LMA to manage the news collaborative and innovation fund through 2021
Inasmuch Foundation and Local Media Association joined forces to launch the Oklahoma Media Center in May during the early months of COVID 19. Four months later, 18 local media organizations that serve Oklahoma City and Tulsa have come together to form a close-knit partnership.
To date, they have published a few dozen stories on the impact of the pandemic on K-12 education in the state of Oklahoma. The group is not only focused on great journalism, they are also intensely focused on business transformation. A recent session with Daniel Oshinsky, who led the newsletter strategy at BuzzFeed, focused on how OMC members could grow their newsletter subscribers and improve open rates.
Inasmuch Foundation provided the funding for the first four months to get the collaborative up and running. Today the foundation announced a significant investment to fund the collaborative through the end of 2021. The funding will provide a local team to lead the journalism efforts – project manager, data journalist and community relations manager. LMA will manage the business transformation strategy, working with all 18 media partners on their business KPIs, and providing training and one-on-one coaching. An innovation fund will be available to members of the Oklahoma Media Center to test and experiment with new business models. The funding also covers the creation of a website and filing for 501(c)(3) non-profit tax status.
“We are inspired by how quickly everyone came together to launch the Oklahoma Media Center and the great journalism already being produced,” said Tyler Tokarczyk, program officer, Inasmuch Foundation. “We are excited to make this next level of investment that will take this collaborative to a whole new level. The innovation fund will allow the OMC media partners to test, learn and share with each other and the industry.”
The Walton Family Foundation also invested in the Oklahoma Media Center and is supporting the group’s work on education reporting. Other funders are also looking at this model in Oklahoma and asking how they can support it.
“We are bullish on the concept of ‘news collaborative meets business transformation,’” said Nancy Lane, chief executive officer, Local Media Association. “We believe the Oklahoma Media Center will be one of the gold standards in the industry when it comes to this strategy. We are extremely grateful to Inasmuch Foundation for investing in this concept. They are not passive funders — they are with us every step of the way, participating on calls and helping wherever possible. It makes a huge difference.”
Since launch, the OMC has grown to 18 Oklahoma journalism partners, including newspapers, broadcasters and digital news sites: 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.
Recent stories produced by the group include:
- A joint story by The Oklahoman and StateImpact, Oklahoma school COVID-19 guidelines widely ignored in rural districts
- From The Frontier, Schools become a new COVID-19 ‘super spreader’ as classes resume
- From The Norman Transcript, a CNHI publication, State’s school bus driver shortage getting worse
- From Griffin Communications’ News9, Normalcy not normal For students during the COVID-19 pandemic
For more information, contact Nancy Lane at firstname.lastname@example.org
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