Report for America, Local Media Association announce partnership to advance newsroom sustainability

Report for America, Local Media Association and Meta Journalism Project announced a new partnership to catalyze philanthropic and business model innovation for local newsrooms. 

Support from Meta Journalism Project will enable Report for America and Local Media Association to offer 20 local newsrooms a six-month best practices course on philanthropy, grants, membership and subscriptions, branded content and more.

Newsrooms will be selected through a competitive process from the Report for America network, which now includes over 200 newsrooms across all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. 

The curriculum will be based on lessons learned from the Local Media Association’s Pathways to Philanthropy Playbook, Branded Content Project and Reader Revenue programs. The program will also leverage Report for America’s track record of supporting and training local newsroom leaders to venture into local fundraising, often for the first time. 

The announcement comes at a critical time when newsrooms across the country are facing record breaking demand for local news content, and are looking for creative new ways to bolster their business models and sustain quality coverage for their communities. 

“We’re excited to share Local Media Association’s expertise on philanthropy and revenue strategies with these Report for America news partners,” said Frank Mungeam, chief innovation officer of Local Media Association. “Report for America has a great track record of placing reporters in newsrooms where they are needed most, and together we can develop sustainable business models to continue that essential work.”

Meta’s support will also fuel Report for America’s broader local sustainability work, leveraging an innovative funding match model. Report for America pays half of a corps member’s salary in the first year of the program, while coaching its local news organization partners to raise the other half from local supporters. Over the last three years, Report for America has enabled local newsrooms to generate more than $10 million in local philanthropy to support community news. 

“Meta’s partnerships with Report for America and the Local Media Association are deeply important. This new effort will focus on helping local news organizations build more profitable businesses, ultimately allowing them to better inform their audiences which is more critical than ever,” said Campbell Brown, VP Global News Partnerships, at Meta.

In addition to supporting this critical business model sustainability work, Meta Journalism Project will also provide support to Report for America’s placement of more than 30 critical statehouse reporting positions across the country through its new $1 million gift. 

“Every day, decisions that impact our lives happen in state capitols, and yet this kind of local news coverage has also been decimated,” said Steve Waldman, president and co-founder of Report for America. “Without high-quality state government coverage, communities suffer lower voting turnout, higher polarization, fewer local election candidate choices, and even greater corruption. Dramatically boosting statehouse coverage is essential to a more engaged democracy.”

About Report for America

Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities. Launched in 2017 by the nonprofit The GroundTruth Project, Report for America is a new, sustainable model that provides Americans with the information they need to improve their communities and hold powerful institutions accountable.

About Local Media Association

Local Media Association brings all media together to share, network, collaborate and more. More than 3,000 newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, digital-only publications, and research and development partners engage with LMA as members or constituents of our programs. As a 501(c)(6) trade association, LMA is focused on the business side of local media. Its programs and labs focus on revenue growth and new business models. LMA helps local media companies develop their strategies via cutting-edge programs, conferences, webinars, research and training.

About Meta Journalism Project

The Meta Journalism Project works with publishers around the world to strengthen the connection between journalists and the communities they serve. It also helps address the news industry’s core business challenges.