When it comes to local journalism, stories describing the challenges the industry faces far outpace ones covering promising developments. This makes recent events in Philadelphia’s news ecosystem all the more intriguing, because while no one seems to have the answer for the best way forward for journalism, we know the status quo is insufficient and unsustainable.
Enter Gerry Lenfest, owner of the Philadelphia Media Network (The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, Philly.com), with a new experiment. Lenfest announced in January the creation of a new nonprofit/for-profit hybrid structure called the Institute for Journalism in New Media. The institute intends to sustain and grow journalism in Philadelphia, and elsewhere, by supporting public-interest journalism, digital experimentation and research. Lenfest donated Philadelphia Media Network (PMN) to the institute, which is housed at the Philadelphia Foundation, and seeded it with $20 million with the goal of ultimately raising $100 million to fund its efforts.