Building a Stronger Foundation for Press Freedom and Accountability Journalism in a Digital Age

Today I’m part of an incredible team launching a new project focused on strengthening nonprofit news and accountability journalism.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation is unique in its scope, its substance and its style. The Foundation is rooted in the idea that, while the structures of journalism are changing, the critical role of journalism in our democracy is not. It will fund critical and cutting edge work by nonprofit journalism organizations, transparency and watchdog groups and independent journalists.

This project builds on some of the key threads I’ve been working on and writing about for years and addresses three key problems head on:Continue reading “Building a Stronger Foundation for Press Freedom and Accountability Journalism in a Digital Age”

Support Journalism That Matters – Tweet Your Giving

If you believe in nonprofit journalism, it is time to support it. And if you support nonprofit journalism it’s time to go public with that support.

Tweet @jcstearns: Tell me what journalism nonprofits you donate to and why. Then tag it #give4news.

npjringI’ll choose two of my favorite responses and will donate to those newsrooms as well. Plus I’ll give those two people subscriptions to one of two great nonprofit journalism magazines – Orion Magazine and Mother Jones.

(Also, please consider a donation to a group that fights for press freedom – more on that below)

We are at an exciting moment when it is now possible to imagine nonprofit journalism becoming a much more prominent part of America’s media ecosystem. But to make the leap from start-up to sustainability we need to step up our support for nonprofit news and encourage others to do the same.

Other than donating to their public broadcasting stations, for the most part people are not used to donating to support the journalism they get in their inbox or their mailbox, in their Twitter stream or via their Facebook wall. That has to change.

Nonprofit journalism comes in all shapes and sizes: all-volunteer local community radio stations, data driven government watchdogs, big investigative newsrooms, online streaming operations and more. What they all share is that they can’t survive on grants alone.

Foundations have helped to jump start nonprofit journalism but communities are going to be what sustains it over the long haul. Let’s start now.

(Nonprofit journalism also faces a range of threats – from first amendment battles to jumping through hoops at the IRS – if you want to fund the fight to defend and expand nonprofit media consider a donation to Free Press. At Free Press we work every day to fight for the public’s rights, for policies that support quality journalism, and to ensure all people have access to an open and free Internet.)

Use this link to tweet now: Tweet Your Giving

Three Resources for Newsrooms Measuring Community Engagement

The recent history of journalism in America is full of tectonic shifts, brought on by changes in technology and society. For too long, many of those changes happened outside of newsrooms, but increasingly we are seeing fundamental cultural shifts in news organizations that are changing how, and to sometimes why, journalism is done.

One of those shifts has been the emphasis on community engagement. The media landscape is shifting and becoming more participatory, and our communities want to do more than just read the news. They want to be co-creators, collaborators, distributors and they want to put the news to work, to improve their lives and communities. At the same time, financial challenges have forced news organizations to build new networks of support with their audience and community.

While newsrooms have invested in various forms of community engagement – from mobilizing local bloggers into coordinated networks, to robust social media strategies and community events – there is still a lot we don’t know about how to assess and measure the impact of community engagement.Continue reading “Three Resources for Newsrooms Measuring Community Engagement”