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An ambitious news philanthropy makes a sharp turn after just two years

The National Trust for Local News has found that the nonprofit sector ‘doesn’t need more coaches.’ Instead, it will send in a hands-on team.


I just wrote a piece about the changing face of philanthropic news projects, with a particular focus on where external support for local newsrooms is coming from. One of the things that became very clear was that an awful lot of support — whether expertise, advocacy and financial — is decentralised to maximise the amount of help that can be provided. This piece acts as a fascinating counterpoint, arguing that the best way to support non-profit news rooms is through direct ownership.

The National Trust for Local News has recently shifted its strategy, creating a hands-on four-person team that could go into its newsrooms, solve particular problems and promote growth. Its co-founder and CEO Elizabeth Hansen Shapiro says the philanthropy-supported nonprofit sector “doesn’t need more coaches”, but instead a more hands-on approach. What’s interesting is why the shift happened: the team thinks it’s found a workable approach to making the newsrooms sustainable.

“By early 2023, I knew what it would take to sustain local news nationwide: a non-profit owner/operator, with a strong central management team, scaled by philanthropy but sustained by earned revenue. Now we have built that model and it is quickly producing results.”


CNN to cut about 100 jobs, launch its first subscription product

CEO says it is ‘a logical possibility’ that CNN might pursue a bundle similar to what the New York Times offers

CNN chief exec Mark Thompson has announced a tranche of job cuts, mostly in its television newsgathering and digital news divisions. It’s not exactly unexpected but it will be a real worry for those employees. However, Thompson isn’t cutting solely for the sake of it; he says this is prep for launching a subscription product that will “be significantly built out of”


A beloved tech blog is now publishing AI articles under the names of its old human staff

TUAW, a site that was shut down 10 years ago, was sold to a private equity firm, then to a company in Hong Kong, and has now stolen its old workers’ identities and is running their old work through AI summarizers.

This just makes your blood boil. 404 is rapidly becoming the go-to site for every AI abuse of journalists’ output, and this story is no different. The description above tells you the bare minimum but it’s worth reading the full article for the true horror of the situation. And the worst part it, TUAW won’t be the last site this happens to, and there’s no real incentive for the digital advertising ecosystem that funds this shite to do anything about it.


Behind the award-winning web-documentary Manchester Maze

Tell stories ‘with’ not ‘for’ communities, say the creators of an innovative homelessness reporting project

Finally, I loved reading this article. First appearing in On Our Radar it tells the inside story of the Manchester Maze, the Orwell Prize for reporting around homelessness. It’s a horrendous situation, but it’s also the acid test for humane journalism — and there are plenty of applicable lessons in there for newspapers looking to work with vulnerable communities to tell their stories.

More from Media Voices


6 tips for media leaders on implementing AI

Ian Betteridge shares his advice for executives looking at the potential for AI in their businesses, and how they can get other leaders and staff on board with initiatives.


How broadcaster SPORT1 uses AI and automation to maximise social media impact: in conversation with Echobox

SPORT1 and Echobox join us to discuss improving efficiency and productivity in a time where platforms are shifting to video content, building communities across multiple sports and leagues and of course, the role of AI in planning and testing.


The local news revival gathers pace, but even the brightest sparks hit bumps

In a growing number of spots, local news isn’t just surviving: it’s thriving. But the picture hasn’t been so pretty for others over the last 12 months.

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