Four Online Community News Sites to Expand Coverage

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Grants Will Help Sites Hire Staff, Extend Reach

MIAMI – Four online community news sites will expand their local reporting staffs and bring their communities more content, with a combined $390,000 investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The grants aim to help the non-profit sites draw a larger audience by providing more local news, a key to their long-term viability.

“As the news industry cuts costs by reducing staff — including local reporters — citizens are receiving less of the news they need to lead informed lives and hold their governments accountable,” Gary Kebbel, Knight Foundation’s journalism program director, said. “These young, online-only sites help fill the void and offer the information needed to make decisions.”

The sites will expand coverage in areas that have been hard hit by cuts at traditional media companies.

The grant recipients are:

  • MinnPost, which provides news and analysis, including video and audio, from experienced journalists primarily in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
  • voiceofsandiego.org, the only professionally-staffed, nonprofit online news site in California.
  • Chi-town Daily News, which uses citizen journalists and staff reporters to cover Chicago’s 75 neighborhoods.
  • St. Louis Beacon, which emphasizes local news on its site founded by veteran journalists, and partners with its local public TV station.

The grants are part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to help find new, sustainable models for delivering news and information in the digital age. Knight has invested $100 million in media innovative initiatives. They include the Knight News Challenge, an annual contest to find the most innovative ideas for information delivery and exchange and a high-level commission examining national media policy.

“As resources devoted to serious journalism shrink, Knight Foundation has been a leader in encouraging innovators and entrepreneurs to create new forms and business models,” Joel Kramer, editor and CEO of the award-winning MinnPost.com, said. “Knight made a major grant to help MinnPost.com launch a year ago, and we’re honored to receive this second grant along with these other exciting local sites.”

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invests in journalism excellence worldwide and in the vitality of U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has granted more than $400 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation focuses on projects with the potential to create transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.