by Robin Kemp
Clayton County gets a major boost to its news landscape: The Clayton Crescent is now a member of the prestigious Institute for Nonprofit News and its associated NewsMatch fundraising program.
“This is a game-changer for The Clayton Crescent,” said Executive Editor and CEO Robin Kemp. “We have delivered an enormous amount of coverage on a shoestring, with the barest minimum expenses, and we have won local, national, and international recognition while doing so. Additional financial support from major philanthropic donors through NewsMatch will bring us closer to our goal of adding more staff, especially staff who reflect the diverse cultures of Clayton County. That in turn will increase our ability to cover news and events happening in the larger community.”
What is INN?
INN is a consortium of about 300 independent nonprofit newsrooms around the United States. Members are vetted for high standards of editorial independence and financial transparency. INN’s mission is “to build a nonprofit news network that ensures all people in every community have access to trusted news. To that end, we pursue our mission of providing education and business support services to our nonprofit member organizations and promoting the value and benefit of public-service and investigative journalism.”
As part of INN, The Clayton Crescent joins WABE 90.1/PBA Atlanta, Capitol Beat, Georgia Health News, The Current, Investigative Editing Corps, Canopy Atlanta, Georgia News Lab, and the Center for Sustainable Journalism in “a new kind of media network: nonprofit, nonpartisan and dedicated to public service. From local news to in-depth reporting on pressing global issues, INN’s members tell stories that otherwise would go untold – connecting communities, holding the powerful accountable and strengthening democracy.”
Members often collaborate to widen the scope of coverage and to combine efforts on in-depth investigative reporting.
In addition, “INN programs help these news organizations develop revenue and business models to support strong reporting, collaborate on editorial and business innovation, share services and advance the diverse leaders who are forging a new future for news.”
What is NewsMatch?
Through NewsMatch, The Clayton Crescent will now be eligible for matching grants from philanthropists. local businesses, and others, in addition to our existing base of reader support. NewsMatch will help The Clayton Crescent build its long-term fundraising capabilities by providing additional training, tools, and other resources.
Newsrooms chosen for NewsMatch “meet high standards in ethics, transparency, and journalistic integrity.” Since 2016, NewsMatch “has helped raise over $150 million to jumpstart emerging newsrooms and support independent media outlets that produce fact-based, nonpartisan news and information.”
The goal, Kemp said, is to make The Clayton Crescent sustainable for the long term so that it can expand its staff. All funding The Clayton Crescent receives through NewsMatch goes directly to newsroom programs and operations.
Major NewsMatch funders
The Knight Foundation is NewsMatch’s largest funder. Other funders include:
- Democracy Fund
- Google News Initiative
- Facebook Journalism Project
- Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust
- Natasha and Dirk Ziff
- Inasmuch Foundation
- Independence Media
- Jonathan Logan Family Foundation
- Present Progressive Fund at Schwab Charitable
- S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation/Stephen Bechdel Fund (spent down in 2020)
- William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
- Wyncote Foundation
National partners with NewsMatch include:
The Colorado Media Project is a NewsMatch Supporting Partner.
NewsMatch has raised over $150 million since 2016 for nonprofit newsrooms.
While access to major donors is important, Board Chairman Richard T. Griffiths emphasized the crucial importance of local financial support for The Clayton Crescent.
“The Clayton Crescent is meeting a critical need for the people of Clayton County: independent accountability journalism tailored for the people who live here,” Griffiths said. “Acceptance into NewsMatch is a really big deal and a huge step forward in bringing long-term sustainability for the Clayton Crescent. Now, we need your donations so that we can take advantage of the match and keep those stories coming.”
Why nonprofit news?
Nonprofit newsrooms have stepped in to fill gaps in local news coverage. Many of those gaps are the result of massive decreases in advertising, as well as venture capital companies buying up newspapers and local broadcast stations. When that happens, fewer owners control more channels of information, which means underserved communities have less access to relevant news coverage. Companies also may drain the assets, lay off staff, and shut down operations, leaving communities without reliable local news coverage.
Because nonprofit news operations face ethical considerations in applying for government grants that other businesses do not, philanthropists are stepping in to ensure that local communities are able to access nonpartisan news and information in the public interest.
NewsMatch helps this happen using four strategic priorities:
- Dramatically increase the number of people that support nonprofit journalism
- Grow local and regional investments from large donors and philanthropic institutions
- Develop and strengthen sustainable fundraising capabilities within newsrooms
- Increase awareness and public support for nonprofit journalism
The goal, according to NewsMatch, is to “transform how communities view and sustain journalism. If successful, NewsMatch will serve as an accelerator to establish nonprofit journalism as a legitimate and necessary cause for philanthropic support. By building and strengthening the pipeline of supporters, the program seeks to establish sustained and recurring investments by individuals, foundations, and businesses in nonprofit journalism for years to come.”
The Clayton Crescent, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit newsroom. We are Bronze and Silver rated for financial transparency by Candid (a combined effort of the Foundation Center and GuideStar).
Learn more about crowdfunding nonprofit news at https://www.newsmatch.org/
Potential funders can learn more about NewsMatch at https://www.newsmatch.org/info/for-funders.
Learn more about The Clayton Crescent’s Board of Trust and financial statements at https://claytoncrescent.org/about/
Please become a member of The Clayton Crescent so that we can keep you informed of the stories that have the most impact on your day-to-day life as a Clayton County resident. Like public radio, we depend on your financial support to bring stories like this one to you. Your tax-deductible gift of just $10 per month helps us keep the lights on, the rent paid, and the news breaking. We’re adding some special member-only benefits that will enhance your knowledge about what’s going on and put you in touch with movers and shakers. Monthly donors will receive additional thank-you privileges. Join now–and thank you!