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“Press Forward has set audacious goals for funders across the country to support local journalism, and it’s exciting to see Pittsburgh join the ranks of regions across the United States in which funders and local donors are stepping up to this challenge."

Andrew Conte, Ph.D., director, Center for Media Innovation

Press Forward, the national movement investing more than $500 million to strengthen communities and local news, announced today that a Pittsburgh chapter is one of 11 communities joining its network of local chapters across the country.

Press Forward Pittsburgh is being led by the Center for Media Innovation (CMI) at Point Park University in partnership with The Benter Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, Henry L. Hillman Foundation and The Pittsburgh Foundation

Operating with a goal to support trustworthy, independent journalism, Press Forward itself is independent of ideology and plans to work with More Perfect, a bipartisan initiative advancing five interrelated democracy goals, one of which his access to trusted news and information.

“Press Forward has set audacious goals for funders across the country to support local journalism, and it’s exciting to see Pittsburgh join the ranks of regions across the United States in which funders and local donors are stepping up to this challenge,” said Andrew Conte, Ph.D., director of the CMI. “Press Forward Pittsburgh represents the work of many local foundations, corporations and individual donors to ensure southwestern Pennsylvania continues to have robust local reporting and storytelling.”

The announcement brings the total of Press Forward Locals to 17, close to tripling the number. Press Forward Locals bring together new donors and foundations to expand the resources for local news. These chapters are an opportunity for funders to create place-based initiatives, driven by the specific information needs of their communities.

Announcement Made at 2024 Knight Media Forum

Maribel Pérez Wadsworth, president and CEO of Knight Foundation, and John Palfrey, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, made the announcement at the Knight Media Forum, the premiere gathering of leaders in media and philanthropy dedicated to fostering more informed and engaged communities. Watch here.

“The challenge of rebuilding America’s local news landscape is vast and will depend on multilayered solutions at the local and national level,” said Dale Anglin, Press Forward director. “Press Forward Locals are critical to our success. These leaders are closest to their communities and can identify authentic approaches for their cities and states.”

A Suite of Support to Help Local Chapters Succeed

Press Forward offers Local Chapters a suite of support to help them succeed. For example, the initiative also announced that Press Forward Locals can now apply for up to $250,000 in Catalyst Funds to accelerate their work.

“With these Catalyst Funds, Press Forward wants to fuel the movement on the ground, and help these chapters grow faster,” Anglin said. “Over time, these chapters will be building solutions that others across the country can learn from.”

In addition to funding, Press Forward offers local chapters technical assistance, including coaching and training and peer networks to cultivate shared learning.

Pittsburgh Chapter Elevates Working Place, Provides Opportunities

Conte said the designation of a local chapter for Pittsburgh will both elevate the work taking place here in support of local journalism while providing opportunities for learning about strategies that are being tried around the country.

“The foundation community in Pittsburgh, unlike many other cities, already has invested in programs that protect and restore local journalism,” said Conte. “This designation recognizes the work they have done, but more importantly, their commitment to supporting local journalism into the future.”

Chris DeCardy, president of The Heinz Endowments, was pleased to see Pittsburgh selected as a Press Forward affiliate city and expects the CMI’s Pittsburgh Media Partnership to play a big role in advancing Press Forward’s initiatives.

“As the journalism and media sectors continue to move through monumental changes, it’s critical that we work together to develop new business models and experiment with innovative partnerships and approaches,” said DeCardy. “Strong regional, statewide and national journalism structures are the key to a healthy democracy. The Pittsburgh Media Partnership’s efforts to connect regional journalists in the city with surrounding river valley communities provides a sturdy, established base that will enable Press Forward Pittsburgh to move swiftly to meet that responsibility head on.”

For communities that are eager to begin investing in local news, Press Forward also unveiled a new toolkit, Press Forward: A Guide for Local Funders, that offers approaches, case studies and resources. 

More About: Center for Media Innovation, journalism, School of Communication, Downtown Pittsburgh