Nonprofit journalistic outlet coming to Norfolk for listening session

NORFOLK, Neb. – A new – and unique – journalistic outlet has arrived in Nebraska, and its leaders are coming to Norfolk for a listening session on Tuesday.

The Flatwater Free Press, a nonprofit and non-partisan digital news publication, handles no distribution and shares its articles freely with other news outlets, including News Channel Nebraska.

“Newspapers and other media outlets have a dearth of journalists,” Flatwater Free Press Executive Director Matt Wynn said, noting that journalist positions have declined by over 50 percent in Nebraska over the past 20 years. Wynn also stated that he intends to work with other existing news outlets to create long-form investigative pieces, sharing bylines with the existing operations.

 The news outlet is incorporated as the Nebraska Journalism Trust, with the intention of funding other potential new nonprofit news outlets.

“There are a lot of issues with starting a news outlet, and those take time to sort out,” Wynn said. “I don’t want the next guy in Hastings or Ord to have to worry about that.”

Wynn and his partner, executive editor Matthew Hansen, are kicking off a series of listening sessions to find out what news local residents want to see and hear. The pair will kick off the sessions with a pair of events in Norfolk on Tuesday. Wynn and Hansen will be at the Norfolk Library at 4:00 p.m., followed by a session at 5:30 at Black Cow Fat Pig.

“Any time I went to a newsroom and started a new job, I learned from the area reporters,” Wynn said. “I don’t want to do that here. I want to make this about the audience and the readers.”