Sustaining journalism that sustains communities.
Featuring Dynasty Consulting.
Still, philanthropic support for community media tends to be temporary, project-based or too small to justify the effort required to pursue it. In many cases, it’s a distraction for what media outlets so desperately need: a sustainable business model and the capacity to implement it.
Consider the findings of a 2020 study by Transform Finance and the Ford Foundation into how to increase private investment in equitable media — media by or for historically overlooked groups. The most frequent pain points cited by investors? The absence of a reliable revenue model for news media in general and a lack of business acumen, especially among early-stage media entrepreneurs.
It’s a cruel paradox: news outlets need capital to develop infrastructure and robust revenue strategies, yet investors are reluctant to provide it because media lack a strong business model.
This is one problem RJI, MMCA and Dynasty are working to address.
Dynasty Consulting, is a multicultural brand marketing firm co-founded and led by David Beckford, owner operator and advisor to more than 100 African American multi-media platforms including radio, print and OTT platforms. Since 2019, Dynasty has generated more than $1 million for its clients through general advertising, sponsored content, profit-sharing and other strategies and by leveraging their combined reach through the Dynasty Media Portal.
“It is nearly impossible to actualize a strategic growth plan without capital investment and people power. The strategies require planning, personnel, time commitment, creativity, and access to technology and resources which may not exist in a daily operational budget,” Beckford says.
“There are so many experiments and tasks needed to better connect with an audience — most of which can overwhelm an already fatigued newsroom that is short on cash and staff to begin with. The bright side is we have demonstrated how direct investment can lead to the acquisition of talent and other resources that move an entire organization forward in a way that grows revenue and addresses these foundational issues.”
MMCA is focused more broadly on Black, Indigenous and other People of Color-owned (BIPOC) media. Earlier this year, MMCA launched a BIPOC Media Incubator, a yearlong intensive program that addresses every aspect of building and sustaining a community media business — from assessing local information needs and designing responsive content to creating bespoke business plans and testing novel revenue strategies. The ultimate plan is to build a network of viable, impactful local BIPOC news operations and position them as catalysts for equitable economic growth.
“I think the best way to describe our approach is sustainability journalism,” Morgan says, referring both to journalism’s role in sustaining communities and the need for communities to sustain journalism.