The Facebook Journalism Project has awarded a $100,000 grant to 365 Media Foundation, the nonprofit organization that operates Madison365, FoxValley365 and the Wisconsin Leadership Summit, to continue and expand its coronavirus and COVID19 pandemic coverage and video content, as well as support general journalism for and about communities of color in Madison and across Wisconsin.
The grant will allow 365 Media to expand its reporting staff and continue to produce its show Real Talk with Henry Sanders on a daily basis. The program was originally a weekly interview show featuring conversations with community leaders, but has become a daily remote video show to help keep the community informed about issues rel. Additionally, the grant will give 365 Media additional capacity to produce more video content and deepen engagement with the community through video.
“We are deeply grateful to Facebook for creating the Facebook Journalism Project, and for recognizing the importance of independent local journalism,” said 365 Media CEO Henry Sanders. “I’m also proud of our team for the way they’ve stepped up to cover COVID19, certainly one of the most important stories they’ll ever cover. This grant is truly validation for all the hard work we’ve put in to keep our community informed.”
The grant is one of 144 worth a total of about $10.5 million awarded to local newsrooms across the United States. More than 2,000 newsrooms applied.
“We’re proud to support this diverse group of publishers — many of which are family- or independently owned. Not only are these journalists working tirelessly to serve people right now — they’re focused on transformation, building innovative local news businesses that can continue to serve communities beyond the current pandemic,” Facebook VP of global news partnerships Campbell Brown said in a statement.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role local news plays in our communities, while simultaneously threatening their very existence. Reviewing hundreds of applications on a tight timeline both illustrated the depth of need, but also highlighted the innovation that these small, independent publishers can provide for their communities when given the resources,” Institute for Nonprofit News chief network officer Jonathan Kealing said in a statement. “I’m excited to see new news products and more critical original reporting in these communities, thanks to Facebook’s support.”
According to an announcement from FJP, nearly four in five are family- or independently owned; half are published by or for communities of color; nearly 40 percent are digitally native publishers; and just over a third are non-profits.
Grant recipients were selected through a process led by the Local Media Association (LMA) and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and with significant contributions from the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION), Local Media Consortium (LMC), and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Madison365 is a member of both INN and LION, and was named LION’s Publisher of the Year in 2019.
The grants are intended to shore up local newsrooms hit hard by the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as support continuing coronavirus coverage.
“This pandemic is hurting the news business, no doubt,” Sanders said. “This pandemic is also the reason the community needs good, local, independent journalism now more than ever. There’s a lot of information out there, and people need to know they can trust what they’re being told so they can make the right decisions and keep their families safe. The community has turned to us to stay informed, and we’re proud to have earned that trust.”
Members of the community have made $4,410 in tax-deductible donations to Madison365 since the coronavirus crisis reached Wisconsin in mid-March. Facebook also awarded Madison365 a $5,000 emergency grant in April.