The Knight Foundation has issued a call to all philanthropic foundations to seriously consider funding efforts to preserver quality journalism and the development of media skills in the new digital frontier. The goal is to get a wider range of funders involved in supporting media and journalism projects, which Knight believes can increase the number of informed citizens and advocates for change.
The foundation has produced a guide to help potential funders to understand how they can get involved in saving the fourth estate.
But there are other reasons for foundations to support the development of digital media initiatives. In the future, every company has to become more of a media company. Now that they can be in much more direct touch with their customers, due to the growth of social media and digital platforms that allow everyone access to much more information, companies are finding that they need to understand how to communicate with their constituencies.
It’s no longer enough for businesses or industries to broadcast information to their customers, partners and even employees via media outlets, press releases and advertising. Those are traditionally one-way communications accomplished through outside media. Today, your constituents require a conversation. Information now STARTS to flow when it’s first posted or offered. Comments, responses, reactions, postings are all part of the ecosystem. Non-Media companies now need people with sophisticated media and communications skills. Those people need to be trained in those skills and need to embrace and understand what they do and what journalism does so they can help the company, or industry, communicate with and react to both direct contact with people and journalistic coverage.
The Knight foundation, the preeminent funder of journalism projects in the United States, is offering to help other foundations understand how to best look at media projects:
“In the digital age, you have plenty of options. Many do not require large dollar investments. You can fund the efforts of existing media or you can develop your own initiatives. You can work with partners to increase the reach of your efforts or you can create independent organizations. You can build an information component into an initiative you’re already funding or you can research information needs in your community to make your grant making more strategic.”