It all started at a desk in the press room
A 50-year-old organization finds an office that speaks to their future
7,000 square feet
1156 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC
In 1970, the national media came under fire with a wave of government subpoenas demanding that reporters name their confidential sources. Protecting the rights of journalists became front and center, prompting a meeting among key players to provide legal assistance to the press. With this single gathering, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) was formed. Working part-time and on a shoestring budget, RCFP’s first “office” was a desk in the press room of the U.S. Supreme Court. News organizations and foundations overwhelmingly backed the cause, allowing the founders to build a staff and recruit attorneys to donate their time and expertise. Today, RCFP’s expansive and influential organization provides pro bono legal counsel and vital resources to leading news organizations, reporters, editors, media lawyers and more. RCFP has come a long way since their press room desk days where it all began, yet the flourishing organization is just getting started.
In 2017, RCFP occupied approximately 3,500 square feet of space divided between the 3rd and 12th floors of 1156 15th Street, NW in Washington, DC. With three years remaining on their lease, RCFP was approaching full capacity and the staff separation between two floors hindered the team’s collaboration efforts. While RCFP prides themselves on acting as a unified voice for journalists, their office space felt far from unified. Their outdated space also did little to communicate the organization’s mission. They needed something fresh and uplifting, something that conveyed their mission as well as their youthful, vibrant staff. The time had come to look for something new.
RCFP sought out JLL’s Kevin Brant and Taylor Manning through the recommendation of a mutual acquaintance after successfully handling a situation similar to RCFP’s. Kevin and Taylor collaborated with Kirsten Poole, Director of Business Operations, and Jenn Topper, Communications Director, to get to know RCFP as an organization and its culture. They learned how RCFP functioned, how they worked and what they needed to advance their mission. With this in-depth analysis, the JLL team evaluated options and quickly garnered interest from a handful of landlords. This leverage helped the team negotiate with RCFP’s current landlord to consolidate the organization onto one contiguous, 7,000-square-foot space within the same building. With tenant-friendly market conditions in mind, JLL negotiated a very generous tenant improvement allowance enabling RCFP to move, design and equip their new space at virtually no cost to them, a considerable benefit for the cost-conscious nonprofit.
Since moving into their new space, the RCFP team has certainly noticed a shift. This new office is a new chapter in the spirited organization’s story and creates the ideal conditions to thrive. By working together and sharing their knowledge in ways they were unable to before, RCFP enhanced the strength of their cause and commitment to their mission.
During the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association presented the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press with a $1 million grant to support journalism. The grant goes toward providing legal services and support particularly to state and local journalists who would be otherwise unable to pursue the stories that are of the utmost importance to their communities.