Award-winning Detroit Journalism Cooperative to extend focus on city’s bankruptcy and its impact with new $500,000 Knight Foundation investment – Knight Foundation

Award-winning Detroit Journalism Cooperative to extend focus on city’s bankruptcy and its impact with new $500,000 Knight Foundation investment

DETROIT – May 14, 2015 – The Detroit Journalism Cooperative will extend its exploration of Detroit’s financial issues and engage citizens in finding solutions to challenges facing the city with an additional $500,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for five nonprofit news partners.

Launched at the beginning of 2014, the Detroit Journalism Cooperative reports and creates community engagement opportunities around Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy and revitalization. A unique news-sharing project, the cooperative focuses on engagement and enterprise, explanatory and solutions-oriented journalism. It connects the voices of Detroit’s residents with the watchdog coverage needed to help citizens better solve their individual and collective issues. It seeks to inspire dialogue and improved public policy to increase Detroit’s chances of recovery. The Detroit Journalism Cooperative launched with financial support from Knight Foundation and Ford Foundation through funding to ZeroDivide on behalf of Renaissance Journalism.

Detroit Journalism Cooperative partners include Detroit Public Television (DPTV), Detroit Public Radio (WDET), Michigan Radio, New Michigan Media and the Center for Michigan’s Bridge Magazine (which serves as convening partner). In its first year, the Detroit Journalism Cooperative partners published dozens of stories and special reports as the city weaved its way through the largest municipal bankruptcy in United States history. In its first year Detroit Journalism Cooperative content earned more than 175,000 unique visitors. DJC journalists also regularly appeared on broadcast programs averaging some 200,000 listeners and viewers per week.

The new support will continue the work of the Detroit Journalism Cooperative into 2016.

“The Detroit Journalism Cooperative partners have a long history of working together,” said John Bebow, president and CEO of The Center for Michigan and Bridge Magazine. “Knight Foundation’s pioneering investment has formalized that collaboration. The cooperative had a good first year, but we’re just hitting our stride in terms of providing revelatory, forward-looking, multimedia coverage of Detroit, its neighborhoods, its businesses and its residents. The cooperative is an innovative media public service for Detroit and the nation to understand and overcome the challenges faced by America’s traditional urban centers.”

“The Detroit Journalism Cooperative is a terrific example of how collaboration by news organizations can have a positive impact on coverage and communities,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism.

“Detroit’s continued success hinges on engaging residents to contribute to its growth and be part of the reinvention of the city,” said Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director for Detroit. “By better informing people and opening avenues for them to help solve some of the challenges facing our city, the cooperative is helping to secure a brighter future for Detroit.”

In mid-April, Detroit Journalism Cooperative content created by WDET and Bridge Magazine earned 26 awards (including eight for Detroit Journalism Cooperative projects) in the annual Society of Professional Journalists Detroit chapter journalism competition. Those awards included first and second place in radio investigative reporting, first and third place for radio breaking news, second place for online blogging, second place for digital media presentation, third place in watchdog reporting, and honorable mention for online feature writing. In addition, WDET’s Sandra Svoboda’s Detroit Journalism Cooperative work has inspired the Wayne State University Graduate Public Administration program to name her its 2015 Distinguished Alumnus.

As Detroit has emerged from municipal bankruptcy, Detroit Journalism Cooperative coverage has shifted to focus intensely on life, challenges and opportunities in the city’s many neighborhoods. Ongoing coverage from all of the partners appears in the cooperative’s blog at

Detroit Journalism Cooperative partners will be featured at a roundtable discussion with Preston at Knight Foundation’s 2015 Media Learning Seminar May 17-19 in Miami.

Support for the Detroit Journalism Cooperative is one part of Knight’s efforts to help public news organizations establish long-term sustainability and advance excellence in journalism. Knight has made various other investments in the space, including the $5 million Knight Local Media Initiative, which has supported more than 50 organizations to date in developing new innovations in media.

About Detroit Journalism Cooperative

To focus on community life and the city’s future after bankruptcy, five nonprofit media outlets have formed The Detroit Journalism Cooperative (DJC). The Center for Michigan’s Bridge Magazine is the convening partner for the group, which includes Michigan Radio, Detroit Public Television (DPTV), WDET and New Michigan Media, a partnership of ethnic and minority newspapers.

Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation, the DJC partners are reporting about and creating community engagement opportunities relevant to the city’s bankruptcy, recovery and restructuring.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more information, please visit



John Bebow, President and CEO, The Center for Michigan/Bridge Magazine
734-474-0166, [email protected].

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, [email protected]