MENDOCINO Co., 5/14/20 — It’s been an unprecedented several months for all us in Mendocino County, and at The Mendocino Voice we’ve been working overtime to expand our coverage and to bring you timely, accurate, useful information during this pandemic. Now, we have some exciting news to share: We’ve been selected to receive a $100,000 grant that will not only allow us to expand our coverage throughout the pandemic, but grow into a truly sustainable, community-owned news outlet that our readers can rely on for years to come.
The grants, provided by the Facebook Community Journalism Fund, are being awarded to 144 local news organizations, selected out of over 2,000 applicants through a process led by the Local Media Association (LMA) and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and with significant contributions from the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION Publishers), Local Media Consortium (LMC), and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).
We’ve been members of LION Publishers since we started in 2016, and we’re honored to be selected amongst our fellow publishers including Redheaded Blackbelt, Two Rivers Tribune, Berkeleyside, San Jose Spotlight, CalMatters, the Eastsider, This is Reno, and a number of other LION Publishers and INN members, and we look forward to expanding our capacity to collaborate with other independent news outlets to expand our coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic and more.
This grant will allow us to do a number of exciting new things, including expand our staffing and coverage around the county, improve our website, and giving us new ways to connect with our readers. It will also facilitate our transition to becoming a truly community controlled reader-worker owned co-op. And that last part is extremely important — we are committed to remaining a locally controlled publication with our only bias being for the people of Mendocino, and this grant will in no way affect our editorial stance or independence in any way.
And as always we’re excited to hear your ideas, how you think our coverage should be expanded, and any ideas. Feel free to email [email protected] and tell us.
Here’s the announcement from Facebook:
After receiving more than 2,000 applications for the COVID-19 Local News Relief Grant Program from newsrooms across every state in the US, all US territories and Washington, D.C., we are providing grants ranging from $25,000-$100,000 to help publishers continue serving communities during the coronavirus outbreak.
These grant recipients were selected through a process led by the Local Media Association (LMA) and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and with significant contributions from the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN), Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION), Local Media Consortium(LMC), and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Thanks to these organizations’ partnership and expertise, we were able to set up a program to meet the immediate and timely needs of these newsrooms.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role local news plays in our communities, while simultaneously threatening their very existence. Reviewing hundreds of applications on a tight timeline both illustrated the depth of need, but also highlighted the innovation that these small, independent publishers can provide for their communities when given the resources,” said Jonathan Kealing, INN’s chief network officer. “I’m excited to see new news products and more critical original reporting in these communities, thanks to Facebook’s support.”The pool of grant recipients is notable in several ways:
- Nearly four in five are family- or independently owned.
- Half are published by or for communities of color.
- Nearly 40 percent are digitally native publishers.
- Just over a third are non-profits.
“We’re proud to support this diverse group of publishers — many of which are family- or independently owned. Not only are these journalists working tirelessly to serve people right now — they’re focused on transformation, building innovative local news businesses that can continue to serve communities beyond the current pandemic,” said Campbell Brown, VP of global news partnerships at Facebook. The COVID-19 Local News Relief Grant Program was designed to provide support for US local news organizations serving a critical role for communities impacted by COVID-19. Funding is intended to a) respond to immediate community needs and/or b) offset some revenue shortfalls to help publishers maintain long-term sustainability during this crisis.