At a time when political polarization is growing and fraudulent news is spreading, a shared baseline of facts on the issues that most directly affect Americans is more essential than ever. Without reliable information on how tax dollars are spent, how federal policy affects local communities, and whether local elected officials are meeting constituent needs, how can citizens make informed choices about who should govern?We’re one of 198 nonprofit newsrooms nationwide to participate in NewsMatch, the largest grassroots fundraising campaign to support nonprofit news organizations. NewsMatch is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Democracy Fund, Facebook Journalism Project, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Natasha and Dirk Ziff, and Present Progressive Fund at Schwab Charitable, in partnership with The Miami Foundation, the Institute for Nonprofit News and the News Revenue Hub. REI Co-op recently announced new first-time support to NewsMatch. Here’s what we plan to do with our funding this year:
- Podcasting equipment that will allow us to produce a weekly podcast for local nonprofit organizations to showcase their efforts and opportunities.
- Additional reporters to amplify our coverage.
- A website redesign that will add significant functionality and fundraising tools, while eliminating the need for a standalone app. This year’s fundraising efforts will help defray that cost, which is significant.
- We also pledge to continue our local high school sports coverage, which is funded in part, but not wholly, through sponsorships.
A study this year by the News Measures Research Project at Duke University found that fewer local news stories are produced than you might think. Analyzing more than 16,000 stories from 100 U.S. communities, researchers found that only about 17 percent of the stories are actually about the municipality or take place there.A new report from Pen America, Losing the News, echoes our call to action. The report concludes that reinvigorating local watchdog reporting will require concerted action and an investment of billions of dollars across the philanthropic, private, and public sector. Given the vital role that local news plays as a cornerstone of American democracy, its plight should be the subject of national conversation. Yet most Americans do not yet realize that their local news sources are on the brink of collapse and only a small minority pay for local news. Please consider supporting our effort by donating in any amount before the campaign ends at midnight. Thank you for your gracious support. We look forward to an even more robust 2020.