H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest purchased The Philadelphia Inquirer and donated it to the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, placing Philadelphia at the epicenter of a national effort to protect and transform local news in the digital age. The Inquirer is now the largest newspaper in the United States operated as a public-benefit corporation. Under the non-profit ownership of the Institute, which is dedicated solely to the mission of preserving local journalism, the Inquirer serves as a live lab for news innovation.
The Institute supports the Inquirer through targeted grants that support high-impact journalism; news technology and innovation; and diverse, growing audiences.
The Institute’s work with the Inquirer is entirely supported by private philanthropy. You can make a tax-deductible gift, which will help advance our mission of saving local news, here.
Lenfest Institute awards $1.3 million in grants to support The Philadelphia Inquirer’s community-focused journalism
The Lenfest Institute for Journalism announced $1.3 million in new grants to The Philadelphia Inquirer to support initiatives that will enhance coverage of Philadelphia’s most pressing issues, focusing on communities that have been historically underserved or misrepresented by journalism.
With grant support from The Institute, The Inquirer is launching or expanding:
- A Community News Desk, a new team of journalists focused on amplifying diverse voices and strengthening relationships with underserved communities.
- “A More Perfect Union,” a project that will report on the racist origins, practices, and consequences of an array of American institutions founded in Philadelphia, including The Inquirer itself. It will re-examine history while exploring potential solutions.
- Support for The Inquirer’s investigative journalism including “Under Fire,” a series examining Philadelphia’s unchecked gun violence while presenting evidence-based solutions to the crisis and engaging with the people and communities most harmed by the epidemic.
Learn more here.
Philadelphia Inquirer Content Audit
In February 2021, researchers from Temple University’s Klein College for Media and Communication published an audit of The Philadelphia Inquirer’s coverage, which provides a comprehensive, quantitative and qualitative look at The Inquirer’s representation of different races, genders, and geographies in its news coverage. You can read the full report here.
Six months after publishing the initial report, the researchers published an update on how The Inquirer was implementing recommendations made in the initial report.. The recommendations focused on inclusive sourcing and editing practices, community engagement and accountability, and The Inquirer’s internal newsroom culture.
Learn more here.
Future of Work
“Philadelphia: The Future of Work,” is an ambitious, yearlong multimedia project focused on the key challenges and opportunities the city faces as it attempts to create more family-sustaining jobs against the backdrop of both the devastating coronavirus pandemic and global protests against systemic racism.
The Inquirer has hired journalist Ezequiel Minaya to lead the project as its editor. Minaya joined The Inquirer from Forbes, where he served as corporate finance editor. Before that, he spent 9 years as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal in New York, covering corporate finance and business breaking news, and in Caracas where he served as a foreign correspondent. He has also held positions at the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Rice Design Alliance, the Houston Chronicle, and the Los Angeles Times, and spent 13 months embedded as a war correspondent for Stars and Stripes in Iraq.
Learn more here.
$3 million Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund grant to support technology, product development
The two-year grant will accelerate the Inquirer’s ongoing transformation to a digital-first news organization.
The investment will enable the Inquirer to expand its technology and product development teams. Newsroom-based engineers and product managers will partner closely in agile teams with the Inquirer’s reporters and editors. Together, they will build engaging news experiences that support and enable high-impact journalism that is representative of Philadelphia in all its diversity. The grant will support community-focused reporting by helping make the Inquirer’s digital platforms easier to use for readers and subscribers.
The Inquirer’s work will serve as a blueprint for other local news organizations in Philadelphia and around the country. It will share regular updates on the successes — and the inevitable challenges — along its ongoing journey to digital transformation.
For more detail, click here.
Grant amount: $308,000
The Inquirer expanded its award-winning investigative team increased capabilities in data analysis, document access, computer-assisted reporting, and rapid-response investigations.
Consumer Healthcare Coverage
Grant amount: $102,000
The Inquirer added both reporting and web-development capabilities to examine local healthcare data and issues related to health costs and quality to help consumers make more informed decisions.
Digital Content Management
Grant amount: $400,000
The Inquirer migrated to the state-of-the-art Arc content management system, which was developed by The Washington Post. The new software technology enhanced the experience for users on Inquirer.com and mobile products, as well as improved ease of use for reporters and editors as they create multimedia digital coverage for readers.
Digital Journalism Training
The American Society of News Editors ran its Digital Journalism Leadership Training program at the Inquirer. One half of the participants were invited from other newsrooms in the Philadelphia area.
Grant amount: $650,000
The Inquirer launched the Lenfest Fellowship program, a rolling two-year newsroom fellowship program that will fund emerging journalists from diverse backgrounds to work in the Inquirer newsroom, receive active mentorship, and help the Inquirer create a newsroom and an audience that is more representative of the population of the Philadelphia region.
Opinion Section Contributors Network
Grant amount: $35,000
In order to diversify the voices expressed in the opinion section of the Inquirer’s digital and print products, the Inquirer created an expanded contributors network consisting of influencers from a broad array of communities throughout the region.
Grant amount: $17,000
The Inquirer launched Curious Philly, a reader-centered reporting program using Hearken, a survey platform that enables journalists to engage their audience throughout the reporting process. The Inquirer deepened community engagement by reaching out to readers so they can pose questions and topic areas for the Inquirer to address in its reporting.