Giving Compass' Take:

• The American Journalism Project (AJP) is aiming to scale nonprofit journalism by taking a venture philanthropy approach to funding. 

• How might this change or alter nonprofit journalism? What should these newsrooms be mindful of when it comes to venture capital funding? 

• Read about charitable giving and nonprofit journalism. 

The American Journalism Project (AJP) is a new initiative with the goal of scaling sustainable business models for nonprofit newsrooms. AJP pledges to provide growth capital and intensive coaching and eventually catalyze $1 billion in annual financial support for independent local news.

AJP has raised $400,000 to date from two sources so far, a mere down-payment on its audacious goal to raise $50 million to support 25 to 35 local news outlets that will implement “sophisticated commercial media strategy and tactics supported by a step-function increase in journalism philanthropy.”

The need for local news to support and strengthen democracy is something regularly examined by NPQ (and here) and by many others. Access to local news is a public good that benefits all. This type of community-based information is at once the most at-risk and the most necessary to nurture an informed and engaged citizenry.

In its funding, AJP is applying a “venture philanthropy” approach that comes high levels of funding with hands-on education and mentorship.

But there are many questions in our minds as we consider this model. Do we really want “patrons” of these new democratic entities to step in to remold the field we have fought so hard to create after turning loose the last set of capital holders? Is that better for democracy than just giving nonprofits healthy multiyear grants and pointing them towards their colleagues at the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN)?

Read the full article about nonprofit journalism by Jim Schaffer at Nonprofit Quarterly