The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism have announced the creation of a $20 million fund in support of an initiative aimed at strengthening local journalism in the digital age.
Based in Philadelphia and funded equally by Knight and Lenfest, the fund will support innovation in journalism and community engagement, with a focus on U.S. metropolitan areas, where news organizations face profound challenges. The fund is designed so that individuals, corporations, and other foundations can contribute and participate, with the goal of innovating and supporting new ways for local news organizations to build trust with their audiences and boost revenue so as to secure their long-term sustainability.
Building on the Knight-Lenfest Newsroom Initiative with Temple University, the American Press Institute, Poynter Institute, and other partners, the fund will support intensive change-management training for news leaders who are committed to meeting the business and audience realities of the future and will serve as a technology resource hub, providing tools, hands-on support, and expertise in areas such as data journalism, news analytics, audience engagement, revenue modeling, and product development. The initiative will have a special focus on the news ecosystem in the Philadelphia region, where the Lenfest Institute owns the Philadelphia Inquirer and is working with dozens of news organizations and several universities.
"This initiative focuses resources on the people and projects driving transformational change in Philadelphia and around the country," said Lenfest executive director Jim Friedlich. "By strengthening local news, with a focus on high-impact journalism, civic engagement, digital transformation, and the needs of diverse audiences, we can build a sustainable future for local journalism, one community at a time."