The Fort Worth Report is receiving a $1.1 million grant focused on ensuring the nonprofit’s future in delivering local journalism, a national funder announced Jan. 24.
The funder is the American Journalism Project, a venture philanthropy that provides grants and coaching to build business models for nonprofit news organizations. The three-year grant follows a competitive, national application process.
“This is a game-changer for our independent newsroom,” says Chris Cobler, the Report’s CEO and publisher. “This funding will allow us to think long term and concentrate our local fundraising on supporting our growing newsroom, so we can cover more of the issues, events and people that our readers care about.”
A key focus of the grant is to help the Report build new audiences and grow the nonprofit’s revenues to create long-term sustainability.
Audience development is a key component of the grant, William W. “Bill” Meadows, president and co-chair of the Fort Worth Report’s board of directors, said.
“This will allow more people to benefit from the quality journalism that we’re producing,” he said. “That’s really what it’s about.”
The Report’s readership already has dramatically increased since it began publishing in April 2021, Meadows said.
“We’re going to be reaching out to people that don’t know we’re there,” he said. “This will enable the Fort Worth Report to grow even more.”
Since the FortWorthReport.org debuted in April 2021, the site has attracted 2.8 million pageviews. Subscribers to its daily and specialized email newsletters also are growing at a pace of more than 1,500 a month.
Despite the Report’s rapid growth, Meadows said, “there is so much more untapped out there, people who can benefit from this news source.”
In its first two years, the Fort Worth Report has raised more than $4 million in revenue from foundations, individual gifts and memberships, and corporate advertising and sponsorships. More than 80 percent of that has been generated locally.
One of those funders is the North Texas Community Foundation, which supported government accountability and environmental reporting.
“Local journalism is critical to lifting up the successes and challenges we face in our community, and support from local donors, as well as national funders, is important for the sustainability of these resources,” said Rose Bradshaw, president and CEO of the North Texas Community Foundation.
With this week’s grants, the American Journalism Project’s portfolio of grantees has grown to 36 organizations, with total investments of more than $40 million. Additional grants announced Jan. 24 are to Enlace Latino, which serves a Spanish-speaking audience across North Carolina, and The Nebraska Journalism Trust, which produces investigative journalism and feature stories for the state’s first nonprofit newsroom, the Flatwater Free Press.
“The Fort Worth Report has demonstrated that there is not only a local news crisis in Fort Worth, but that it is capable of rising to the challenge by producing independent, fact-based journalism that engages residents in solutions and holds power to account,” said Michelle Srbinovich, vice president of growth investments for the American Journalism Project. “We were impressed by the ambitious vision of its founders and leaders as well as their success to date in building a newsroom that puts Fort Worth first.”
Disclaimer: North Texas Community Foundation is a financial supporter of the Fort Worth Report.
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.