New Media Journalism

July 2009 – April 2014

New Media Journalism

The Purpose

To honor the Patterson family's legacy in the journalism industry, The Patterson Foundation worked with organizations to explore ways to support digital media innovation while upholding established journalistic principles and delivering value to communities. The partners worked closely together to facilitate conversations within journalism communities across the nation and create resources to enable practitioners to share insights.

Strengthening the Impact

After gathering input from more than 50 practitioners, researchers, and innovators, The Patterson Foundation and collaborating organizations, such as the Reynolds Journalism Institute, The Chicago Community Trust, and the Knight Foundation provided business training and venues for discussion on innovation to community journalists. In addition to informing the creation of the Journalism Accelerator, an online community for journalists, LION Publishers — a virtual support association for locally focused independent online news organizations — was created to cultivate connections to communities through education and action.


Click on frequently asked questions below to learn more about this initiative...

Why did The Patterson Foundation support this initiative?

To honor the Patterson family’s legacy in the journalism industry, The Patterson Foundation supported creating the New Media Journalism initiative to strengthen the work and approaches of journalism innovators.

What was the Journalism Accelerator?

The Journalism Accelerator combined high-touch and smart technology. We partnered with Lisa Skube during her fellowship with the Reynolds Journalism Institute to help her team develop the Journalism Accelerator.

The Journalism Accelerator approach has combined readily available, open-source technology tools in a way that promotes online collaboration. The Journalism Accelerator method focused on identifying a "how" or "why" question related to journalism innovation, recruiting smart thinkers on that topic to participate in a real-time conversation, and then drawing from that conversation the resources that can help provide solutions.

What other projects did the initiative incubate?

We worked with Michele McLellan, a past Reynolds Journalism Institute fellow, in her efforts to identify and support community-focused entrepreneurial publishers.

That work led to two gatherings of these publishers called the Block by Block: Community News Summit, the first in September 2010 and the second in September 2011. Block by Block marked the first large-scale assembly of community news entrepreneurs to share emerging best practices and work to solve common problems.

In addition, by working with the nascent leaders in the field, LION Publishers, a virtual support association for locally-focused independent online news organizations, was formed to keep learning and sharing at the forefront.

What was the impact of this initiative?

There were many accomplishments during the New Media Journalism initiative. Here are the highlights:
  • With consulting support from The Patterson Foundation, LION Publishers, a virtual support association for locally-focused independent online news organizations, was formed to cultivate connections to communities through education and action.
  • The Patterson Foundation funded Super Camp, a business coaching and mentoring program that helped twelve entrepreneurial online community news publishers create and execute sustainable business plans. Super Camp focused on the need for journalism innovators to achieve financial sustainability. The program was incubated with the Knight Digital Media Center.
  • The Journalism Accelerator platform, an online community for journalism innovators, was created, which connected innovators and enabled them to grow and thrive.
  • The Patterson Foundation supported the inaugural Block by Block: Community News Summit in Chicago, which brought together independent online news publishers from across the country for the first time.

What was learned through helping journalism innovators with financial sustainability?

Financial sustainability is the key issue facing all aspects of journalism today. The financial models that fueled journalism for decades have collapsed, and the innovations that are rising up in the field have yet to develop strong economic underpinnings. By working directly with community-level, entrepreneurial publishers, we discovered what tactics and techniques created lift for these publishers.

Who can I contact about the New Media Journalism initiative?

For more information about New Media Journalism, contact Roxanne Joffe, The Patterson Foundation’s lead strategic communications consultant at MagnifyGood:

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