Patterns in philanthropy leave small newsrooms behind. Can that change?


This is Part II of a two-part series, “‘Haves and have-nots’ in nonprofit news? The view from small news outlets.” You can find Part I here.

Before helping found the nonprofit Sierra Nevada Ally in 2020, Joe McCarthy had lived many lives — from serving in the Army, to running an arts center, to working as education director for the Nevada State Prison. At both the arts center and the Ally, where he’s publisher and chief revenue officer, McCarthy has had to navigate the challenges of fundraising. In his experience, raising money for the arts is “a lot easier than raising money for journalism.”

“There are so many causes that attract people before they get to news,” agreed Adam Gillitt, publisher of the Alameda Post in California. “People are used to getting news for free. And a lot of people don’t see what the value in investing in local news is until it’s gone.”

In the world of nonprofit news, it’s common knowledge that securing the funding to survive is an uphill battle. But the 32 nonprofit newsrooms that have joined the Alliance of Nonprofit News Outlets (ANNO) since last August, mostly comprising small, local newsrooms like the Ally and the Post, say that on top of that general difficulty, specific patterns in the way foundation funding is distributed disproportionately disadvantage their outlets.

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