New fund gives $20 million to local journalism

On Sunday evening, the Knight Foundation and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism announced a Philadelphia-based local journalism accelerator. (Disclosure: Knight and Lenfest are both Poynter funders, and Knight helps fund my coverage of local news.)

The fund, according to a press release, will:

  • Support a hub where local newsrooms can share technology and resources around issues including audience engagement, analytics and revenue models

  • Support leadership programs for new leaders in local news

  • Use Philadelphia, where Lenfest has invested in creating a local news ecosystem, as a place to test new ideas

“This initiative focuses resources on the people and projects driving transformational change in Philadelphia and around the country,” said Jim Friedlich, executive director of The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, in the press release. “By strengthening local news, with a focus on high-impact journalism, civic engagement, digital transformation, and the needs of diverse audiences, we can build a sustainable future for local journalism, one community at a time.” 

The new fund builds on past and current work from both organizations toward transforming local journalism. Those include the Community Listening and Engagement Fund, a local news business model challenge and the Table Stakes project, which has worked with metro and small local newsrooms (including in Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia, Houston and Seattle,) to help them transform for digital times. Poynter and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are both partners in that project. 

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