2023 has not been kind to the balance sheets of media companies. In the notoriously challenging business of local news, even for-profit and nonprofit regional heavyweights looked to as the industry’s bright spots have announced layoffs this summer, a grim addendum to the big picture of the losses of well over 2,000 local newspapers since 2005.

Amidst those losses, though, there’s another trend intensifying: an uptick in philanthropic funding flowing to both for-profit and nonprofit local news. On Thursday, 22 organizations, led by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, launched a nonpartisan national initiative called Press Forward that aims to turbocharge that trend: The coalition has pledged to invest an eye-popping $500 million into the local news ecosystem over the next five years, focused on “building out the infrastructure of local news,” supporting local news organizations that have earned community trust, and shrinking inequities in journalism practice and coverage, per a press release. Press Forward, a massive philanthropic coordination effort in support of local news, has an ambitious goal: to “reverse the dramatic decline in local news,” and in doing so, “boost community, civic participation, and strengthen democracy.”

The 22 initial funders include the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, several other major foundations, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, and democracy-focused organizations, and will collaborate with the bipartisan initiative More Perfect. With this initiative, many of the funders are channeling their resources into journalism for the first time, and hope to inspire others to jump onboard: The coalition “welcomes and continues to invite additional funders to enhance nonprofit, public, and for-profit news and information.”

Read the full article about philanthropy and local news by Sophie Culpepper at Nieman Lab.