Despite America’s rising distrust in the media and the growing challenges with misinformation, quality journalism is being made every day.
Our democracy is built on a free, and open press—one that pursues the truth based on verifiable facts, absent of partisanship and bias. It may seem, in an information landscape exploding with echo chambers and fiction disguised as news, that this ideal is dying. That the very foundation of the information landscape is crumbling.
These problems are real and they require connected, collaborative solutions. But they are also only half the story. Across the United States reporters are doubling down on their commitment to deliver information for the public good.
Nowhere is this more true than in the communities where local and nonprofit news organizations are on the frontlines of efforts to hold leaders accountable and provide people with the information they need to contribute to decision-making, cast an informed vote and exercise their First Amendment rights. Unconcerned with profit margins and ad dollars, these organizations stake their reputations on their reporting and work to earn our trust.
Recognizing their important role, last year, Knight Foundation launched the News Match, a grassroots matching donor campaign to support nonprofit news organizations that play a vital role informing the public. This year Democracy Fund, MacArthur Foundation and others joined the charge, increasing the donation pool to more than $3 million in support of more than 100 nonprofit news organizations across the country.
The campaign reinforces that philanthropy and social sector organizations must work together to build more sustainable models for news organizations. But most importantly, it allows the public to play a leading role in protecting the future of quality journalism.
Through the News Match people can support organizations including: the Lens, which continues to move the local agenda on coastal restoration and climate change in New Orleans; 100Reporters, which recently launched a 50-state investigation into deaths of mentally disabled adults; Hechinger Report, which a produced multi-part investigation of childcare in Mississippi, uncovering systemic problems that subject young children to dangerous conditions; Orb Media, which issued a report revealing plastic contamination of drinking water in the United States and across the globe, leading to a call from scientists for urgent research; and many more.
Faced with shrinking budgets and limited resources, nonprofit news organizations rely heavily upon individual supporters to create news that matters to communities. This support allows them to hire staff, report local news, launch in-depth investigations, obtain public records and keep pace with changing community information needs.
It is in all of our interests to ensure that they can continue this work. The model they have created, rooted in rigorous fact-checking, editorial independence, and community engagement, is at the heart of our search for ways to restore trust in the media. News Match is open until Dec. 31. You can be part of that fight.