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The News and Information Fund at WCF invests $100,000 in development of a regional nonprofit network

December 16, 2020

To strengthen the local news ecosystem, the News and Information Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation (WCF) is co-investing with the American Journalism Project to develop a regional nonprofit network of newsrooms across Kansas and Missouri. 

Partnering with The Beacon, a nonprofit online news outlet focused on in-depth journalism in Kansas City, a Wichita newsroom will be established in late summer 2021. WCF’s investment of $100,000 will position the network to add key leadership positions to the organization for the planned collaboration. Each location will operate with its own executive editor and editorial team. 

“WCF identifies critical broad-based community issues and seeks solutions for change,” said Shelly Prichard, president and CEO of the Wichita Community Foundation. “This initiative ties together local, regional and national partners to elevate and ensure the necessary evolution of news content and delivery.”  

The News and Information Fund at WCF was created in 2019 as a result of the Foundation’s work with the Focus Forward initiative. 

“The Foundation strives to create a more informed and engaged community by strengthening Wichita’s local news ecosystem,” said WCF Director of Strategic Initiatives Courtney Bengtson. “Our research with AJP revealed our city’s need for more local news, as well as a desire for information exchange – not just consumption.”  

Bengtson said a regional network will allow the stories of underrepresented communities to be told, but it will also remain authentic to each market through a carefully designed organizational structure. 

The model will provide access to additional resources, maximize cost sharing, attract top talent and ensure local autonomy for editorial content and direction in each newsroom. 

WCF’s News and Info Fund will continue to support other aspects of the local news ecosystem, including research, professional development for journalists, Context: A Community News Lab at Revolutsia and financial support for the Wichita Journalism Collaborative

Learn more about the News & Info Fund at WCF by visiting our strategic initiatives webpage

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