Knight Foundation expands major initiative to rebuild trust in media and democracy, announces $6 million in funding to three organizations that strengthen local news

March 31, 2019

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Investment is part of a $300 million Knight initiative aimed to catalyze broad, national support for organizations that are building a strong future for local news

MIAMI — March 31, 2019 —The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced a $6 million investment in three organizations that seek to create a strong support system for local newsrooms across the country through business development, training, networking and capacity-building resources: Institute for Nonprofit News, LION Publishers: Local Independent Online News, and News Revenue Hub. 

The funding is part of a $300 million Knight initiative, announced in February, focused on building the future of local news and information, which are essential for democracy to function. Knight continues to invite individual and institutional funders to join in this opportunity and support scalable organizations committed to serving communities at the local level. 

“Individuals and organizations that want to strengthen democracy have an enormous opportunity to reverse the decline in local news by supporting organizations such as these,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president.

“Nonprofit news sites that reflect the communities they serve can strengthen community and build trust in democracy,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism. “Organizations such as the Institute for Nonprofit News, LION Publishers, and the News Revenue Hub are providing the infrastructure to build a sustainable future for local news. We want to see them support not only existing nonprofit news sites, but more and more startups led by people of color and others whose voices have been missing from traditional media.” 

As newsrooms across the nation grapple with sinking revenues, and business models that no longer work in a new digital information environment, a major part of the initiative focuses on rebuilding local news ecosystems around the country so that communities will have the information they need to shape our democracy. 

With this in mind, the three new investments align with Knight’s February support of organizations that are building new business models, strengthening investigative reporting, protecting press freedom, promoting diversity, teaching news literacy, and connecting with audiences through civic engagement and technology. They aim to create the support systems that local journalists and newsrooms need to develop a sustainable future.

The organizations receiving support include: 

Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) ($3.5 million): To help the network of more than 200 nonprofit news organizations expand its shared services offerings with a focus on providing audience development, technology and revenue expertise, as well as resources to help build philanthropic support from individual donors. In addition, funding will go to business and talent development, including leadership training and an effort to increase the number of member publishers from nonprofit news outlets led by people of color and those focused on unserved communities. INN will work to build regional hubs for local and state newsrooms that support healthy business operations, strong collaborative journalism efforts and support for diverse communities. Learn more or contribute here.

News Revenue Hub ($1.5 million): To support News Revenue Hub’s efforts to help news organizations develop sustainable business models by creating a team that will work directly with newsrooms to expand audience and develop editorial products that enhance loyalty and inspire financial support. The team will work with newsrooms to drive adoption of critical platforms, tools and strategies that increase lead generation, email subscriptions, donations and retention. Learn more or contribute here.

LION Publishers: Local Independent Online News Publishers ($1 million): To grow the membership organization’s capacity to deliver training, best practices and peer-to-peer learning on topics such as advertising products, membership programs, shared technology services and libel law. Support will allow LION to bring on new staff focused on developing a network of peer coaches and increasing technology and audience development expertise among member publishers. Since 2012, LION membership has more than tripled to 243 local outlets — 69 percent are for-profit businesses. Learn more here

As the leading funder of journalism and media innovation in the country, these investments further Knight’s commitment to fostering more informed and engaged communities, which are essential to a healthy democracy.

If you are interested in applying for funding, learn more here. To get involved in the initiative and support the organizations that are building the future of local news, visit: kf.org/localnews.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.

CONTACT:

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, [email protected]

Image (top) courtesy of the Center for Investigative Reporting, a member organization of Institute for Nonprofit News.