Innovation in Public Funding for Local Journalism: A Case Study of New Jersey’s 2018 Civic Information Bill

This article explores an effort to direct state-level public funds toward journalism by using a national policy window combined with an intensive grass-roots effort. We use the lens of Kingdon’s policy process model to showcase dynamics that contribute to the media policymaking literature. The process and enactment of New Jersey’s 2018 Civic Information Consortium bill are analyzed using a combination of archival research and oral history, highlighting the efforts of policy entrepreneurs and knowledge-brokers, who served as key advocates for the bill’s passage.

Journalism is an Essential Service During the Pandemic. We Must Fund it Like One.

Over the past month, 30 states have made journalism an essential service in their disaster declarations, putting local news outlets on par with hospitals and grocery stores. It makes sense: local news is how we find out about stay at home orders and whether our nearby hospital has tests available. But there is a troubling irony to this moment: The coronavirus — while creating a need for strong local news — has ignited an economic crisis that could wipe out huge swaths of journalism in America.

Why the Civic Info Consortium is Such a Huge Deal

Date: 01/16/2020

In 2018, New Jersey created the Civic Information Consortium, a first-of-its-kind nonprofit with the mission of strengthening local-news coverage and boosting civic engagement in communities across the state. Free Press Action conceived of the Civic Info Bill, which created the consortium and is now serving as a model for other states that are seeking to give people the news and information they need.

The Journalism Industry Knows Engagement is Necessary to Survive

What are the barriers? Why is it so dang hard to just “do engagement already?” We had our hunches, but we commissioned a study to really find out. We spoke with 100 people who are already bought in — who desperately want to spend their time doing better engagement — to learn what (and who) stands in their way. Engagement is a process, not a product. The solution must start with mindset and culture change, not software

Journalism Live: How News Events Foster Engagement and Expand Revenue

Across the journalism industry, more and more newsrooms are turning to events as part of their engagement and revenue strategy. And advertisers and residents are responding. In Texas last year, The Texas Tribune made roughly $1.5 million from its journalism events, most of which were offered free to the public. In Philadelphia, Billy Penn made 84 percent of its revenue on events. In this guide, we will draw on lessons and case studies from news events run by newsrooms of all sizes and share some key lessons for publishers who are just getting started.

Lessons on Building Lasting Revenue and Relationships Through Crowdfunding Campaigns

rom 2014 to 2016, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation supported two crowdfunding campaigns with local newsrooms and studied a number of others. This guide looks at each of these campaigns and pulls in lessons from other newsrooms that have been successful. The guide also looks at how to convert the community that supports your crowdfunding campaign into ongoing contributors, allies, and friends of the organization. See Local News Lab series of Guides.