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Foothills Forum, the nonprofit partner of the Rappahannock News, is completing a highly beneficial, year-end funding collaboration made possible by generous donations from Rappahannock citizens.
“NewsMatch,” sponsored by the Institute for Nonprofit News (inn.org), enables nonprofit news organizations like Foothills to raise local contributions that are matched 1:1 by national journalism foundations. As the program comes to an end on Dec. 31, Foothills is on track to receive the national match.
Foothills board chair Andy Alexander is a witness to the power of NewsMatch in recent years and of community financial support for in-depth, independent news.
“Obtaining financial support from our neighbors is very gratifying,” said Alexander, a former ombudsman of The Washington Post. “Meeting the NewsMatch target is a big accomplishment for Foothills.
“Authoritative local newsgathering is vital for vibrant communities and a healthy democracy,” he continued. “It provides a shared truth that binds us together and advances civic dialogue.”
In 2022, Foothills’ award-winning journalism, published in the Rapp News, has included coverage of the drive for universal broadband access (a priority topic for eight years); “This Place,” the unprecedented exploration of competing societal forces in our county; the many impacts of Covid; property tax inequities; and expansion plans of the county’s largest private employer, the Inn at Little Washington.
This “hyper-local” reporting makes Foothills uniquely valuable to Rappahannock, Alexander observed, but not unique in Virginia and around the county. Foothills is one of more than 400 member nonprofits that compose INN nationally. INN’s membership has increased dramatically in recent years, reflecting the growth of nonprofit journalism organizations.
Foothills is also one of only three Virginia newsrooms to host a reporting “corps member” for one year through Report for America (reportforamerica.org), the national service program that places emerging journalists in newsrooms throughout the country. The Henrico Citizen, a news website in suburban Richmond, participated last year, and RFA announced two weeks ago that VPM, the statewide NPR-affiliate, and WMRA-FM in Harrisonburg, will co-host a promising young reporter for one year.
About the importance of nonprofit journalism to rural communities like Rappahannock, Alexander cited a recent column in Inside Philanthropy that concluded: “Local journalism is increasingly emerging as an important category (for charitable giving) … The need is urgent, and the current scale of journalism funding is far from adequate to meet it … With less focus on chasing advertising and subscriber dollars, local nonprofit journalism has the unique power to amplify the voices of those who otherwise go largely unseen by mainstream media.”
Rapp News and Foothills Forum are continuously covering local news in our community. Sign up to have the Rapp News Daily delivered free to your inbox every morning. Click here to sign up...
Community support for the nonprofit, nonpartisan Foothills Forum provides research and reporting about Rappahannock County matters, in collaboration with the Rappahannock News. Here's our work so far...