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As the media landscape continues to change, it is critical that digital-first news organizations strengthen their business models, invest in technical infrastructure and continue to build trust with their readers. This requires newsrooms to adopt publishing tools that prioritize and enhance audience and business development along with editorial content production. However, finding an affordable and manageable publishing platform is often a challenge for small news outlets with limited budgets and staff capacity.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is inviting nonprofit newsrooms and newsrooms that serve underrepresented communities to apply for the inaugural round of the Sustainable Publishing Solutions Initiative. In its first year, this program will offer a one-time subsidy grant of $20,000 to 25 publishers that can be applied to the adoption or management of a Content Management System (CMS) of their choice.

The call for applications is open through March 8 and will be managed by the News Revenue Hub, a nonprofit organization that works with nearly 50 publishers on building membership revenue, growing audience and developing sustainable business practices. In addition to receiving funding, grantees will have access to trainings led by the News Revenue Hub on how to utilize and leverage business and audience development tools and strategies.

Applicants will be required to explain how an investment in a new or improved content management system will help their organization increase revenue, grow audience and improve user experience.

This opportunity is open to:

  • Nonprofit news organizations and/or
  • News organizations that are led by or serving people of color and/or
  • News organizations that serve underrepresented communities including rural areas and news deserts

Recipients of this grant will receive:

  • $20,000 that can be used for the CMS with business solutions of their choice. Funds can be used for development costs, migration, hosting or ongoing maintenance fees.
  • Training from the News Revenue Hub on how to leverage and utilize business and audience development tools.


Can organizations outside of the United States apply?

This opportunity is for US based news organizations.

What (CMS) is right for my organization? 

The Poynter Institute and the News Catalyst team have put together a comprehensive and living guide on different content management systems. New resources will be released each week including interviews with publishers and demonstrations from major CMS providers.

How will organizations be selected? 

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of industry experts that have experience working with web development, nonprofit publishing and revenue growth.

When will the grants be made? 

Grants will be distributed by The Miami Foundation, a Knight Foundation partner 4 weeks after the selected organizations are announced.

Will the grant funding be given to the news organization or will it go directly to the CMS provider?

Grants will be given to the selected news organizations.

If a news organization is awarded funding in 2020, can they apply for the subsidy again next year?

No. The grant is a one-time, non renewable grant.

What if I’m satisfied with the CMS I’ve been using for years? Can a news organization put the funding toward their existing CMS expenses or do they have to be moving to a new or improved platform?

One of the objectives of this opportunity is to provide news publishers with the ability to scale and grow their business and audience. If adding major business development functions to your existing CMS will help you accomplish that goal, please describe that in the application.

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• You can preview the application questions here.

Questions about completing the form? Contact [email protected].