Giving Compass' Take:

• Sam Kille spotlights the recent success of local fundraising for newsrooms in hiring journalists and providing reliable reporting.

• Why is local fundraising for newsrooms so important in keeping the integrity of small-scale reporting? How can you support local journalism? 

• Read more about how local fundraising for newsrooms is important in creating trustworthy reporting.

Local news has been gasping for air for several years now, exasperated by shrinking advertising revenue, and more recently, the coronavirus. Yet Report for America’s Todd Franko has more than two million reasons to be grateful this year—$2.1 million, to be specific.

Franko is leading efforts to help partner newsrooms raise funds locally to support the hiring of emerging journalists who are focused on reporting under-covered issues. In 2019, Report for America helped its partners raise more than $800,000. Now at $2.1 million to date, it is on track to quickly surpass this year’s goal of $2.5 million.

The biggest challenge, Franko says, is that with the exception of nonprofit newsrooms like public radio, fundraising is a new source of revenue for many newsrooms. Additionally, many potential funders are unaware of just how badly local news is struggling.

Report for America helps its partners overcome this by providing fundraising coaching and marketing materials. Additionally, Report for America is an initiative of the GroundTruth Project, a nonprofit media organization that acts as the fiscal sponsor for the newsrooms. One hundred percent of all donations and sponsorships GroundTruth receives for local newsrooms directly support reporting for their communities.

As important as the donations are, Franko finds equal gratification in the messages that often accompany the gifts of individual donors about what motivates their support.

“Comments that come in with donations show that regular America gets it. People see what is happening at national and local levels, and they are able to connect the dots back to lost reporting in their communities. They want it back,” he said.

Read the full article about local funding for newsrooms by Sam Kille at Report for America.