A LETTER FROM OUR CO-FOUNDER AND CEO ELIZABETH HANSEN SHAPIRO


 

AUG 01 | 2022

 

I am awed by all our small team and board have accomplished in the first six months of this year, and I am grateful for the support of all who make our work possible. Our long-awaited designation by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity and our growing number of partners are confirmation of the importance of our mission. Thank you!


We have been working side-by-side with our publisher Linda Shapely as she and her team at the 24 newspapers in the Colorado News Conservancy transform their digital, business and audience processes. A recent community engagement effort there underscores the vital role local news plays in the civic and social health of the communities they serve. As the papers continue to grow in audience and revenue, we are proving that with the right governance and business structures, local news can be financially sustainable.


Over the next 18 months, we will begin to scale our work nationally by building out governance models that can be adapted to a wide variety of state and local circumstances. Our board recently passed a strategic plan that will guide this next phase of our mission and grow our impact. Our plan includes:


  • Refine our local news conservancy model by creating a new, statewide conservancy in a rural state.

  • Create a model for public media organizations serving as anchors for community news by partnering with an innovative public media company and a fantastic community newspaper.

  • Work with our partners in Colorado to ensure that the Colorado News Conservancy is locally owned and able to serve more newsrooms.

  • Use the experience and data we generated through our research partnership with the Center for Community Media at CUNY and the Local Media Association’s Word In Black to support publisher succession in communities of color.

  • Raise and deploy $15M in catalytic capital for transformative community journalism projects in five states. With this pilot philanthropic fund, we intend to formalize and improve upon our emerging transformation and impact models for community journalism.


The Trust has had a remarkable first 18 months—now the real work begins! We are looking for a few people to help the Trust meet the opportunities of this moment, and to reflect our core values of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. If you are interested in joining our team, please contact me at elizabeth@ntln.org.


Please continue to share your ideas and your feedback with us. We are thankful for your interest and role in keeping local news in local hands.


 

National Trust for Local News Logo

—Elizabeth Hansen Shapiro