Feb 19, 2019

Pledges to save local news reach nearly $1 billion

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly $1 billion has been committed to saving local news in America over the next several years, as the country grapples with the consequences of less local coverage and accountability.

Why it matters: Despite valiant efforts, there's still no real business model for local news to continue to operate the way it has been for decades. Many of these donations, however, are being used to fund the research and development of sustainable business models for local news.

The big picture: While some smaller, local digital operations have found ways to drive profits, larger local newspaper and TV companies continue to shutter, consolidate or reduce headcount.

Driving the news: The Knight Foundation today said it would double its commitment to local news, donating $300 million via Knight’s endowment over the next five years, doubling its previous commitment.

  • "By investing in local news and providing journalists and news organizations with the tools and training that they need to prosper, we will help them pave a path to long-term sustainability," says Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism.

By the numbers The Knight Foundation's efforts are reminiscent of those from Google and Facebook, both of which have pledged over the past year to give $300 million to local journalism efforts over the next three years. They join several smaller efforts dedicated to bolstering local news, including...

  • WordPress, the content management tech company owned by web development giant Automattic, said it was investing six figures in The News Project in January to help bolster local news.
  • Local education site Chalkbeat gets hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from organizations like the Walton Family Foundation and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Donors at the local level have been supporting individual local outlets, like The Gothamist.
  • States like New Jersey are setting aside millions of dollars to invest in local news projects.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 782,319 — Total deaths: 37,582 — Total recoveries: 164,565.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 161,807 — Total deaths: 2,953 — Total recoveries: 5,595.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30.
  4. State updates: Rural-state governors say testing is still inadequate, contradicting Trump — Virginia, Maryland and D.C. issue stay-at-home orders to residents, joining 28 other states.
  5. Business latest: Ford and General Electric aim to make 50,000 ventilators in 100 days.
  6. In photos: Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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First U.S. service member dies from coronavirus

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

The Pentagon on Monday announced the death of a member of the New Jersey National Guard who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's the first U.S. service member — active, reserve or Guard — to die from the virus, according to the Pentagon. The guardsman passed away on Saturday after being hospitalized for the novel coronavirus on March 21.

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Texas oil regulators poised to debate historic production controls

Workers extracting oil from oil wells in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas. Photo: Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images

Texas oil regulators are likely to hold a hearing in April on whether to take the historic step to curb the state’s oil production amid a global market collapse fueled by the coronavirus.

Driving the news: Ryan Sitton, one of three commissioners of the Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees state oil production, told Axios that a hearing will likely be held soon in response to a renewed request earlier Monday from two oil companies to limit production as one way to stem the steep slide in global oil prices.