Solution Set: We’re hiring!


We’ve got a lot to share in this week’s issue of Solution Set. Keep scrolling for details on a couple job opportunities here at The Lenfest Institute, a free fundraising workshop we’re holding next Monday, and a few new articles and reports that we found interesting and have been sharing among our team. 

We’ll be back in a couple weeks with a brand new case study, but in the meantime please feel free to reach out by replying to this email or messaging [email protected] with any questions, feedback, or tips. Please also feel free to forward Solution Set to any friends or colleagues — they can subscribe here


We’re hiring!

The Lenfest Institute team is growing. The Institute is now hiring for two positions: Program Director, National Programs and Programs and Grants Administrator.

The Program Director will play a key role in all the Institute’s grantmaking and other programs to support local news around the country. Through benchmarking, publishing, advisory services, programs to share learnings, direct grants and other means, the Program Director will partner with Institute staff to help coordinate efforts to uncover, develop and support best practices to help ensure the sustainability of quality local news that serves diverse communities.

The Programs and Grants Administrator will help design and execute processes to ensure our programs and grants meet expectations. These include helping to run our grant application system, tracking grant applications, communicating with potential grantees, gathering due diligence documentation, managing the grant-review process, producing summary reports, handling grant contracts, and ensuring grant payment. The Administrator will be central to the operations of the Institute. 

Click the links to read the full description of each position and for details on how to apply. And don’t hesitate to share these positions with your networks. 

Year-end fundraising analysis workshop

The end of the year is always the biggest time for fundraisers, especially in journalism.

But as the calendar flips to the new year, what’s next? How can news organizations continue the fundraising momentum, make sense of their data and results, and plan for the coming year?

Join us next Monday Jan. 31 at 2pm EST/11am PST for “Planning Ahead: Analyzing Year-End Fundraising Data,” a free workshop hosted by the Lenfest News Philanthropy Network.

The Network is a global community of practice supporting fundraisers in journalism with courses, workshops, and more. 

The hour-long program, led by our colleague Rebecca Forman, will guide participants through strategies for how to identify trends, successfully parse your 2021 fundraising results, and identify key donors for growth and engagement in the new year.

You can learn more about the free workshop and sign up here

News about the News:

It’s no secret that journalists love to write about themselves — you are reading a newsletter about journalism right now, after all! But here are some of the most interesting and informative stories and reports we’ve read recently about local news:

• In The Washington Post, Margaret Sullivan writes about the rise of the Texas Tribune under the leadership of Evan Smith. Since its founding in 2009, the Tribune has become a pioneer in digital-first nonprofit journalism. The Tribune has influenced a number of other newsrooms around the country, including the newly-founded Baltimore Banner and the soon-to-be-merged Chicago Sun-Times.

“In Baltimore, the Banner — funded by Maryland hotel magnate Stewart Bainum — is hiring staff and expects to start publishing soon,” Sullivan writes. “In Chicago, the Sun-Times is converting from a traditional newspaper to a nonprofit as it merges operations with public radio station WBEZ. And in Houston, three local philanthropies working with the American Journalism Project (also co-founded by Thornton) announced a $20 million venture that will create one of the largest nonprofit news organizations in the country.

‘These newsrooms are popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm,’ Smith, 55, [said].”

• A recent report from the Media, Inequality and Change Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communication studied the impact of 2020’s racial justice protests on three local newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer. Learn more about their findings and how newsrooms can change their practices to better cover crime, policing, and racial inequality in this article from Nieman Lab.  

The report found that after George Floyd’s death, the three news organizations saw a decrease in dehumanizing and distancing language in crime stories as well as an increase in contextualization, with more stories connecting issues of crime to racial justice. At the same time, researchers found that even if the papers published stories on police reform and accountability, their crime stories still tended to uphold the status quo by primarily citing police sources.

• Other legacy newsrooms have also been turning to nonprofit status for the sake of long-term sustainability, including The Salt Lake Tribune. The Medill Local News Initiative at Northwestern University shared lessons learned from that transition in this article by Emily Anderson. 

“In some ways, the Tribune is thriving. Its newsroom has grown 23 percent in the past year, becoming more diverse, adding a three-member Innovations Lab reporting team dedicated to ‘solutions-oriented’ journalism and expanding its coverage of economically disadvantaged communities,” Anderson writes. “As Utah experienced a severe drought and heat wave last summer, the Tribune focused on new ways Utahns were saving water and, in the process, renewed its focus on serving the community.”

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Please email [email protected] with any questions, thoughts, or feedback.

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