Knight Foundation Boosts Funding for Local Journalism in Detroit Area

The foundation, through its investments in the Detroit Journalism Cooperative and the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund, will commit $1.8 million to the city’s nonprofit media outlets.

Detroit is still on the comeback trail—and that includes its media outlets, too.

Fortunately, a new grant could help give the city’s journalism a fresh way forward. This week, the Knight Foundation announced $1.8 million in investments in the metro area’s media infrastructure. The foundation is donating money to a number of nonprofit news outlets in the city. The funding is an extension of an existing partnership with the Detroit Journalism Cooperative, as well as a new show of support for the Detroit Journalism Engagement Fund, an organization that also has the support of the Ford Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

The initiative, the Knight Foundation notes, will support five media outlets: The Center for Michigan’s Bridge Magazine; WDET, which is run by Wayne State University; Detroit Public Television; Michigan Radio, a public radio outlet for the state; and New Michigan Media, a nonprofit collective of ethnic media outlets across the state.

“Working with national and local partners, we are helping to create new models in journalism that can be shared across the industry, helping local news organizations better connect with the communities they serve and helping develop new innovations in storytelling,” wrote Katy Locker, the Detroit program director for the Knight Foundation, in a blog post.

The foundation notes that the funding comes at a pivotal time for the city, which is about to have mayoral and city council elections. At the same time, WDET notes that local media resources have been shrinking in recent years. For example, the city’s two daily newspapers, The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press, cut home delivery to just three days per week in 2009, though both are still available on newsstands daily in an abbreviated form.

Locker noted that the partners in the cooperative will help boost the city’s media presence over the next two years.

“As a Detroiter and a daily consumer of the news, I constantly look for ways to be a better-informed member of our community,” Locker added. “The partners in the Detroit Journalism Cooperative help make that happen.”


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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