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View of Santa Fe from Sun Mountain (photo by Mark Glaser)

New Mexico Local News Fund’s Revenue Initiative gave grants, consulting to 9 publishers throughout the state

Over the past few years, my work supporting local news has been from a 30,000-foot national view. I’ve supported associations such as LION Publishers and the Institute for Nonprofit News and their annual events. I’ve written a number of stories for Knight Foundation about the growing need for more funders and foundations to support local news. …


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Initiatives utilizing the Citizens Agenda, reporter training, fighting misinformation made a big difference in a challenging election year for local news

Imagine being a local reporter covering elections in 2020. Your news organization is probably struggling to cover the pandemic, racial justice protests, and every local election measure and candidate while also losing ad revenues. Even the work of being a reporter is challenging in these times of COVID-19, where you must be masked and socially distanced while covering events in person. …


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Foundations, donors around the country step up to support local news in its hour of need

In the past few years, there has been a concerted effort to frame local news as a public good, as a new target for philanthropic giving, and as a must-have for every local community that values accurate and timely news and information. That effort has never been more crucial than today, in the midst of a pandemic, racial unrest and an election season swimming in misinformation.

So it’s heartening to see the growth of support for local news — nonprofits and for profits — from foundations and donors around the country. Local foundations who had largely been on the sidelines have been instrumental in supporting new journalism collaborations in Wichita, New Hampshire, Northeast Ohio, Western New York and Southeastern Michigan. And high-net worth individuals have given generously to publishers who have fundraised for Report for America (RFA) corps members to cover their communities. …


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Image by Vanilla Bear Films on Unsplash

The annual matching campaign helped newsrooms weather the pandemic and make an impact in their communities.

While business models for newspapers deteriorate and many local news outlets continue to struggle to cover their communities, the rise of nonprofit news has been astonishing. These outlets have picked up the slack with growing numbers of local reporters covering hard-hitting topics, especially during the pandemic and unprecedented racial protests and unrest.

As these upstarts grow, they have also become less dependent on foundations for revenues, instead raising more money directly from their audiences. The latest INN Index from the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) found that for the first time a majority of INN members received less than half their revenues from foundations. …


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Even in a downturn, journalists are finding success with paid newsletters, texting, patronage and more

In a time of decline for American news, beset by losses due to the pandemic and internal strife from the racial justice reckoning, some online platforms are offering up compensation for journalists who are savvy subject matter experts. Tiny Letter and Substack have created a boom of “single operator newsletters,” while Subtext lets reporters create subscription text services for those who really want the inside scoop. And patronage services led by Patreon let fans kick in one-time or monthly payments to support their favorite writers.

Coming on strong is the new social network Voice, with $150 million in funding, and a goal of authenticating all its users to remove trolls, bots and other bad actors. Voice is working to entice journalists and local online news outlets to join its platform, with the promise of a blockchain token that is awarded from engagement metrics. …

Mark Glaser

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