The University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism released the disturbing results of a study last month that showed more than 1,300 communities across the U.S. have lost news coverage.
According to UNC study, 20% of metro and community papers have closed or merged since 2004. Some 70% that closed were in suburban districts, while rural communities were the most likely to completely lose coverage.
NewsMatch, a player in the fight for quality journalism, just launched a matching-gift campaign, now in its third year, to offer financial support to nonprofit newsrooms across the U.S.
NewsMatch has helped nonprofit newsrooms raise more than $5 million.
Opening with an offer of more than $3 million in matching support for newsrooms, the program relies on readers to pledge financial support to local news outlets — then will double donations. The campaign runs through December 31.
This year’s NewsMatch saw additional financial support coming from the Facebook Journalism Project — which contributed $1 million — and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, adding an additional $250,000.
Backed by the Institute for Nonprofit News and the News Revenue Hub and supported by Democracy Fund, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation (through the Colorado Media Project), the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Wyncote Foundation, the 2018 campaign also saw a 40% jump in participating nonprofit news organizations,.
Each is eligible to receive a total of $25,000 in matching funds.
The jump in participants isn’t surprising. During a period when the public trust in the the media is eroding, aided by the President slamming it as "the enemy of the people," trustworthy journalism is more important than ever. Funding that journalism is a challenge.
"Now more than ever, nonprofit newsrooms across the country are filling information gaps in communities," stated Sue Cross, executive director-CEO, Institute for Nonprofit News.
This sentiment is illustrated by the news deserts springing up nationwide as newspaper conglomerates face mergers or watch their publications turn into ghost operations featuring only the scantest of local coverage.
NewsMatch’s participants are a healthy mixture of the hyper local — Flint Beat and Baltimore Brew, for example—and the well-known — Mother Jones and Grist. The result is a campaign that speaks to anyone interested in supporting quality journalism.
Cross stated: “This year’s NewsMatch campaign will enable organizations to raise critical support, which will ensure they have the resources necessary to continue to provide fact-based, local quality journalism for years to come.”