The Baltimore Institute For Nonprofit Journalism Six Months In
The Baltimore Institute For Nonprofit Journalism has been busy putting your donations to good use and fighting for journalism.
Founded with help from the Boston Institute For Nonprofit Journalism, following the announcement that um, tronc, would close Baltimore City Paper and The Marc Steiner Show would no longer air on WEAA, BINJ-Baltimore quickly raised about $10,000 via IndieGoGo, a happy hour event, and direct donations to our fiscal sponsor The Center For Emerging Media.
Our “guerrilla newsroom raiding the ruins of corporate media and fixing Baltimore’s media desert” immediately began funding journalism with the money raised. Because as we promised, “all the money we raise — except processing fees and that sort of bullshit — goes to producing journalism.”
We have helped produce three projects so far.
The Writers In Baltimore Schools issue of Baltimore City Paper: In August of 2017, BINJ cofounder Brandon Soderberg and Lisa Snowden McCray, then community coordinator for the Baltimore Sun and now editor-in-chief of Baltimore Beat, worked with students from Writers in Baltimore Schools and assigned a series of reported profiles of Baltimoreans such as Marc Steiner, Rev. Heber Brown, Dr. Floyd Hayes, and Lester Spence. Those profiles and others, along with poetry and prose from Writers in Baltimore Schools students were published in a September 2017 issue of Baltimore City Paper.
True Laurels #03: The third issue of Baltimore journalist Lawrence Burney’s music and culture zine True Laurels released in December 2017 was partially funded by a BINJ grant. With help from BINJ, the writers, designers, and photographers who contributed to True Laurels were more robustly compensated for their work. Issue three features stories on “Fast Life” rapper Lor Choc, rap trio Peso Da Mafia best known for “Money Man,” and rapper Young Moose and his encounters with federally-indicted Baltimore Police officer Daniel Hersl (first published in VICE), and more.
The City That Hoops Volume 1 (out Feb. 19): The first volume of photographer and journalist Reginald Thomas II’s The City That Hoops was fully funded by BINJ. The project originated as weekly column on basketball in Baltimore but that got scrapped after it became clear Thomas’ literary ambitions and eye for the beauty of hooping demanded something larger. The result is a 128-page, photo-heavy magazine documenting Baltimore’s basketball culture. Volume 1 features a note from the NBA’s Will Barton, poetry from Tariq Touré, player/organizer profiles (Brunson League’s Sean Brunson, former Minnesota Lynx forward Asya Bussie, Darussafaka Instanbul forward Stanton Kidd), and Thomas’s award-winning photo series documenting the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute’s championship year, and more.
Meanwhile, BINJ cofounders Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner continued the Democracy In Crisis podcast and The Marc Steiner Show became a weekly podcast, and Woods and Soderberg helped establish a new for-profit alternative weekly.
The result of their work is Baltimore Beat which launched November 15, 2017, just two weeks after Baltimore City Paper’s final issue. The Baltimore Beat was founded by Brown-Naff-Pits Omnimedia (the people behind the Washington Blade and the Los Angeles Blade) and works closely with video news nonprofit The Real News Network (who also provide reporters, reporting resources and office space). Baltimore Beat is co-run by Lisa Snowden-McCray as EIC and Maura Callahan as deputy editor, with Soderberg serving as its news editor and Woods, who is now a reporter/editorial director for The Real News Network as a liaison between Baltimore Beat and The Real News Network.
Over the past six months, BINJ has provided a model here in Baltimore for news organizations to work together rather than compete. The future of journalism is community-oriented, collaborative news that is independent and decentralized.
With the money we have raised that’s left, we’ll fund an essay on the history of Mondawmin Mall by Patrick Oray, a portrait of Baltimore gangs by Eze Jackson, and a podcasting workshop including some free recording time.
BINJ is also planning an introductory Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA)/Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) session for journalists, and a “pop-up newsroom” to let students in Baltimore discuss problems in the city schools, advocate for change, and speak directly to reporters and residents.
Look out for our second round of fundraising via IndieGoGo soon. For now, if you would like help BINJ, please donate directly to the Center For Emerging Media and put “BINJ” in the notes so CEM knows its for BINJ.
Press for the Baltimore Institute For Nonprofit Journalism: Baltimore Business Journal; Baltimore Magazine; Columbia Journalism Review; Editor And Publisher; Forbes; The Guardian; Nonprofit Quarterly; Poynter; the Washington Post.
Contact us at BINJ.Baltimore@gmail.com.