Cardinal News is a finalist in two categories in the annual contest of the Institute for Nonprofit News, the national trade association for nonprofit online news sites.

Cardinal is one of three finalists in the Startup of the Year category; the others are the Fort Worth Report and The Kansas City Defender.

Cardinal News is also finalist in the INNovator Award category for our Speaker Series. The other two finalists are Anthropocene Magazine and El Timpano.

The winner will be announced Aug. 23 during the Online News Association conference in Philadelphia.

The Startup of the Year is awarded to a news organization — regardless of size — that has been operating for less than three years and has established strong support of its journalism throughout the community and the revenue growth to sustain it, and is engaging with its audience.

In 2020, there were about 150 nonprofit online news sites in the country, as measured by membership in the Institute for Nonprofit News. Now there are more than 400.

“To be recognized as a leader of this tremendous wave is truly an honor,” said Cardinal executive director Luanne Rife.

Cardinal launched in September 2021. “We’ve grown from an editor and two reporters to two editors, an audience engagement editor, part-time copy editor and six reporters — with two more reporters expected to join us by the end of summer,” Rife said. “And we’ve been able to do this through mostly all local funding.”

Cardinal has no paywall or subscription fee. We are a 501(c)(3) that depends on reader donations. You can make your tax-deductible contribution here. Cardinal also discloses all of our donors.

So far, we have held our events in our Speaker Series with an aim of bringing nationally recognized speakers to address issues facing the region. In 2021, Rep. Ro Khanna, D-California and the congressman from Silicon Valley, spoke in Blacksburg about how the region can grow its tech sector. Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, spoke in Danville about the future of manufacturing. Gov. Glenn Youngkin spoke in Bristol about the economy in Southwest Virginia. Earlier this year, author Beth Macy spoke in Clifton Forge about opioids. We plan to hold additional events.