Local Journalism in New Jersey Seeks Path to Sustainability Through Major Initiative Funded by Knight Foundation and Dodge Foundation

Press Release

February 19, 2014

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MORRISTOWN, N.J. -- (Feb. 18, 2014) — The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation announced today it will help New Jersey-­‐based media test ways to seek revenue and become sustainable, thanks to a $2 million commitment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. This investment is Knight’s second grant to Dodge, following $800,000 over two years for a related media project in 2012.

Since 2011, Dodge has led efforts to help strengthen local journalism, so that New Jerseyans have access to abundant, high quality New Jersey-­‐focused news. These ongoing efforts include providing general operating support grants to a number of vital news sources in New Jersey, such as NJ Spotlight, New Jersey Public Radio, and WHYY’s NewsWorks, as well as supporting Montclair State University’s Center for Cooperative Media and its NJ News Commons initiative. The Center and Commons provide journalists with office space and access to television and radio studios on the Montclair campus, in addition to a robust array of trainings and workshops, collaborative reporting projects on specialized issues and content sharing.

With the $2 million commitment from Knight, Dodge will test a variety of revenue models to help both for-­‐profit and nonprofit news sites achieve financial sustainability. It will also work to identify and fill gaps in coverage with seed grants, and develop creative community engagement opportunities and ideas.

“Knight’s grant is vital to our work, because it gives us the resources to experiment and test new ideas in this rapidly shifting media landscape, and it complements the operating support Dodge is providing to news organizations here in New Jersey,” said Dodge President and CEO Chris Daggett. “Through our partnership, we can offer some stability to news organizations while also helping them pursue what it takes to become financially sustainable.”

The $2 million grant builds on a previous $800,000 grant that Knight made to Dodge in 2012 as part of its Knight Community Information Challenge, which encourages community and place-­‐based foundations to develop news and information projects that inform and engage their residents. The effort began as the seismic shifts in the media industry became apparent and community leaders searched for ways to help keep people informed about important issues. Knight encouraged locally-­‐focused foundations to step into the debate and find and fund solutions.

“Dodge Foundation has taken a leadership role in ensuring that New Jersey residents are informed about the issues important to them. We hope this grant will build on their initial success, and help news outlets around the state experiment with ways to become sustainable,” said Bahia Ramos, community foundations program director at Knight Foundation.

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation is a private foundation based in Morristown, New Jersey. Established in 1974, it focuses on issues critical to New Jersey in the areas of Arts, Education, Environment and Media and funds organizations that have a direct, meaningful impact on the state. The Dodge Foundation’s mission is to support leadership, collaboration and innovation for a better New Jersey. For more information, visit www.grdodge.org Contact: Molly de Aguiar, director of media & communications, 973-­‐540-­‐8442 x156, [email protected]

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. Knight Foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more information, visit www.knightfoundation.org. Contact: Anusha Alikhan, director of communications, 305-­‐908-­‐2677, [email protected]