$48 Million in Support of Local News, Initial Seeding of Press Forward Collaborative

December 18, 2023 Press Releases Local News
billboard image $48 Million in Support of Local News, Initial Seeding of Press Forward Collaborative

The first set grants to support Press Forward pooled and aligned grantmaking will fund infrastructure support and local newsrooms.


MacArthur today announced $48 million in grants to support pooled and aligned grantmaking in support of Press Forward, a national initiative to strengthen communities and democracy by supporting local news and information with an infusion of more than $500 million dollars over the next five years.

Press Forward was launched by a coalition of donors earlier this year and is centered on four funding priorities:

  • Strengthening local newsrooms that have the trust of local communities;
  • Improving infrastructure for local news production and dissemination;
  • Closing longstanding inequities in journalism coverage and practice; and
  • Advancing policies that expand access to local news and information.

“Journalism, particularly local journalism, is the fabric of our democracy, the medium through which we strengthen communities, tell stories that build shared understanding, and hold power to account,” said MacArthur President John Palfrey. “Twenty percent of Americans live in ‘news deserts,’ areas without reliable coverage of local issues. Press Forward aims to reverse that trend and confront this lack of credible information that contributes to a growing divide in America, declining civic engagement, and distrust in its institutions.”

The largest of MacArthur’s initial grants, $32.5 million, will go to a national pooled fund for local news, housed at The Miami Foundation to provide a way for donors of all sizes and types to partner in this shared effort.

MacArthur has also launched a new grantmaking strategy to support local news in alignment with Press Forward to provide direct grants to news organizations and outlets, each of which are also being supported by at least one other Press Forward funding partner. The first of those grants, which will provide infrastructure support and shared services, along with direct support for eight local newsrooms, are:

  • 100 Days in Appalachia will receive $1 million through the Rural Digital Youth Resiliency Project to support its news reporting on issues of significance to residents of Appalachia, with an emphasis on reaching young people and leading a community of practice, providing security and safety training, and other support services for reporters covering extremism.
  • Buffalo’s Fire will receive $350,000 through the Indigenous Media Freedom Alliance to support its North Dakota news reporting on the Fort Berthold and Twin Buttes communities, home to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nations.
  • Catchlight will receive $1 million for its support of visual storytellers working for local news outlets across the United States, supplementing vital reporting with images intended to deepen understanding of local issues.
  • Charlottesville Tomorrow will receive $350,000 to support its reporting that serves residents underserved or misrepresented by media.
  • Conecta Arizona will receive $350,000 for its reporting and engagement activities serving the Spanish-speaking residents of Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora.
  • Documented will receive $500,000 for its accountability, investigative and engagement reporting on issues affecting the immigrant communities of New York City.
  • El Tímpano will receive $500,000 for its reporting on, with, and for the Latinx and Indigenous Mayan immigrants in the San Francisco Bay area.
  • Enlace Latino NC will receive $350,000 for its accountability, investigative, and engagement reporting serving the Spanish speaking communities of North Carolina.
  • Free Press will receive $1 million to build and strengthen the capacity of local and state civic actors to inform the creation of policy environments that prioritize local information needs of underserved communities.
  • Lawyers for Reporters will receive $450,000 to provide essential legal services on a pro-bono basis to news outlets.
  • Mississippi Free Press will receive $350,000 for its reporting on the state capitol and rural areas of the state focusing on systemic and structural challenges, and race, gender, and LGBTQ+ issues.
  • National Trust for Local News will receive $500,000 for its work to acquire and help transform local newspapers to create more sustainable and responsive news entities.
  • NewsMatch, a program of the Institute for Nonprofit News will receive $3.5 million to provide matching grants for individual donations made to news outlets, and training and tools to bolster the fundraising capacity of newsrooms.
  • Outlier Media will receive $1 million for its reporting addressing the information needs of Detroit residents, particularly low-income people and communities of color.
  • Racial Equity in Journalism Fund at Borealis Philanthropy will receive $3.5 million to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led newsrooms with grants and technical assistance.
  • Rebuild Local News will receive $500,000 to support its national coalition that works to provide education on the need and opportunities for federal and local public policy in support of journalism sustainability.
  • URL Media will receive $500,000 to support its network of Black and Brown publishers working to share content, distribution, and build shared revenue streams.

This first set of grants includes funding for infrastructure support and shared services, along with direct support for eight local newsrooms that engage in sustained, deep listening to serve their communities with news and information. These newsrooms also explore how to deliver information in innovative ways, including through text messaging. Through its own grantmaking and grantmaking with Press Forward partners in the pooled fund, MacArthur is building the case for, and highlighting the possibility of, a local news renaissance around the country.