Community Media and Grant Makers Toolkit

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J-Lab, New Media Makers: A Tool Kit for Innovators in Community Media and Grant Making
Publication Date
Journalism, Media Innovation


The toolkit, which includes case studies, videos and online resources, captures lessons from the makers of new media and their funders. This multiplatform report shares the stories of successful community media initiatives to show what it takes to produce successful grassroots news sites.

The report addresses issues such as:

  • How are foundations and philanthropists matching their missions with media?
  • How are the makers of new media affecting their communities?
  • How are site funders and site operators measuring their success?
  • Who’s funding what? (The tool kit includes a database of community news grants since 2005.)

Report Partner: This report, funded by Knight Foundation, was produced by Jan Schaffer, executive director, J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism.


  • Case Studies – New-Media Makers discuss their ethical conundrums, civic impact and their roles in the new media environment.
  • Searchable Database of Foundations and the News Projects They Fund – At least 180 foundations contributed nearly $128 million to news and information initiatives between 2005 and 2009.
  • Finding the Funding Fit – Information on deciding what to fund, plus tips for funding community news projects.
  • News with Civic Impact – Case studies of and
  • Measuring Success – Emerging benchmarks range from the quantity and impact of news stories produced to the number of movers and shakers who read them to the amount and quality of community participation.

About our Journalism focus area

We support people and organizations committed to advancing excellence in journalism and informing people in communities of all sizes through experimentation, innovation and leadership.

About our Resources and tools methodology

We follow evaluation and social impact measurement trends to identify best practices and tools. The assessment resources below include a mix of Knight and third-party tools to collect useful information about the effectiveness and impact of the work of our grantees.  Inclusion in this list does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Knight Foundation.