LMA’s NewsFuel to oversee well-known journalism grants directory developed at Raleigh News & Observer


A robust online directory of funders and grant opportunities for journalism, started by a news executive in Raleigh, N.C., will move to a new home beginning Feb. 1 as part of the NewsFuel program at Local Media Association.

The Journalism Grants Directory began in 2019 as a passion project of Jane Elizabeth, who was managing editor of The News & Observer in Raleigh at the time. Since then, more and more journalists within McClatchy, which owns The News & Observer, and elsewhere in the media industry learned about and used the directory. Elizabeth retired from the publication in 2020, and by that time, the directory had grown to include hundreds of opportunities for journalism funding as well as tip sheets and resource guides.

Meanwhile, in August 2020, LMA launched NewsFuel — a website intended to help match news organizations and their projects with the philanthropy community and funding opportunities — with support from the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge.

Product leaders at LMA and McClatchy agreed in late 2020 to move the directory under LMA oversight. Maintaining and updating the listings as part of the overall NewsFuel effort helps make both industry resources better, according to Jay Small, LMA chief operating officer and project leader for NewsFuel.

“From the time we first heard about it, we always saw the directory as a great resource,” Small said. “NewsFuel takes a different approach but has the same goal: expose funding opportunities to the journalism community. So we’re excited to oversee the directory and ensure the information remains available, updated and useful to journalists and news organizations.”

“As more news organizations turn to philanthropic funders to help fill in gaps in coverage, Managing Editor Jane Elizabeth developed this directory to help us keep track of opportunities,” said Robyn Tomlin, president and editor of The News & Observer and Southeast regional editor for McClatchy. “And we were glad to share it with the wider journalism ecosystem. When Jane stepped away from full-time newsroom management late last year, it was the perfect time to hand off the project to LMA to ensure it remains a resource for others going forward.”

The LMA team will maintain and update the Journalism Grants Directory in its current form as a Google Sheet, at a new web address for now. Eventually, the listings in the spreadsheet directory will be merged and migrated to the NewsFuel website database, resulting in one convenient toolset for journalists seeking funding.

The additional resource guides will be incorporated into NewsFuel and maintained there, as well, Small said. LMA has contracted with Elizabeth Thompson, a journalist who worked with Jane Elizabeth to build and maintain the directory, to assist with research and upkeep of the listings. Camryn Allen, an LMA specialist for philanthropic initiatives, will continue to assist with listings research and management, as well.

LMA expects to continue upgrading NewsFuel content and functionality through 2021 and beyond, Small said.