Funding Outside the Box: Alternative sources for sustainable news operations

Jennifer Preston (moderator), Annie Madonia, Fraser Nelson and Tim Ritchey
Jennifer Preston (moderator), Annie Madonia, Fraser Nelson and Tim Ritchey
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 Featured Mega-Conference session

With newspapers' traditional advertising revenue in decline, publishers are looking to new ways to fund the journalism vital to this democratic society.

Next Monday afternoon, Mega-Conference attendees will hear about the latest responses to this need for funding, including the way Utah's largest newspaper became recognized as a non-profit eligible for tax-deductible donations and a newly-announced initiative by The Fresno Bee.

Jennifer Preston, vice president of the Knight Foundation, will be the moderator for this panel.  Before joining the Knight Foundation in October 2014, she was an award-winning journalist for The New York Times for almost 19 years, with broad experience as a digital journalist, reporter and senior editor. In 2009 she became the company’s first social media editor. In 2011 she returned to a reporting role where she focused on the impact of social media in politics, government, business and real life.

Panelists are:

  • Annie Madonia, chief advancement officer of The Lenfest Institute for Journalism
  • Fraser Nelson, vice president of business innovation, The Salt Lake Tribune
  • Tim Ritchey, president and publisher, The Fresno Bee

Madonia said the founder of The Lenfest Institute believed that local newspapers are a civic and community treasure and should be supported by philanthropy in the same way a community supports its hospitals, libraries and museums.  "To be successful, however," Madonia said, "we must embrace  a new way of thinking and working — philanthropy is not a transaction.  It’s a relationship."

Nelson said, "We don’t have to tell America’s newspapers that the loss of a community’s newspaper tears a hole in its civic and democratic fabric. The Salt Lake Tribune is pioneering a new nonprofit model that we believe can serve as a model for others. We look forward to sharing how we made this decision, the model, what we have learned so far, and what we anticipate in the coming year."

Passionate about the role a free and independent press plays in the health of a community, Ritchey is deeply committed to public service journalism that leads to informed citizens and transparency in government. 

Most recently he has played a key role in developing and launching two journalism labs — partnerships between The Fresno Bee, philanthropy and the local community.  These efforts will bring eight additional journalists focused on advancing solutions in key areas including education, land use, water and the environment.  He also is actively supporting similar efforts at other McClatchy markets.

See what else awaits you at the Mega-Conference in Fort Worth here.

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