News Match, a national campaign dedicated to supporting quality local journalism through fundraising, announced a round of new major supporters in a banner year for the initiative.
Founded in 2016 to encourage grassroots support for journalism, News Match runs from October 1 through December 31.
In its first year, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation dedicated $1.2 million in matching funds, while news organizations raised more than $8 million.
In 2017, three organizations, The Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, each donated $1 million, with several other organizations offering matching funding.
News Match partners with the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) and the News Revenue Hub. This year’s drive is expected to nearly doubled participation from newsrooms in 2016. More than 100 newsrooms are slated to raise at least $6 million before the year’s end.
During the pledge period, donors and newsrooms raise matching funds. Through newsmatch.org, donors can peruse a list of approved news outlets by location and topic, then choose where their dollars go via one donation. The money is spent on everything from improving the technology of nonprofit newsrooms to hiring more reporters, editors and support staff to paying for in-depth training.
According to Josh Stearns, associate director of the Public Square Program at the Democracy Fund, the site is “the only time there’s ever been one hub where you can donate to five or six places at once.”
INN will maintain the News Match site year round, allowing journalists, nonprofits, or anyone looking to start their own venture access to webinars, toolkits and resources.
Four new foundations recently partnered with News Match to sustain the growing momentum. They include The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation with a contribution of $100,000, The Wyncote Foundation with $10,000, the News Integrity Initiative with $50,000, and the Gates Family Foundation, which is matching donations up to $10,000 to Chalkbeat, a Colorado-based nonprofit focused on educational reporting.
In an era where funding for newsrooms is reaching new lows and the number of unemployed journalists is rising, News Match is on a mission to turn the tide.
“It’s really unprecedented to see nationals funders come together on a local level to support investigative journalism,” Stearns says. “But to see local donors come forward means their relationships will last longer than any campaign will."