As the American media industry changes and historic newspaper operations shrink, how can civic-minded people ensure that Oklahoma community journalism endures, adapts and becomes sustainable in a modern world?
Answering that question has become a priority for our team here at NonDoc, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit newsroom governed by the board of the Sustainable Journalism Foundation. During board meetings, strategic planning sessions and community conversations across Oklahoma, we have pondered the best ways to ensure that journalism jobs can be funded in a sustainable way.
Today, we are excited to announce a new effort and opportunity that seeks to guarantee longterm funding for NonDoc’s style of community journalism. We have established the Sustainable Journalism Endowment, a fund set up with the Oklahoma City Community Foundation to create a new revenue stream in support of reporting positions at NonDoc.
In the long run, our endowment’s annual distribution from OCCF can fund Oklahoma-based journalism jobs in perpetuity, but we will need some help getting to that point. Simply put, every $1 million in fundraising can endow the base salary for a specific reporting position for generations to come.
Yes, we are aware that the “first million” is reportedly the hardest, and we recognize that this effort will require support from high-wealth individuals and influential foundations. We also want to be clear that our organization will continue to need the monthly and annual contributions that our donors already make to keep our year-to-year operations steady.
But our goal is to create a pathway for people to establish permanent journalism jobs for reporting on topics like court systems, state-tribal relations, education, health care, specific local communities and more. We are acting now to announce this endowment because Oklahoma and our society as a whole cannot wait for the corporate newspaper industry to collapse completely before innovating and finding a way to sustain community journalism jobs for the future.
Let’s talk about sustaining journalism jobs
To help launch our endowment at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund has granted us a matching commitment for the first $25,000 we raise.
Mail or deliver a check:
Oklahoma City Community Foundation
1000 N. Broadway Ave.
OKC, OK, 73102
Our endowment has already received a $10,000 donation from a committed donor and content contributor, so we are simply pushing to raise another $15,000 to receive the $15,000 match from the Kirkpatrick Family Fund.
NonDoc’s current priority areas for growing community journalism in Oklahoma include opportunities for endowing reporting positions focused on:
- Courts and criminal justice
- Tribal affairs
- Child health and welfare
- Specific local or geographical areas
With Oklahoma communities big and small grappling with the loss of reporting positions at traditional newspaper outlets, please consider making a donation today, or reach out to learn more about how the Sustainable Journalism Endowment can serve residents of our state.