Giving Compass' Take:

• Media Impact Funders reports on grants from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan to help support local journalism, increasing capacity for outlets and building trust.

• Could the effort described be a model for other small organizations around the country who want to have an impact on media? Does your region's community foundation support local journalism? 

• Read about reimagining local journalism as a tool for community change.

In 2013, the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy, and local media organizations struggled to stay afloat. In this turmoil, residents did not have access to high-quality journalism to meet their information needs, and the strain on journalism organizations made it difficult for them to make financial investment necessary for long-term investigative and accountability reporting. In response to the situation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation funded the creation of the Detroit Journalism Cooperative (DJC) — a collaborative reporting project that includes Detroit Public Television (DPTV), Detroit Public Radio (WDET), Michigan Radio, New Michigan Media, the Center for Michigan’s Bridge Magazine, and Chalkbeat Detroit—to report on “the city’s future after bankruptcy with stories that have never been told before — on-air, online and in the community.”

From 2013 to 2017, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM) — which, at the time, did not fund journalism—observed the DJC’s reporting in Detroit and recognized the value of innovative journalism in the community. So, in an effort to contribute to the work, in 2017 CFSEM established the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund, in partnership with the Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Read the full article about impact lessons from a local journalism investor by Lindsay Green-Barber at Media Impact Funders.