Media Impact Funders and Southern California Grantmakers held a convening of funders on Saturday, September 26 in Los Angeles, at the Annenberg Foundation’s Skylight Studios to explore emerging strategies for supporting local and ethnic reporting projects.
See our Storify from the day for highlights, speaker presentations and more.

We tapped into vibrant parallel discussions taking place at the Online News Association conference, and heard from foundation leaders and grantees in two morning sessions:

Fresh Directions in Local News Funding
Understanding how to work with struggling local journalism and media organizations can be tricky terrain for funders. In this session, program officers at regional foundations offered insights from their own recent work.

Molly de Aguiar of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation shared lessons from the emerging “New Jersey Model”—a collaborative effort among foundations, local outlets, and local universities to develop and support a model for a sustainable local news ecosystem for a state where coverage has suffered. Dodge posts insights from this process on their Local News Lab hub, and other funders including the Rita Allen Foundation, Democracy Fund, Wyncote Foundation, and Knight Foundation also contribute to related efforts in the region.

Jennifer Choi of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation presented strategies for collaborative, cross-sector partnerships in a local media market like Chicago. In addition to presenting lessons learned from McCormick’s past grants to Chicago-area media organizations and in news literacy, she previewed new grant-making strategies that are under development at the foundation, namely to reinvigorate journalism’s role in a healthy democracy.

Multicultural Media: The New Mainstream
How can funders support reporting projects that move beyond the “bleeds and leads” mindset to regularly address the concerns of communities of color?

In Los Angeles, four of the top 10 local newscasts are in Spanish, and the Spanish language daily La Opinion has the second-largest circulation in the city after the L.A. Times. At the same time, English language media are working to grow their share of diverse and fast-growing audiences, particularly bilingual and bicultural Angelenos.

Mary Lou Fulton of the California Endowment shared how multimcultural media became the new mainstream, and what news organizations are doing to deepen their connections with communities of color.

Creating a More Inclusive Public Media Enterprise at KPCC 
When LA-based NPR station KPCC attempted to grow its audience by reaching out to Latino listeners, the conventional wisdom was the effort would be a disaster. We learned what the station has done during the past three years to confound the conventional wisdom, and discussed ways in which public media can better serve the needs of America’s rapidly growing Latino populations.

Photo credit: Watts Revisted

About the Author
Roshni Melia

Roshni Melia

Program Consultant

Roshni serves as Media Impact Funders’ program consultant. In that role, she works with members, partners, and the staff to develop and implement the organization’s programs and events. Roshni manages MIF’s program strategy to expand program offerings to foster meaningful collaboration and knowledge exchange between philanthropy and media makers. Prior to joining Media Impact Funders, Roshni worked at the Ford Foundation as an event producing consultant. She has worked in the philanthropic sector for most of her career in various capacities at organizations such as The Altman Foundation, North Star Fund, and Philanthropy New York. Roshni Melia holds a B.S. in Social Policy from Northwestern University and an MPA from New York University.