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 & Media Innovation focus area

Our goal at Knight Foundation is to preserve the best aspects of journalism and use innovation to expand the impact of information in the digital age.

About our Resources & Tools methodology

We follow evaluation and social impact measurement trends to identify emerging best practices and tools. We have compiled a list of assessment resources below, which includes a mix of Knight and third-party tools, to support our grantees and other nonprofits collect useful information about the effectiveness and impact of their work. We hope you find the list helpful. If there are other resources that you find particularly useful, please let us know. This list of evaluation resources is intended for informational purposes only. Inclusion does not necessarily constitute endorsement by the Knight Foundation.