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New Orleans non-profit news partnership receives Knight Foundation grant

Using a Knight Foundation community grant, the Greater New Orleans Foundation will help expand the city’s NPR affiliate, WWNO, and its non-profit news partners, including NolaVie.

NolaVie is part of an innovative new non-profit news partnership that has been awarded a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The $102,000 award will be used to increase local news coverage on WWNO public radio and on the Internet in the New Orleans area. The Greater New Orleans Foundation applied for, and will receive the grant on behalf of WWNO, NolaVie, The Lens and the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center.

The New Orleans partnership is one of 20 winning proposals from across the nation receiving a total of $3.67 million as part of the Knight Community Information Challenge, a program to help community foundations support local news and information, seen as vital to helping communities shape their own futures.

The Knight Foundation grant is being matched with $100,000 in local donations, for a total of $202,000 that is being invested in public service news coverage here. News stories produced by this collaborative effort will be broadcast on WWNO, 89.9 FM, reported on the partner organizations’ websites, and made available to other news organizations. Priorities for news coverage will include public education, the environment, local business, arts and culture, and government accountability.

Dr. Albert Ruesga, President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, said, “We at the Greater New Orleans Foundation are proud that we could bring these four organizations together to strengthen news reporting in the New Orleans area. The free flow of accurate news is vital for an informed citizenry and a healthy community.”

Paul Maassen, general manager of WWNO, added, “WWNO’s listeners desire more local news on 89.9 FM that complements the trusted national and international news that they hear from NPR and the BBC. The Knight Foundation grant is a tremendous boost to our innovative local news partnership. This multiplatform presentation of news via digital online and broadcast services will make content available to all. ”

WWNO is the NPR-affiliate radio station for New Orleans and southeast Louisiana. It broadcasts a range of local, national, and international news and information, cultural and entertainment programs, and classical music. The station is a self-supporting public service of the University of New Orleans.

NolaVie was launched in February 2011 as the region’s first nonprofit cultural and community website devoted to covering the lifestyles, people and events of the city and region. Founded by former Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra executive director Sharon Litwin and former Times-Picayune editor and columnist Renee Peck, NolaVie offers curated and edited content from an array of award-winning writers, published local authors, musicians, photographers and essayists.

The Lens, founded in 2009, is the New Orleans area’s first nonprofit public interest newsroom, dedicated to in-depth reporting projects as well as exclusive daily stories. Award-winning writer Karen Gadbois founded the website and leads the organization along with Steve Beatty and Jed Horne, who direct news coverage. The Lens is a national 2012 Edward R. Murrow Award winner.

The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center has been our region’s most respected source of regional demographic and economic analysis for 15 years. Its staff gathers, analyzes, and disseminates data to help residents and leaders with fact-based decision-making.


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