A project of Democracy Fund

September 10, 2021

Local Fix: Tips for 9/11 coverage and NewsMatch strategies


Welcome to the Local Fix. Each week we look at key questions in journalism sustainability and community engagement through the lens of local news. But first, we always begin with one good idea…

One Good Idea: Guidance for reporting on the 9/11 anniversary
In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, groups like the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (in partnership with AAJA, NABJ, and SAJA) and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding have developed guidance for journalists in covering the impacted communities and resulting policies around the milestone. Read through their tips, such as avoiding the phrase “war on terror” and diversifying sources, and use the resources they share to strengthen your reporting and understanding of the changes since 9/11.

How Sahan Journal built sustainable local funding using NewsMatch

A few years ago, Mukhtar Ibrahim had a vision for how a new local news outlet could serve immigrants and people of color in Minnesota. He launched Sahan Journal in August 2019 with the support of his employer, Minnesota Public Radio. But he also had a plan for how to make it independent and financially viable, through a three year business plan and the infusion of local and national support through NewsMatch, a two-month-long collective fundraising campaign with significant training and preparation for newsrooms.

Last year Ibrahim was able to reach out to his network and find his own matches, using NewsMatch as a tool to attract more donors. A new case study from the Institute for Nonprofit News highlights Sahan Journal’s road to sustainability and digs into the decisions Ibrahim’s team made to go from $500,000 in donations in 2019 to $770,000 in total revenue in 2020 and now $1.24 million in revenue as of July 2021.

screenshot of a graph of Sahan Journal’s individual giving revenue since launch from the INN case study; in Q3 2019 the graph shows $5,131 to start; $25,500 in Q4 as part of NewsMatch; $8,230 in Q1 2020; $21,848 in Q2 2020; $16,356 in Q3 2020; $63,906 in Q4 2020 as part of NewsMatch; $40,608 in Q1 2021; and $44,890 in Q2 2021.

As news organizations gear up for end-of-year fundraising (NewsMatch begins November 1!), check out the links below for the full case study, including three specific tactics other newsrooms can adopt, plus more examples of how newsrooms can use NewsMatch and joint fundraising campaigns to the fullest. 

Have a good weekend,
Christine and Teresa
@heres_christine and @gteresa

P.S. Democracy Fund is hiring! Join our colleagues on the Digital Democracy Initiative as a program associate or senior associate and help the growing team invest in organizations and coalitions who hold digital platforms accountable, combat misinformation, and support the vital news our democracy needs to function effectively.

The Local Fix is a project of the Democracy Fund’s Public Square Program, which supports promising new experiments redefining the public square in ways that make it more digital, participatory, and inclusive. The Fix was started by Josh Stearns and Molly de Aguiar. Disclosure: Some projects mentioned in this newsletter may be funded by Democracy Fund. You can find a full list of the organizations here. Follow us on Twitter at @TheLocalNewsLab.