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June 14, 2013
A discussion of the role of grantors in supporting nonprofit journalism was hosted today by the Sunflower Foundation and the Kansas Health Institute at a gathering of the Kansas Grantmakers in Health trustees.
Four presentations and a panel-led discussion were featured focusing on existing nonprofit journalism enterprises, including the Texas Tribune, the California HealthCare Foundation's Center for Health Reporting, the KHI News Service, and various media funded by the Colorado Health Foundation, by the Sunflower Foundation and by the HealthCare Foundation of Greater Kansas City.
Keynote speaker Evan Smith, Editor in Chief and CEO of the Texas Tribune, said foundation support as well as commercial sponsorship and individual contributions — totaling about $5 million last year — make possible his organization's statewide coverage of public affairs.
"Across the board, we have worked closely with foundations to support the kind of public interest journalism that we do: aggressive, entrepreneurial, robust, multi-platform journalism, which would not exist but for those resources. Through a combination of (foundation) support, corporate support, and individual support we have been able to build a sustainable model," Smith said.
"It's absolutely, 100 percent sustainable — we can make this work," he said. "I can tell you it's been the most gratifying work of my life, and on behalf of everybody at the Tribune, to all of you in the community foundations who support work like this, we can't tell you enough how important your generosity is to allowing us to achieve what we achieve.
"I've said from the very beginning: in journalism these days, you either hang separately or survive together. None of us can afford to live within the old competitive sets that once defined our business," Smith said. "So we have to be looking to work with people that we once competed with on a regular basis to figure out how to get the public's good advanced ahead of any of our own individual efforts."
Panelists and presentations:
• "Annual Report on American Journalism, 2013" from the Pew Research Center. View report at stateofthemedia.org.
• "Journalism and Media Grant Making: Five Things You Need to Know" from the Knight Foundation and the William Penn Foundation. Download PDF.
→ More photos from the event posted at facebook.com/KHIorg.