will continue to provide WWNO with technical support and training.”

In the seven weeks since the nonprofit multimedia initiative was announced, planning discussions yielded a modified plan that will better accomplish the aims of the participating organizations.

“In this way, we will be able to achieve the original scope, staffing and reporting goals of NewOrleansReporter.org while reducing duplication and building on established infrastructure,” Maassen added.