Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Postcards and laundromat visits: The Texas Tribune audience team experiments with IRL distribution
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
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Postcards and laundromat visits: The Texas Tribune audience team experiments with IRL distribution
As social platforms falter for news, a number of nonprofit outlets are rethinking distribution for impact and in-person engagement.
Radio Ambulante launches its own record label as a home for its podcast’s original music
“So much of podcast music is background, feels like filler sometimes, but with our composers, it never is.”
How uncritical news coverage feeds the AI hype machine
“The coverage tends to be led by industry sources and often takes claims about what the technology can and can’t do, and might be able to do in the future, at face value in ways that contribute to the hype cycle.”