In June, The Lenfest Institute revealed their year-long effort to understand what it means to support the local news ecosystem in Philadelphia. They’ve developed a series of metrics to track success with support from our executive director Jessica Clark and associate Mark Glaser. They have promised to share what they’re learning with the broader community through the process.

A woman wearing a surgical mask makes her way past a mural on the side of the Save-A-Lot store at 22nd and Lehigh on March 31, 2020 in Philadelphia. Michael Bryant/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP

“We’ve done a lot of work on understanding news ecosystems over the years, with clients such as Knight, Democracy Fund, and Media Impact Funders,” says Clark. “But since we’re Philadelphia-based, it’s particularly exciting to be working on our own turf to support local outlets in reporting stories that represent the entire community in ways that are both accurate and empathetic.”

Through their programming and direct investment, the Lenfest Institute’s goal is to link Philadelphia residents to neighbors, news organizations, and other information resources, helping communities to flourish by creating a more transparent, connected and equitable Philadelphia.  Their hope is also to support news outlets in developing sustainable business models for outlets, individual entrepreneurs, and projects that support the larger ecosystem.  Learn more about Lenfest’s three-tiered investment approach here

Collecting both qualitative and quantitative data via grant and program applications Lenfest aims to better understand the effectiveness of its investments in the news ecosystem over time. To dive deeper, check out this spreadsheet that gives more detail on specific metrics, potential challenges and more. 

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