At the Council on Foundations conference in San Francisco this week, Alberto Ibargüen, the president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, called on community foundations to fund local media: “We need information in a democracy. When we don’t have an informed citizenry, democracy is in peril.”
Community foundations, Ibargüen argued, are well situated to fund an investigative journalist at a local newspaper, for instance, or a network of local bloggers. Ibargüen hails from the newspaper world—he is the former publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald—and has seen firsthand the decline of the newspaper industry and the need for using new kinds of channels and technology to provide local information.
I live in a city (San Francisco) where we have two local newspapers that are pretty much widely disparaged by the locals. It’s exciting to think about what foundation funding could do improve local information.
Do you think community foundations will step to this challenge?
Do you know any community foundations that are already funding local media?
Perla Ni, founder and former publisher of Stanford Social Innovation Review, is the founder and CEO of GreatNonprofits. She is also a co-founder of Grassroots.com.