Dan Gillmor on local foundations and local journalism

Dan Gillmor on local foundations and local journalism

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Hey, Dan's got an opinion piece in the SF Chronicletoday, and has great ideas re local journalism:

As the nation's community foundations gather in San Francisco for their annual meeting this week, I'd like to suggest that they put the survival of quality local journalism squarely on their own agendas. They, perhaps more than any other entities, could play a vital role in ensuring that communities emerge from an inevitably messy media transition with the kind of local information sources we all need.

The key word here is "transition." New media experiments are already starting to fill some of the gaps, but not nearly at a rate that's likely to replace what we're losing. By helping to encourage innovation and sustainable business models – especially creating partnerships that explain local problems and generate communitywide efforts to solve them – foundations can apply great leverage at a critical moment.

Community foundations, in particular, are ideally suited for this role. They pool resources from local donors. Many create what are called "donor advised funds" through which donors exert active guidance on how the money is used.

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