Oklahoma Media Center receives $50,000 from the Walton Family Foundation

Oklahoma Media Center, launched by Local Media Foundation with support from Inasmuch Foundation, will apply new funding to its focus on COVID-19 effects on K-12 education

(July 8, 2020) — The Oklahoma Media Center announced it will receive a grant of $50,000 from the Walton Family Foundation to support the work of the collaborative. 

The OMC launched in May after Local Media Association leaders and consultants worked with Inasmuch Foundation to develop the model and bring the local media partners together.  Inasmuch provided $50,000 initial funding for OMC, allowing OMC partners to ramp up collaborative coverage. 

Buoyed further by the WFF funding, OMC journalism efforts will focus on ways the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis have affected education in Oklahoma, from pre-kindergarten through high school levels. The project — called “Changing Course: Education and COVID” — will publish its first stories in the coming days. 

“We are thrilled to work with the Walton Family Foundation on the topic of education ,” said Nancy Lane, chief executive officer, Local Media Association/Local Media Foundation. “COVID-19 has forever changed education, especially at the K-12 level. As parents, students, teachers and staff look for information and solutions, the Oklahoma Media Center will be a leading voice exploring every angle and recommending courses of action .”

Since launch, the OMC has grown to 18 Oklahoma journalism partners, including newspapers, broadcasters and digital news outlets: Big If True, OU Student Media, Griffin Communications, KOSU, KFOR, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma Watch, KGOU, StateImpact Oklahoma, Curbside Chronicle, Tulsa World, Oklahoma Eagle, Oklahoma City Free Press, The Luther Register, Nondoc, CNHI, Telemundo Oklahoma, and Center for Independent Journalism.

The OMC partners have developed a set of topic ideas, within the overall education scope, for initial investigation and reporting, including:

  • Technology and the digital divide
  • Curriculum and teaching approach
  • Extracurricular activities and socialization 
  • Funding and spending
  • Physical and mental health 
  • Effects of housing dislocation 
  • Effects on non-traditional education modes

The Oklahoma Media Center is in talks with other funders and expects to announce more support soon. LMA will share learnings with the industry every step of the way, Lane said. 

About Local Media Association/Local Media Foundation

Local Media Association (https://www.localmedia.org/) is a thriving and innovative organization serving more than 3,000 newspapers, TV stations, digital news sites, radio stations and research & development partners. LMA is the only industry trade organization that brings all local media together for the purpose of sharing, networking, collaborating and learning. The association’s focus is on reinventing business models for news. LMA’s innovation engine, Accelerate Local, launched six projects in 2019 with 50 different media partners and three projects so far in 2020, including the COVID-19 local news fund, the Oklahoma Media Center and the news collaborative in Chicago. Local Media Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable trust that supports the mission of LMA and the essential role of local news and information in a healthy democracy. 


Nancy Lane, Chief Executive Officer, Local Media Foundation, nancy.lane@localmedia.org