The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Feb 11, 2013

Community foundations share moments of truth

Posted by Elise Hu

During this week's Media Learning Seminar, community foundation leaders shared snapshots of their local information projects. Here's a recap:

Noah Erenberg of the Winnepeg Foundation said when foundations become content creators, they shouldn't underestimate how far and wide a strong story will travel and the credibility that it accrues.

Patricia Swann of the New York Community Trust shared how her organization's "Feet in Two Worlds" effort helped bring ethnic journalists into the mainstream and get them exposed to a larger audience.

Marilyn Howard of the Manatee Community Foundation did a show-and-tell of the "Manatee Connects" site, which became a one stop shop for services, scholarships and other non-profit efforts available in the community. (The site no longer exists in its original form.)

Eric Pearson of the El Paso Community Foundation said he is still waiting on the foundation-backed news and information site, Newspaper Tree, to get IRS 501c3 status. But he's staying positive.  "Don't ever give up," Pearson said. "Never, never, never never."

Cali Brooks of the Adirondack Community Trust has worked with North Country Public Radio to expand news access to disparate, far-flung communities. Partnership has led to major successes in engagement, she says.

Stuart Comstock-Gay of Vermont Community Foundation showed off, which helped fill a crucial statehouse reporting need that grew as traditional outlets stopped spending resources to cover the capitol. The current business plan has on a path to sustainability in fewer than five years.

Elise Hu is a digital editor at NPR and blogging this event for Knight. You can follow the Media Learning Seminar on Twitter @knightfdn or with the hashtag #infoneeds.

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