Background / Introduction

In 2021, a steering committee of local journalism, community and business leaders worked with the American Journalism Project to conduct a comprehensive statewide research study with Hoosiers across the state to determine their attitudes and desires when it came to local news reporting. Through the study, more than 1,000 residents across 79 counties said they needed more unbiased, fact-based information about their communities.

Out of those findings, a coalition of organizations in and around Indiana, local community leaders, and AJP partnered to launch what has publicly been known as the Indiana Local News Initiative, a new nonprofit organization with a mission to fill information gaps in the state. The coalition, which includes 11 philanthropies, has raised over $10 million for the organization so far and the goal is to launch the newsroom in the latter half of 2023.

Project Overview

The Indiana Local News Initiative is seeking the services of a full-service branding and marketing firm to develop the brand and visual identity for both an Indianapolis based entity and statewide network of independent newsrooms. The effort has been known publicly as the Indiana Local News Initiative, and will need a name and brand identity for both the Central Indiana newsroom and the umbrella organization that covers the independent newsrooms located across the state.

Project Goals

The goals of this project include:

  • Provide guidance to key stakeholders about how to approach the naming/ branding of a statewide initiative with local newsrooms
  • Develop a brand identity for the Indiana Local News Initiative and its Central Indiana newsroom that represents the mission of the organization and deeply incorporates community input
  • Develop all branding (e.g., logo, style guide) including collateral and assets for marketing materials to be used across all platforms (e.g., desktop, mobile, social media, print)
  • Be willing to develop the brand through a highly inclusive process in which members of Indianapolis communities can actively share input to ensure naming/branding resonates locally

Project Deliverables

  • Name for Central Indiana newsroom, as well as proposal for naming architecture of overall Indiana Local News Initiative and future local newsrooms in Indiana
  • Comprehensive brand/visual identity for the Central Indiana newsroom that includes input from stakeholders and residents including:
  • Logo (provided in vector and sized pixel file formats; in JPG and EPS format that can be manipulated using Canva/Adobe Illustrator; RGB and hex values provided; is effective in color and black/white)
  • Style guide (font/typeface, color palette)
  • Brand assets and other graphic elements for a host of collateral materials (e.g., social media, print materials)
  • Templates for standard communications materials such as electronic letterhead, business card layout and deck template
  • Note: Resident input may be in the form of small focus groups, online polls, etc. Stakeholders may include organization leadership, board members, and community advisors


Submission for proposals open: July 20, 2023
Deadline for proposal submission: August 3, 2023
Project completion: October 6, 2023

Vendors may propose an earlier completion date in their proposal.


All fee schedule types will be considered. Respondents are asked to break out all fees, costs, and third-party costs.

Selection Criteria

The Indiana Local News Initiative will evaluate bidders and proposals based on the following criteria:

  • Responsiveness to the required outlined in this RFP
  • Previous experience and past performance
  • Samples and/or case studies from previous projects
  • References for brand development experience
  • Projected costs
  • Demonstrated passion for local news
  • Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and operate within budget

The Indiana Local News Initiative reserves the right to award to the bidder that presents the best value as determined solely by the Indiana Local News Initiative.

Submission requirements

The following must be included in the proposal:

  1. The company name, the name of a contact person, mailing address, telephone number, email address, and website.
  2. A description of respondent’s principal business including company background, characteristics of business strength, and products and services offered.
  3. A description of the qualifications of the staff who would work on the project. A team that includes professionals with proven expertise in brand strategy is highly desirable.
  4. A description of why you believe your agency is a good fit for this project.
  5. A description of the process you use when developing a brand package.
  6. A description of the company’s ability to complete the project within the desired timeline.
  7. Answers to the following questions: How would you think about creating a brand (name, logo, etc) for the Central Indiana newsroom in relation to the larger network? and How would you engage the community in this process?
  8. A summary of respondent’s experience in providing deliverables similar in size, complexity and nature to those requested in this RFP.
  9. Examples of respondent’s work including relevant samples of branding projects the branding company has completed.
  10. At least three (3) references for similar projects completed by the respondent, including name of organization, name of contact person, address, telephone number and email address.
  11. A detailed pricing proposal including the estimated number of hours, and fees for each of the project’s elements.
  12. A description of any additional recommended items or services, including the estimated number of hours and fees.
  13. A proposed timeline for completion of the project, including milestones and the vendor’s proposed methods for engagement of stakeholders during the process.
  14. A clear understanding that all project elements will be the exclusive property of the Indiana Local News Initiative and that the Indiana Local News Initiative will have exclusive rights to each of the elements, including the design artwork.

Contact Information

For questions or concerns connected to this RFP, we can be reached at:
Ebony Chappel