Explore New Potential Sources of Revenue for Independent Journalism

It was clear for many that the challenge of figuring out how to get more individual, philanthropic and government/public support for independent journalism would take more discussion and experiments in the future, and the recruitment of more allies to make progress.

Some of the Pocantico attendees committed to moving ahead immediately on five areas regarding revenue. The volunteers are:

  • Craig Aaron, President and CEO, FreePress
  • Jay Harris, President, Public Intelligence Inc., formerly with Mother Jones
  • Richard Tofel, President, ProPublica
  • Linda Jue, Executive Director/Editor, G.W. Williams Center for Independent Journalism
  • Molly de Aguiar, Program Director, Media & Communications, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
  • Kevin Davis, KLJD Consulting, formerly with Investigative News Network (INN)
  • Esther Kaplan, Editor, The Investigative Fund, The Nation Institute

They have agreed to do the following in the near future.

Working group. Establish a working group on revenue development. Members are Craig Aaron, Linda Jue, Kevin Davis, and Jay Harris.

Match for political spending. Initiate an effort to connect with the Democracy Alliance to explore the idea of persuading donors to political campaigns, especially those appalled by current campaign spending madness, to commit to contributing $1 to “fighting and fixing” the problem (efforts that include journalism) for every dollar they contribute to political races. Volunteers working on this: Richard Tofel, Esther Kaplan and Jay Harris.

Government/public funding. Some of the participants decided to start a process now of discussing and advocating for public funding, acknowledging that it could take 5-10 years to get anywhere. Craig Aaron will lead that discussion.

Community foundations. Volunteers will initiate efforts to get independent journalism on the radar of community foundations, ultimately to cultivate them as potential sources of revenue. Down the road, the effort might involve delegations of journalists and community leaders as the focus increases on this relatively untapped resource.

Branding campaign. Develop idea of a branding campaign for independent journalism (c.f., the “Red” campaign). Kevin Davis.

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