By Renae Reints
February 12, 2019

Media organizations have faced layoffs, closures, and attacks from the Trump administration over the past few years, but a Tuesday report on journalistic donations shines a glimmer of hope on the industry.

Individuals donated more than $116 million to journalism organizations last year, a 50% increase from the year prior, according to the Democracy Fund. Over 240,000 people donated in November and December alone.

NewsMatch, an organization that doubles individual donations to nonprofit newsrooms, is a notable part of the fundraising efforts.

Supported by a multitude of organizations—including the Facebook Journalism Project and the Gates Family Foundation—NewsMatch says it raised $7.6 million for 154 newsrooms across 42 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico last year. According to Nieman Labs, $1 million of this came from Facebook as part of the company’s ongoing fight to recover user trust following a slew of security- and news-based scandals.

The newsrooms benefiting from these donations are members of the Institute for Nonprofit News, a network of more than 180 nonprofit newsrooms that aim to provide trusted news reports uninfluenced by advertising money.

“NewsMatch members have provided critical reporting on family separation in Texas, covered coastal restoration in New Orleans, revealed patterns of abuses within New Mexico’s foster care system, and drove accountability through local reporting on #MeToo in Minnesota,” wrote Josh Stearns, director of the Public Square Program at the Democracy Fund (another NewsMatch partner), in a Medium post.

The donations from 2018 will reportedly go towards hiring more journalists, reaching out to local communities, and fighting for access to government documents.

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