How the Knight News Match is helping nonprofit news organizations reach their goals

Journalism / Article

At a time when there is growing concern about fake news and citizens living in their own echo chambers, people are searching for trusted journalism outlets to provide answers and context. Quality journalism matters more than ever. The Knight News Match was born with this in mind. Launched on Monday, the initiative, which allows individuals to double their impact to nonprofit news organizations, is showing strong early results, providing nonprofit news organizations with the funding they need.

The News Match is a commitment from Knight to match up to $25,000 in donations to 57 select nonprofit news organizations through Jan. 19, 2017. It reinforces Knight’s long history of supporting nonprofit news organizations. It also recognizes that without journalists doing deep reporting around complex issues and monitoring data, those in power, those who manage public funds, those who build their wealth from promises to our citizenry are left unchecked.

While there is still time to give, we wanted to share some of the success stories we’ve seen in just four days. Multiple nonprofit news organizations are reporting increases in contributions and in new donors, and discussing the impact this funding will have on their work.

VT Digger, based in Montpelier, Vermont, was the first to report they had raised $27,000 dollars in individual donations, exceeding the match goal by Wednesday.  

David Sassoon, of Inside Climate News, told us within hours after the matching fund was announced: “A first donation for $1000 has been received.” Two days later, in an email he said: “People seem to love doubling their money.”

At Chalkbeat, Elizabeth Green said they managed to raise $7,000 on Monday alone, well above the regular pace.

Many of these organizations are using this as an opportunity to discuss the impact of their reporting on local communities, as Orange County’s Norberto Santana, the founder of the Voice of OC, did in this video.

At the Texas Tribune, Evan Smith wrote how contributions and Knight’s dollars will pay for “the hard and important work produced by the Trib’s newsroom each day: beat and investigative reporting, data visualizations, editorial events and the like.”

Nonprofit news organizations are consistently delivering journalism in the public interest—like Michigan Radio’s coverage of the Flint water crisis, Georgia Public Broadcasting’s untold stories of the Civil Rights Movement and Charlottesville Tomorrow’s coverage of growing arts-related STEM programming. WLRN’s breakdown of the local ballots in the recent election in Florida and City Limits’ features on the future of New York neighborhoods’ zoning laws are all examples of journalism that has engaged residents to improve their collective fates.

Knight released a refreshed strategy last week where our president, Alberto Ibarguen, emphasized the importance of journalistic excellence. For more than a decade, Knight has funded nonprofit journalism outlets. Their work in the public interest is increasingly valuable to communities and a functioning democracy.

Perhaps the best way to understand the impact of a nonprofit news organization on a community is to listen to the donors and readers explain why they gave. Here’s a couple from MinnPost this week.  

This money was a gift for my boss that my co-workers and I gave him for Christmas. He reads MinnPost daily and strongly supports independent news. A perfect gift for someone who already has everything and doesn’t want more “stuff.” – Molly Murphy, St. Paul

Having moved out of Minnesota, I enjoy following local issues on MinnPost. Your writers provide excellent coverage of local, regional and national issues! – Todd Jacobson, Upper Arlington, Ohio

We need honest and good journalism now more than ever and we need to protect our rights under the First Amendment now more than ever. – Donna Chicone, Woodbury

There is still time to give, as the matching fund program runs through Jan. 19, 2017. Most news outlets have a long way to go to reach their $25,000 goal. You can find here which of the 57 organizations that you would like to support.

Karen Rundlet is a program officer at Knight Foundation. She can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @kbmiami.