Articles by

Michele McLellan

  • Article

    Posted on by

    The Community Foundation of New Jersey, a 2011 Knight Community Information Challenge winner, on how it is meeting local information needs by investing in the nonprofit news site NJ Spotlight.  The following is written by Michele McLellan and cross-posted from Knight Digital Media Center. The Knight Community Information Challenge provides unique opportunities for community foundations and news innovators to partner in creating or improving projects that engage their communities in local news and information. Here are three things to consider if you have an idea for a challenge project: Round V of the Community Information Challenge just opened, and applications will be accepted until Feb. 27.  (Disclosure: I am a Knight circuit rider and consultant to this initiative. I help foundations and partners hone their projects but have no role in assessing applications.) Keep these points in mind:
  • Article

    Posted on by

    On Wednesday Jan. 18, Knight will begin accepting applications for the next round of its Knight Community Information Challenge. The contest engages community and place-based foundations in playing leading roles in meeting the information needs of their communities. This post is challenge winners The Akronist. The Akron Community Foundation has formed a new partnership with the local public library that will raise the visibility the foundation’s multimedia training program. A winner in the second Knight Community Information Challenge, the community foundation established the Akron Digital Media Center training program and companion website, The Akronist. The site displays the work of citizens who receive training in digital media as well as partner organizations.
  • Article

    Posted on by

    The Chicago Community Trust, a two-time Knight Community Information Challenge winner, has focused its efforts on fostering a healthy news ecosystem of both for-profit and nonprofit news and information providers. The Trust’s most recent effort is the development of an advertising network of 15 small, local news sites in the Chicago area. These sites are too small to attract the interest of major advertisers. But together, they can offer a digital network with over one million monthly guaranteed impressions. Ngoan Le, vice president of program for the Trust, said seed funding for the Chicago Independent Ad Network is part of the foundation's larger strategy of helping new sources of local news and information become self-supporting by developing revenue streams such as advertising.
  • Article

    Posted on by

      PublicSource, an investigative journalism organization that received seed funding as a Knight Community Information Challenge winner, launched Sunday with a report that college lands in Pennsylvania may be leased for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – a controversial method of extracting natural gas from rock. “Our goal is to become a trusted source of in-depth and enterprise news and investigations. At a time when there’s more information than ever available to you, we want to prove our value as a reliable authority on issues of importance,” Editor Sharon Walsh said in announcing the launch. “We are a non-profit, public service website that will take the complex questions facing the region, put them in context and shine a light on parts of the story that may not have been told elsewhere.”
  • Article

    Posted on by

    "Women in Prison" video from nonprofit new site Oklahoma Watch  Foundations are playing a significant and helpful role in fostering new models for local news. But in addition to money, a little tough love may be in order when looking at prospective journalism grantees. If the grant money doesn’t flow forever, how can a foundation tell if a news organization has legs - or how can foundation help nudge the organization onto a more sustainable path? Here are four key issues to consider: Here are a few questions to ask before cutting a check.
  • Article

    Posted on by

    The newspaper on the Web is not a sustainable model, and nonprofit news start ups are placing more and more emphasis on engaging their users with content and conversation, and perhaps, as members or donors. A new report from the Knight Foundation details emerging engagement practices at several of the larger nonprofit news sites. Along with trying to create to revenue streams, larger nonprofit news sites are experimenting with engagement as well. A new report, “Getting Local: How Nonprofit News Ventures Seek Sustainability,” explores the role that userengagement plays in their sustainability strategies.
  • Article

    Posted on by

    By Mayur Patel and Michele McLellan: In the emerging landscape of non-profit news, good journalism is not enough. Even with generous foundation support, high-quality reporting alone will not create an organization that can sustain its ability to produce news in the public interest.  Instead, successful news organizations – even the nonprofit ones  - have to act like digital businesses, making revenue experimentation, entrepreneurship and community engagement important pieces of the mix. Understanding how to create social and economic value and how to adapt and innovate are just as important as good content. The new study we just completed, “Getting Local,” offers a detailed look at some of the country’s leading online local nonprofit news ventures, providing data on how they are generating revenue, engaging users and cultivating donors.
  • Report

    Posted on by

    Illustration – “Into the Wild” (PDF) — (also: web-friendly JPEG version) NEW Publication: “Finding a Foothold: How Nonprofit News Ventures Seek Sustainability“(Oct. 28, 2013) READ News Release: “New report: Nonprofit news sites – and their search for sustainability” (Oct. 18, 2011) Blog Entry: “Nonprofit news sites need to act more like businesses, experimenting with revenue […]

  • Article

    Posted on by

    Cross-posted from informationneeds.org The Notebook, a Knight Community Information Challenge winner that covers education in Philadelphia, is featured in The New York Times as an example of a small news organization that was able to produce a significant investigation through persistence and partnerships. A partnership with a local public radio station, WHYY, enabled The Notebook's editor, Paul Socolar, to hire a fourth reporter for the site in July. On the new reporter's third day on the job, he was asked to take a look at a large data file that had been sitting unexamined for a couple of months because no one had time to look at it. By day's end, the site broke the story that a "total of 89 schools — 28 in Philadelphia — had been flagged by the...