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HomeillinoisMacArthur Foundation spearheading $500M effort to save local news industry

MacArthur Foundation spearheading $500M effort to save local news industry

The MacArthur Foundation is leading a group of donors that have pledged $500 million to help the struggling local news industry, hoping to seed outlets that can make up for those that have closed or been hollowed out over the past two decades.

While led by a $150 million donation by the journalism-focused Knight Foundation, the Press Forward initiative is focusing on the importance of news in communities and is bringing in funders whose primary mission hasn’t necessarily been journalism.

“This is hugely important, both practically and symbolically,” said Tim Franklin, director of the Local News Initiative at Northwestern University’s Medill journalism school.

“This is a meaningful commitment and a powerful signal about what has become an enormous crisis for democracy,” said Tom Rosenstiel, a University of Maryland professor who has studied the impact of philanthropy on journalism. “If the civic affairs in local communities is unmonitored, we won’t know what we won’t know. And of one thing I am sure: there will be more abuse of power and more corruption. Hopefully this commitment will lead other donors to follow suit.”

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