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Shifting to a non-profit model for environmental news reporting

Last week the board unanimously voted in favor of a motion to shift Mongabay’s news production — — from the traditional for-profit entity to the non-profit organization formed last year. The decision marks an important new development in the evolution of Mongabay and one that I believe will improve our independent reporting.

The reason for the shift is straight-forward: economics. At the best of times, advertising has never covered more than 15 percent of the cost of running the news section and the 85 percent shortfall severely limited our ability to expand beyond a core team of two people. Shifting news to the non-profit means that while we’ll now be mostly dependent on the generosity of our readers and our ability to fundraise, there is great potential to involve additional people, improving our ability to cover important conservation and environmental science news.

After 14+ years of running Mongabay, the time has come for this change. The move is not without precedent: some of the top environmental news sites are not-for-profits or run under non-profits: Yale e360, Grist, Inside Climate News, Ensia, Mother Jones, Earth Island Journal, and Orion Magazine, to name a few, not to mention the myriad number of excellent sites and blogs run by non-journalism NGO’s.

I’m excited about this change and I hope you as our readers — and supporters — will see dividends soon. If you’d like to help us, please do so at

Rhett Butler