Inaugural NC News & Philanthropy Forum highlights paths toward a sustainable local news community in Charlotte

The Charlotte Journalism Collaborative and North Carolina Local News Workshop convened funders, news leaders and supporters on June 20 to talk about the crucial role of philanthropy for local news.

Funders from organizations that are already deeply committed to supporting local news, including The Knight Foundation, Borealis Philanthropy, the NC Local News Lab Fund and American Journalism Project started the day by talking about their approaches and the landscape of journalism funding. Shannan Bowen, from NC Local News Workshop, then led an inspiring conversation on community impact with CJC founding member Glenn Burkins from QCity Metro and guests from The Pivot Fund, EducationNC and Enlace Latino NC. We heard from WFAE’s Ju-Don Marshall and local leaders at Wells Fargo and Novant Health about how the station’s EQUALibrium was funded, laying out a path for a future of more local news and philanthropic partnership in the Queen City.

By the end of the day, you could feel the momentum growing among the 50+ attendees.

Started in 2019, the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative was launched with philanthropic support from Solutions Journalism Network with funding from the Knight Foundation. In 2021, the organization, made up of seven major media companies and local nonprofits Queens University and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, announced a strategic plan to raise $1.5 million to support its development through 2026. Some local support has already come in, including the sponsorship of this event by the Knight Foundation and Wells Fargo.

The partnerships and collaborative learning of the CJC has had an overwhelming impact on our local news ecosystem.

As the day closed, Chris Rudisill, director of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, reflected on a question from Alcorn the night before, asking what would be true about the future of journalism in Charlotte. Rudisill’s answer – supported, collaborative, community-driven and trusted. “During the Forum this week, I quickly realized that the answer was something bigger,” continued Rudisill. It was growing in the room at Foundation For The Carolinas, where over 50 people had gathered at the request of our partners and supporters. “The future of journalism will be built from the innovative and combined efforts of the publishers, the journalists, the philanthropic leaders and the community members in our city.”

Finding solutions, informing communities, together.

If you were not able to attend and would like to learn more about the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, or perhaps how you can be part of what we’re creating, email me today at director@charlottejournalism.org.

Watch the sessions here.

The Queen City's gambit to demystify journalism philanthropy

A report from the first NC News & Philanthropy Forum

The Knight Foundation joined the CJC for the inaugural NC News & Philanthropy Forum on Tuesday, June 20. Marc Lavallee, Director of Technology Product and Strategy/Journalism for Knight Foundation, recently shared his reflections on the day.

“Charlotte stands out among Knight cities as the place to pilot a locally focused convening of funders. There’s a healthy network of publishers and support organizations, including the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative and North Carolina Local News Workshop – which co-organized the day-long affair with Knight’s Charlotte Program Director, Charles Thomas, who has been a strong partner to the journalism community.”

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