The William Penn Foundation board of directors has pledged a three-year $2.4 million grant to Temple University to incubate “a new organization designed to strengthen our region’s capacity for professionally-produced public interest journalism,” as described by strategic consultant Michael Greenle.
“This will fund journalism, support other outlets and find and cover gaps in coverage,” said Greenle in a small meeting of stakeholders yesterday. It may likely take at least a year for real momentum to happen here. Various matching grant efforts are expected to boost that overall total, in addition to future revenue plans, Greenle said.
In 2011, the grant would create a collaborative Center for Public Interest Journalism housed at Temple, which would serve three main functions:
- ‘One Stop Shopping’ — Centralized resources from Temple that could benefit public affairs journalism in the region (like MPIP, the computer science program, the journalism program) to be offered to partners in some way.
- Incubate Collaboration — This center will incubate a collaborative effort that will take a more active role in public affairs journalism that could very well look like this or portions of this. Or not. That’s to be left up to senior staff, as explained below.
- Host Events — Create a broader dialogue among journalists by housing the existing Phiji series and, as I thought, perhaps involving the BarCamp NewsInnovation event we and Technically Philly have put hosted at Temple.
The foundation’s interest in this space was first addressed publicly here after a stakeholders meeting last January. Greenle’s recommendations and work with the foundation follows previous research from the JLab institute announced in April. This project is influenced by proposals set forth by my colleagues and me at Technically Philly.