At least 13 organizations, including local news outlets, technology startups, and community organizations, were selected by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism for its latest grants, totaling $475,000.
The Institute, which owns Philadelphia Media Network — the publisher of the Inquirer, the Daily News, and Philly.com — said in a statement Tuesday that the grants are aimed at fulfilling its mission of “supporting sustainable models for local journalism and information in service of democratic society.”
The news comes weeks after cutbacks and layoffs were announced at multiple news organizations across the country, including the Dallas Morning News; Gannett Co., the large newspaper publisher; BuzzFeed; and HuffPost. Local news organizations have been struggling to adapt as advertising dollars move to the web — a market dominated by Google and Facebook — as readers increasingly read news online.
The institute said its business model challenge grants will fund projects that focus on reader-supported revenue such as subscriptions and memberships, or by creating revenue streams that capitalize on the trust and expertise of journalism organizations. The knowledge gleaned from these efforts, the institute hopes, can be widely adopted to sustain journalism in the region and around the United States.
The seven selected for the inaugural the business model challenge grants are:
All the business model challenge grantees received $50,000 except for the AP/Newsday project, which received $25,000.
The collaboration grant program is also designed to bring together civic organizations and news outlets to work on projects that serve communities in the Philadelphia region. The six partnerships chosen for the inaugural $25,000 grants include: