Diane Sylvester | About E&P Magazine

To enhance the technology services available to local news publishers, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism Renfest Local News Infrastructure Fund Received a $7.25 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

LION Publishers previously led this effort, which transitioned to Lenfest Institute in late 2023.

The infrastructure fund is designed to support companies that provide critical technology infrastructure and services specifically tailored to newsrooms, said Ken Hertz, Renfest's chief operating officer.

Rather than providing support directly to newsrooms, the Fund works with companies to strengthen their technology capabilities and support back-end technology that drives revenue growth and product delivery to audiences. He explained that the focus is on providing subsidies to people and services.

The initial beneficiaries of the fund include Newspack, known for its publishing platform, and BlueLena, known for its marketing and digital revenue services. Hertz said there is a desire to find new services to add to the fund's roster to help news organizations manage their finances and listen to their clients.

Hertz emphasized the importance of these technological advancements to sustaining local news organizations and said it is hoped that other philanthropists will donate to the fund to expand the scope of the effort. . The platform supported by the Lenfest Local News Infrastructure Fund will enable publishers to do just that. ”

Newspack is an all-in-one publishing, monetization, and analytics platform that currently serves more than 250 independent local news publishers and provides consulting on news organization migrations and revenue and audience growth strategies. We plan to receive funding to help with initial costs. BlueLena specializes in driving audience growth and monetization through technology management and professional services and will continue to benefit from the Fund's support.

Hertz said the two companies will need external support until they can build a full customer roster, and that an infrastructure fund will help keep rates affordable until they can scale up their operations for sustainability. The company said it would support both companies and other similar projects.

In an announcement about the project, Mark Lavallee, Program Director at the Knight Foundation, emphasized the importance of supporting business innovation for publishers of all sizes. . The fund will act as a technology and business accelerator, accelerating the implementation of successful solutions. ”

CalMatters' Sapna Satagopan joins Herts and Lavalle funds The advisory board provides guidance on programming and vendor management, and evaluates potential new technology and service providers to add to the program.

Diane Sylvester is a 30-year award-winning multimedia news veteran. She works as a reporter, editor, and newsroom strategist. You can contact her at: Diane.povcreative@gmail.com

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