Local Media Foundation is pleased to announce that the LMA Lab for Journalism Funding will expand in 2022, thanks to new support from the Google News Initiative.

LMA launched the lab in 2020 with initial support from Google News Initiative, and expanded in 2021 with additional support from Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Renewed support from Google News Initiative, which includes $350,000 in additional funding, will enable the lab to grow in 2022 to offer a third cohort of training for publishers, and create a new advanced fundraising lab.

Sixteen publishers raised $5 million to fund local journalism projects over the course of the first lab cohort. LMA produced a 42-page industry report, Pathways to Philanthropy, that documented the learnings from that cohort. A second cohort launched in September 2021. Twenty publishers have already raised an additional $1 million to fund local journalism initiatives.

“We’ve been thrilled with the results achieved by publishers participating in the LMA Lab for Journalism Funding,” said Chrissy Towle, head of news for Americas Partnerships Solutions at Google. “We are excited to support the expansion of the lab to help even more publishers develop new, sustainable funding sources for their essential local journalism.”

“We believe philanthropy is the most significant underdeveloped source for funding local journalism,” said Nancy Lane, CEO of Local Media Association. “That’s why we initially created the Lab for Journalism Funding. The early results exceeded our bold expectations, and we are excited to offer the lab experience to even more news organizations thanks to Google’s support.”

The Lab for Journalism Funding aims to strengthen the understanding and capabilities of local news organizations to raise funds and partner with philanthropic and community organizations to support journalism projects. The immersive lab includes a curriculum developed in collaboration with The Seattle Times, and one-on-one coaching for publishers.

The goal is to develop and share best practices that publishers can repeat to enable ongoing support for community-centered journalism efforts.

With the new GNI funding, LMA will offer a third lab cohort in Spring 2022. Applications for the third cohort will open Feb. 1. In addition, LMA will create an advanced fundraising lab for fall 2022 focused on helping publishers who have had initial fundraising success to make philanthropy a core pillar for funding journalism sustainably.

“We are finding that, across communities, the civic goals of funders and the goals of journalism are aligned,” said Frank Mungeam, chief innovation officer of LMA, who leads the lab. “Philanthropy is proving to be one pillar in a transformed business model for local news, especially as a way to fund local coverage critical to civic health.”

The Lab for Journalism Funding builds on past projects including the 2019 COVID-19 Local News Fund, which helped more than 200 publishers raise $1.6 million to support their coverage of the pandemic; the Fund for Black Journalism, which supports 10 Black publishers in Word in Black, seeks to reimagine the Black press; the Fund for Local Journalism, which supports local investigative reporting projects; and NewsFuel, a platform created by LMA to match funders with journalism projects.

About Local Media Association/Local Media Foundation

Local Media Association is a thriving and innovative organization serving more than 3,000 newspapers, TV stations, digital news sites, radio stations and research & development partners. 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. Current initiatives include: LMA Lab for Journalism Funding, Fund for Black Journalism/Word in Black, Oklahoma Media Center, Solving for Chicago, The Branded Content Project, Solving Sacramento, Local News Resource Center and much more.

About the Google News Initiative

The Google News Initiative works side-by-side with publishers and journalists to build a more sustainable, diverse and innovative news ecosystem. Through programs, products and partnerships, we strive to advance the practice of quality journalism and strengthen publisher business models in the digital age.

Since 2018, our $300 million funding commitment has supported more than 7,000 news partners in over 120 countries and territories around the world. We’ve provided training for over 400,000 journalists on skills including digital verification, data visualization, and machine learning through in-person trainings. And we have worked to bring together industry leaders around the world, cultivating a diverse news community to spur innovation and tackle pressing issues like media literacy and misinformation.