Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Attempting a meta-network for local news, Facebook announces community-building grantees
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Nov. 4, 2014, 11:20 a.m.
LINK: guncrisis.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   November 4, 2014

The nonprofit Gun Crisis Reporting Project is dedicated to just one topic: chronicling gun violence in Philadelphia. That focus lets it cover the beat more closely than any other outlet, and it’s a subject that matters (more than 2,000 gunpoint robberies so far this year!). It’s gotten attention from CNN, MSNBC, CJR, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and us, among others.

guncrisis

It’s also stopping its daily reporting on gun violence because it can’t find money to support it. Jim MacMillan:

After publishing every day for more than two and a half years — illuminating the epidemic of gun violence in Philadelphia and seeking solutions — the Gun Crisis Reporting Project will cease daily reporting this Friday, November 7th…

Strategic planning researchers revealed that we have had the attention of decision makers in Philadelphia, and more than a few have communicated with us directly, sometimes publicly via social media. We presented at twice at Philadelphia City Council and officials have since funded programs we endorsed and invited experts we recommended. We have advised leading local journalists and guided visiting news organizations to focus on those working to reduce violence. We have also been invited to present at many of the region’s leading colleges and universities, as well as community events.

But funding has been impossible. We have pursued grants large and small, and investigated underwriting, partnerships and crowdsourcing, but with little success, in spite of generous and expert grant-writing support from friends and colleagues who have volunteered their time.

The democratization of distribution has not been accompanied by the democratization of support. Independent journalism seems to thrive most often when philanthropists seek journalists to fulfill their ambitions — rather than the opposite — but even the former model has been known to fail gloriously.

From what I can tell, GunCrisis.org is not a high-cost operation. Philadelphia has more than its share of wealthy, civic-minded individuals. This would be a great moment for one or more of them to step up.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Attempting a meta-network for local news, Facebook announces community-building grantees
Recipients include 100 Days in Appalachia, Block Club Chicago, Chalkbeat, and the Tyler Loop, among others.
Apple might be getting into the podcast-making business. Is its reign as the industry’s benevolent overlord coming to an end?
“There remains a lot we don’t know, and I have strong feeling we’re witnessing a little shard of a much larger, complicated soul-searching process.”
West Coast offense: Los Angeles gets a new hub for podcasting to match WNYC Studios out east
Plus: Tim Ferriss brings back ads, two American companies go British, and the mystery of the one-star iTunes review.