Temple receives grant to incubate new organization to support public interest news and information in our region
The team at OMG Center for Collaborative Learning and I are pleased to inform you of positive developments in the next phase of the Networked Journalism Collaborative Project. The board of the William Penn Foundation has approved a three-year grant to Temple University for $2.4 million to incubate a new organization designed to strengthen our region’s capacity for professionally-produced public interest journalism. Temple was chosen to implement the project based on its tradition of intellectual freedom, the assets of its faculty who are active researchers in public policy issues across a wide range of disciplines, and the journalistic expertise and professionalism of its School of Communications and Theater.
The new organization is intended to help achieve the broad outcomes this project has attempted to advance and grows out of the William Penn Foundation’s long-standing interest in the civic health of Greater Philadelphia. The work of the organization is expected to be designed to promote greater transparency and accountability for the public officials and institutions in the region. It is our hope that the new organization will work to address the decline in the amount and quality of local public interest reporting while supporting Philadelphia’s strong, emerging cadre of independent news-producing organizations. The organization is expected to explore how to continue the recent pilot efforts to provide small grant awards for collaborative enterprise journalism projects and provide professional development opportunities for members of the public interest news-producing community.
Moving forward, the organization is expected to develop a network that supports the collective strength of the region’s emerging community of independent news entities in ways that strengthens their production and distribution, helps to make them more economically viable, and adds new journalistic assets to fill gaps in existing coverage. The network will also seek to partner with the region’s traditional media.
Next steps that members of the local public news and information community should expect to see include:
- Temple will begin reaching out to independent news-producing organizations with interest in the project.
- To support the creation of the new organization, the University will establish the organization at a new center in its School of Communications and Theater.
- A national search for the organization’s leader will commence in early January, and a chief executive is expected to be named in the spring.
Updates on the project will continue to be posted on this blog until the organization is staffed and more permanent communications mechanisms are developed. Please feel free to send questions to me at michael <dot> greenle <at> gmail <dot> com or post comments to this site. Thanks as always for your interest in this project, and we’re looking forward to this next phase of the project.