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Matching Grant Helps MinnPost Try Micro Sponsor Plan

Thanks to a $10,000 matching grant from the Harnisch Foundation, MinnPost is trying a micro sponsorship plan to underwrite the work of David Brauer, who reports about Minnesota media. Just click on a button for a $10 or $25 donation. As of this posting, $1,415 has been raised.

Joel Kramer, MinnPost founder, writes:

MinnPost is a national leader in building a new economic model for high-quality local journalism on the Internet. This is not easy to do. Our traffic is growing dramatically — we’ve tripled our page views in one year — but revenues from sponsors, advertisers, and our nearly 1,300 members currently cover only about 60% of our very lean spending.

One of the ideas floating around for financing journalism is “community-funding” — getting lots of people to donate small amounts to support a writer, a beat, or a specific story project they are interested in.

So we’ve decided to try this concept out with BrauBlog, since it’s our most popular feature on MinnPost, other than the home page itself. This is an experiment. If it works, we’ll brag about it all over the country, and pay some of our bills, too.

Kramer adds:

What you will NOT get is public recognition…because David Brauer does not want to know which individuals are supporting him.

The Harnisch Foundation also underwrites the Center for Sustainable Journalism here at Kennesaw State University. Here is what Ruth Ann Harnisch says about the matching grant to MinnPost:

I don’t read — it’s local news, and I’m not a local.

But what happens to is going to affect the future of local journalism everywhere.

People all over the world are looking at your community and wondering if is going to succeed….

It’s your community, not mine — but I’m investing in your community’s bold experiment in journalism because it’s a beacon of hope on a bleak business landscape. If you succeed, others will follow. Who will pay for the news? I’ll pay for some. Will you?

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