News from the Field

New MIF report highlights innovative approaches to journalism funding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Nina Sachdev, communications director, Media Impact Funders nina@mediafunders.org or 215-574-1322

Media Impact Funders, in Collaboration with Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Publishes Report on Innovative Approaches to Journalism Funding 

PHILADELPHIA, PA (JUNE 20, 2018)—Media Impact Funders, a member-supported network of funders who seek to improve society through media and technology, has partnered with Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy to produce a case study report that surfaces pioneering funding practices in journalism.

As the field of journalism continues to grapple with limited resources and dwindling revenues, it’s clear that financial support is needed now more than ever. Philanthropy, in response to the radically changing landscape, is stepping up to revive quality journalism and reconfigure the news media ecosystem. And, in fact, funding for nonprofit news media has seen a notable uptick in philanthropic support, oftentimes in the form of new types of grants.

“While this guide shows only a small sampling of how funders and publishers are working together to financially sustain the fourth estate, we hope that it nonetheless serves as a starting point for your own work by providing solid examples of groundbreaking funding efforts—ones that are both pioneering and effective,” notes Shorenstein’s director, Nicco Mele, in the report’s introduction.

Key takeaways from the case studies include:

  • The Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, a foundation that doesn’t have a history of journalism funding, made a four-year investment to help launch the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN).
  • The LOR Foundation, fearing residents in the Intermountain West did not have access to quality news, decided to partner with SJN on the local level to produce solutions-based news for the region.
  • The Ford Foundation supported the hiring of an investigative reporter at the ACLU of Michigan—the first investigative reporter of any ACLU chapter—to dig into the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
  • The California Endowment invested in youth media hubs as a means to promote community health, well-being and empowerment.
  • The MacArthur Foundation made a pioneering unrestricted, five-year grant to the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, which helped the nonprofit newsroom experiment and innovate.

“By highlighting these case studies, we hope to spark creativity within the sector, upend the notion that funding models have to remain static, and ultimately boost funding for media organizations,” writes Vince Stehle, executive director of Media Impact Funders, in the foreword.

Read the report below or download it here:

Are you utilizing an innovative approach to journalism funding? We’d like to hear about it. Email us at journalism@mediafunders.org. Journalism funders connect through an annual meeting and regular conference calls to explore issues in the field. To learn more about joining this network, email journalism@mediafunders.org.

 


 

Media Impact Funders (formerly Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media, renamed in 2012) was incorporated in 2009 to serve the needs of funders who use media and technology in the public interest. MIF achieves this by serving as a learning resource for grantmakers interested in using media to further their missions of creating lasting social change. As a catalyst connecting funders and allies, MIF encourages their collaboration and supports the ever-growing field of media that informs, engages and inspires. Learn more at mediaimpactfunders.org. 

The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy is a research center based at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, with a mission to study and analyze the power of media and technology and its impact on governance, public policy, and politics. Research, courses, fellowships, public events, and engagement with students, scholars, and journalists form the core of the Center. Learn more at shorensteincenter.org.