Knight Foundation announces $1.5 million grant to news nonprofit Texas Tribune

By Andrew Lapin

The Texas Tribune, an online news nonprofit that produces in-depth stories about Texas government and policy, received $1.5 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today to explore new revenue models for local journalism.

The Tribune, which was founded in 2009, has proven to be a standout in the world of localized nonprofit news. Its articles receive wide exposure through content-sharing partnerships with outlets like the New York Times, and thanks to successful business initiatives including a live events series, the site more than broke even by the end of 2012, netting a projection of $4.5 million in revenue. The site’s journalism has received Edward R. Murrow Awards, Online News Association Awards and other honors.

The $1.5 million from the Knight Foundation is intended to propel the Tribune toward sustainability, as well as assist in the creation of a working business model other local journalism outlets can adapt. Part of the grant, $500,000,  will go toward hiring two fellows to explore new revenue opportunities, including premium content, while the remaining $1 million will shore up the Tribune’s working capital, according to the Knight release. The Knight Foundation then hopes the results produced by the Tribune will prove beneficial to similar nonprofit journalism efforts.

“We will use this funding to further our goal of sustainability and to help evangelize the cause to other nonprofit news organizations and philanthropists,” John Thornton, founder of the Tribune, said in the release.

Fellowship applications open April 15 for fall 2013.

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