How ICFJ Is Helping Independent Media Thrive

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ICFJ’s recent global survey of journalists illustrates just how hard newsrooms have been hit financially by the pandemic. Almost 90 percent of the 1,400-plus respondents told us their organization had put in place at least one pandemic-related austerity measure, such as salary cuts, job losses or even closures.

ICFJ is not only helping newsrooms better cover the pandemic – we are also helping them build stronger, sustainable businesses. Some examples:

  • In Latin America, digital-only newsrooms are boosting their bottom lines during the pandemic through our Velocidad accelerator program with SembraMedia, supported by Luminate Group. In the first six months, 10 newsrooms grew revenue by more than $350,000, primarily through paid content, advertising and other client services. They launched innovative products, grew membership, created robust alliances and strengthened their management capacity, with much more to come.

  • In the Middle East and North Africa, 47 entrepreneurs have taken their media startups to the next level through our IJNet Mentoring Center, supported by the National Endowment for Democracy over the past six years. Sheikha Aldosary, founder of Saudi Women’s Stories based in Riyadh, said that thanks to the training and seed funding she received, “I have been able to reach more women and make my platform stronger financially.”
  • Across the world, publishers are solving business challenges through programs we run with the Facebook Journalism Project (FJP). In Brazil, 10 newsrooms in the Local News Accelerator added more than 10,000 new subscribers and nearly 600,000 registered users. When a devastating explosion shook Beirut, we jumped in with FJP to help newsrooms when they needed it most with cash grants and coaching. And in the U.S., 20 news organizations led by people of color will receive expert coaching and investments to become financially stronger. 

With support from ICFJ and our partners, these pioneering newsrooms are blazing a path for the industry at a time when democracies are under attack and reliable news that serves the public is needed most. And they are doing it despite the odds. We intend to expand our efforts, and we thank you for your support.

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