(October 27, 2022) — Local Media Association is pleased to announce the news organizations that will participate in the third cohort of its Lab for Journalism Funding. The lab will help these local news organizations develop and execute strategies to fund essential local journalism via philanthropy. The six-month immersive lab runs from November 2022 through April 2023.
The lab, a project of Local Media Foundation, is operated by LMA with continued support from the Google News Initiative. Since its launch in September 2020, the lab has trained and coached 55 publishers, helping them raise more than $11 million to fund community service journalism. LMA published a 42-page report, Pathways to Philanthropy, to share lessons learned and best practices with the news industry.
“We are excited to welcome this latest cohort,” said Frank Mungeam, chief innovation officer at Local Media Association. “The lab has a proven track record, and we are excited to help these news organizations find funding as one way to sustain civic journalism and a healthy local news ecosystem.”
“The Google News Initiative works to support a thriving local news ecosystem, and we are excited for this third cohort of news publishers in the LMA Lab for Journalism Funding to develop new, sustainable funding sources for their essential local journalism,” said Chrissy Towle, head of Associations and Ecosystems, Americas at Google.
The newsrooms accepted into the third cohort include a diverse set of publishers in small and large markets, with a strong representation of family-owned outlets and publishers who focus on traditionally underserved audiences. The cohort also includes two local broadcast news organizations. These news outlets share a commitment to local journalism that serves audiences in their communities. LMA asked leaders at these news outlets to share their goals for joining the lab.
Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
“We’ve watched with admiration as our peers have built philanthropic strategies to help them invest in journalism and connect more deeply with their communities. Many of them have been graduates of this lab! We’re grateful for a chance to learn from the incredible community LMA has assembled as we begin to explore what philanthropy means for us.”
— Chase Davis, deputy managing editor, Star Tribune
Latino News Network
“The diversity of revenue sources for news outlets has grown significantly. With so many options, creating a sustainable news model can be daunting. The Latino News Network is grateful to be part of the LMA Lab for Journalism Funding, a program that I’m confident will help us develop strong competencies in harnessing local philanthropy to support reporting projects.”
— Hugo Balta, owner/publisher, Latino News Network
Real Times Media
“With a mission to restore trust and reclaim the impact of local media, we are continually evaluating and adapting our business model to ensure sustainability. With philanthropy proving to be a growing and stable source of funding for local news, I am eager to learn from and collaborate with this cohort of industry leaders to develop strategies to refine and amplify our fundraising model. I believe that this experience will be transformational for our business.”
— Hiram E. Jackson, CEO, Real Times Media
WRAL (Raleigh, North Carolina)
“WRAL is thrilled to be one of the first television stations to participate in the Lab for Journalism Funding. Our experience with the Local Media Association has been so fruitful, and I’m looking forward to continue growing that relationship. Learning about new funding modes is an important part of the growth of journalism, and WRAL is proud to be part of this cohort.”
— Ashley Talley, enterprise executive producer, WRAL News
Long Beach Post (California)
“Our team here at the Long Beach Post is looking forward to learning how to best leverage all of the funding resources available to us. We are particularly interested in gaining insights on how to forge and maintain strong relationships with individual donors with the means to make larger donations as well as with our local community foundation. We are also excited to add some new tools and techniques to our fundraising toolbox to strengthen our pitch.”
— Atira Rodriguez, director of membership, Long Beach Post
North County Informador (California)
“The North County Informador is excited to participate in the LMA Lab for Journalism Funding. The Latino communities we serve in North County San Diego are an underserved population not covered by other media outlets. Our goal is to define each of the Latino communities in the North County and discover where they turn for resources. This effort will result in a multi-issue series of features on the communities. Our team is enthusiastic about working with the LMA Lab for Journalism Funding as we maneuver through this process.”
— Kirk Whisler, publisher, North County Informador;
and Melanie Slone, editor-in-chief, North County Informador
“Epicenter has cultivated a unique approach to work with New York-area artists in a way that supports our journalism on multiple levels. In turn, we support this essential community with micro-grants, curation, media exposure, group shows. We’ve only just begun. The Zip code we operate from is one of the most diverse on the planet with over 167 languages spoken. I’m excited to work with LMA to realize ideas for other ways news and information can draw inspiration from art, and raise funds for more projects and impactful storytelling.”
— Nitin Mukul, creative director and co-founder, Epicenter
King 5 (Seattle)
“Inclusive journalism, when done well, can help us understand each other, our challenges, and solutions. I’m excited to explore ways to expand and amplify the great work local journalists are doing in our communities every day.”
— Julie Wolfe, news director, KING 5 Media Group
“For several years we have talked internally about developing a capability for philanthropic fundraising. We believe the lab will jumpstart our thought process and take us from talking about the importance of this topic to executing on it strategically.”
— Jon K. Rust, president, Rust Communications
Euclid Media Group
“We are thrilled to be selected as participants in LMA’s Journalism Funding Lab and cannot wait to deploy the collective wisdom and fundraising strategies in Tampa Bay.”
— James Howard, publisher, Tampa Creative Loafing
J. The Jewish News of Northern California
“We at J. The Jewish News of Northern California are so excited to build on the success we’ve had in the world of Jewish philanthropy to develop our ability to tell our story to journalism and other secular funders. The LMA team has such a strong track record that we know they will get us there!”
— Allison Green, development director, The Jewish News of Northern California
St. Louis Magazine
“We couldn’t be more excited about being part of the Lab for Journalism Funding. This cohort presents an opportunity to build on our mission of providing comprehensive, solutions-oriented community journalism to our readers. We believe that philanthropy can serve as a pillar in supporting and expanding the impact of our community journalism in St Louis. LMA’s work in this area has been impressive. We feel fortunate to participate in the program and to contribute to its continued learnings.”
— Matt Coen, managing partner, SLM Media Group
The Des Moines Register (Iowa)
“Our communities need good journalism, and producing it demands consistent, sustainable funding. I’m convinced the way forward will require tapping a variety of funding sources. Editors here at The Des Moines Register look forward to learning more about how to do that.”
— Carol Hunter, executive editor, The Des Moines Register, Gannett
The Times Weekly – Joliet Times Weekly, Inc. (Illinois)
“What I’m most excited about accomplishing over the next months through my participation in the lab is the understanding of journalism funding by philanthropy. With this knowledge we will have the ability to expand editorially writing in-depth stories that impact the communities we serve.”
— Jayme Cain Casimere, publisher, The Times Weekly
The Washington Informer
“The Washington Informer is grateful and honored to be a part of the LMI Journalism Funding Lab. As publisher, I realize that journalism funding is a new revenue opportunity for media organizations like ours. There is sufficient evidence to prove that many publishers have had overwhelming success through their participation in the lab.
We look forward to joining their ranks as we strive to sustain The Washington Informer and continue to deliver credible and trusted news and information to our readers.”
— Denise Rolark Barnes, publisher, The Washington Informer
Newsrooms will receive one-on-one coaching from our team of coaches, including Joaquin Alvarado, Joanne Heyman, Sam Johnston and our newest coach, Jennifer Preston, formerly vice president of news for the Knight Foundation.
The third cohort of the LMA Lab for Journalism Funding will run from November to March, with fundraising to be completed by June 30, 2023. LMA will publish case studies on publisher lessons and successes from the lab that can be applied across the news industry.