The Fort Worth Report is receiving a $1.1 million grant to secure the future of the local journalism nonprofit, the national sponsor announced Jan. 24.
The sponsor is the American Journalism Project, a venture charity that provides grants and coaching to build business models for non-profit news organizations. The three-year grant follows a competitive national application process.
“This is a game-changer for our independent newsroom,” says Chris Kobler, Report’s CEO and publisher. “This funding will allow us to think long-term and focus our local fundraising on supporting our growing newsroom so we can cover more of the issues, events and people our readers care about.”
The main purpose of the grant is to help the Report reach new audiences and increase the nonprofit’s revenue for long-term sustainability.
Audience expansion is a key component of the grant, said William W. “Bill” Meadows, president and co-chair of the board of directors of the Fort Worth Report.
“This will allow more people to benefit from the quality journalism we produce,” he said. “That’s really what it’s all about.
The report’s audience has already exploded since it began publishing in April 2021, according to Meadows.
“We’re going to reach out to people who don’t know we’re there,” he said. “This will allow Fort Worth’s record to grow even more.”
Since the debut of FortWorthReport.org in April 2021, the site has attracted 2.8 million page views. Subscribers to his daily and specialty email newsletters are also growing at a rate of over 1,500 per month.
Despite Report’s rapid growth, Meadows said, “there is a lot more untapped material, people who can benefit from this news source.”
In its first two years, the Fort Worth Report raised over $4 million in revenue from foundations, individual gifts and membership dues, and corporate advertising and sponsorships. More than 80 percent of this volume is produced locally.
One such donor is the North Texas Community Foundation, which has supported government accountability and environmental reporting.
“Local journalism is critical to highlighting the successes and challenges we face in our community, and support from local donors as well as national donors is essential to the sustainability of these resources,” said Rose Bradshaw, President and CEO of North. Texas Community Foundation.
Grants awarded this week have grown the American Journalism Project’s portfolio of grantees to 36 organizations with a total investment of more than $40 million. Additional grants, announced Jan. 24, are for Enlace Latino, which serves Hispanic audiences across North Carolina, and The Nebraska Journalism Trust, which provides investigative journalism and feature stories for the state’s first nonprofit newsroom, Flatwater Free Press.
“The Fort Worth report demonstrated that not only does Fort Worth have a local news crisis, but that it is able to deal with this problem by creating independent, fact-based journalism that engages residents in the search for solutions and holds government accountable.” Michele Srbinovich, vice president of growth investment at the American Journalism Project, said. “We’ve been impressed by the ambitious vision of its founders and leaders, and their success in building a newsroom that puts Fort Worth first.”
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at [email protected] At Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of board members and financial backers. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.