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Funding Journalism, Finding Innovation: Success Stories and Ideas for Creative, Sustainable Partnerships

Publication date: 
June, 2018
Media Impact FundersHarvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

Funding Journalism, Finding Innovation Report Cover

Media Impact Funders partnered with Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy to produce this 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.

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.
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