A project of Democracy Fund

March 31, 2017

Local Fix: $12 Million in Grants, Creative Agencies, and News Revenue


Welcome to the Local Fix. Each week we look at key debates in journalism sustainability and community engagement through the lens of local news.  But first, we are going to start with a bit of news…

Our Commitment to an Independent Free Press
This week Democracy Fund and First Look Media announced $12 million in new grants to support press freedom, investigative reporting and local news. “At the Democracy Fund, we believe that a robust free press is essential. We must not take it for granted,” our president Joe Goldman wrote earlier this week. The grants include support for investigative newsrooms and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press as well as:

We are deeply grateful for the work all of you do to serve your communities and hold power to account. These announcements build on our ongoing efforts to support and strengthen local news ecosystems, expand engaged journalism, and foster more inclusive newsrooms. If you have any questions or want to let us know about the work you are doing, drop us a line at localnewslab@democracyfund.org.

Now back to regularly scheduled programming….

The Creative Agency Model for Newsroom Revenue

News organizations have expertise in creative storytelling that some organizations have used to create brand studios and digital ad agencies. Most of the examples we hear about are from huge national newsrooms. But, could this be another source for revenue for local news? Here are a few different paths to explore, and some inspiration to learn from.

Platforms and Publishers: It’s Complicated (still)

In the ongoing debate over how social media platforms are reshaping journalism this week brought an important new report from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism. In “The Platform Press” Emily Bell and Tayler Owen chart “the convergence between journalism and platform companies,” and explore how we can maintain and strengthen independent journalism in the future. We’ve included a series of other recent pieces that approach similar questions from different perspectives.

Local News Lab Link of the Week
Our site is full of practical advice, tools and tips. This week, we recommend lessons from the launch of the News Revenue Hub by Jason Alcorn. There are a lot of great ideas for how newsrooms can strengthen their membership programs and expand community support for their work. Send us your feedback and ideas for other resources that you would find useful on the Lab at localnewslab@democracyfund.org.

Have a good weekend
Josh and Teresa
@jcstearns, @gteresa

The Local Fix is a project of the Democracy Fund’s Public Square Program, which invests in innovations and institutions that are reinventing local media and expanding the public square. Disclosure: Some projects mentioned in this newsletter may be funded by Democracy Fund, you can find a full list of the organizations we support on our website.