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Twin Cities Daily Planet parent snags coveted $75K grant

It’s a fairly big deal for the local community journalism publishing and training group Twin Cities Media Alliance, whose annual budget is in the quarter-million-dollar range.
By David Brauer

The Twin Cities Media Alliance, which publishes the Twin Cities Daily Planet and trains community journalists, has won a $75,000 challenge grant from a consortium of the Ford, McCormick, and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

This is a fairly big deal for the Media Alliance, whose Daily Planet produces original community journalism and provides an online home for many local organizations’ reporting and commentary. The group’s annual budget last year was $227,000, according to executive director Jeremy Iggers. The $75K will be disbursed over the next 23 months, with the final half coming at the end. Iggers acknowledges that finding local donors for the challenge part is “going to be, well, a challenge, but I think we can do it.”

It helps that the grant is specifically targeted at capacity-building and development. While Iggers says the Media Alliance’s budget is already expected to rise 10 percent this year, the funds will be used “to professionalize our fundraising, train staff, and add features to the Daily Planet that will help us increase revenue. Several of our income streams are really under-developed at this point, including advertising, sponsorships and individual gifts, so if we just work on those, I think we have a good chance of raising enough to meet the match.”

Asked about those new features, Iggers replies, “I can’t let MinnPost scoop us on those, but stay tuned — I expect we will have some exciting announcements in the next few weeks.”

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The Media Alliance is in some fancy company; other grant-getters include the Columbia Journalism Review, the Chicago Reporter, the Investigative Reporting Workshop, and national organizations representing Asian-American, Black, Hispanic and Native American journalists.