Franklin College Receives Grant Transforming it into the News Center for Indiana

Franklin College has received a $180,000 grant from Lumina Foundation that will enable its award-winning website, TheStatehouseFile.com, to provide news coverage to every news outlet in Indiana, part of the launch of the Indiana Local News Initiative, a broad effort by local organizations and philanthropies to ensure all residents of Indiana have access to the local news they need.

TheStatehouseFile.com is an Indiana news site powered by the students of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism (PSJ). From its office in the Indiana Statehouse, TheStatehouseFile.com reports on state politics for 35 professional media outlets throughout the state and its paying subscribers. Franklin College journalism majors work alongside reporters across the state investigating and developing behind-the-scenes stories of Indiana government and public policy.

The Lumina Foundation grant allows PSJ to eliminate paid subscriptions of any kind. TheStatehouseFile.com reporting will be available free of charge to all Indiana citizens and news outlets.

“The college is tremendously grateful to Lumina Foundation for its support,” said Franklin College President Kerry N. Prather. “This generous grant will support our goal of integrating engaged learning into all our academic programs. It will help ensure that communities and citizens throughout Indiana have access to the important investigative work our student journalists produce. Everyone wins as a result of Lumina’s support.”

The grant also supports TheStatehouseFile.com’s partnership with The Indiana Citizen, a nonprofit news startup focused on voter engagement. It is part of Lumina’s ongoing campaign to expand and diversify news access in Indiana and across the country.

“Supporting local news is essential to a healthy democracy,” said Jamie Merisotis, Lumina Foundation’s president and CEO. “Expanding access to reliable, independent reporting on statehouse and local issues will equip more Hoosiers to be informed participants in their communities and engage in policy decisions that affect their daily lives.”

As part of the partnership between Lumina and Franklin College, TheStatehouseFile.com will offer its content through the Hoosier State Press Association. The Hoosier State Press Association Foundation provided funding to help the college launch TheStatehouseFile.com in 2011.

“The Hoosier State Press Association is thrilled to partner with TheStatehouseFile.com. Not only will access to this content invigorate statewide news coverage of the Indiana Statehouse and provide high quality journalism to local papers, but it will give the students working for TheStatehouseFile.com significant exposure across Indiana,” said Amelia Dieter McClure, executive director of the association.

TheStatehouseFile.com also will be part of an ambitious initiative led by a local steering committee, in partnership with the American Journalism Project, to fill coverage gaps across Indiana. The Initiative has raised more than $10 million so far for its mission.

“This funding to TheStatehouseFile.com is exactly the kind of work we want to continue to facilitate,” said Karen Ferguson Fuson, a member of the steering committee for the Initiative. “Our goal at the Initiative is to bolster the Indiana local news ecosystem and this partnership of TheStatehouseFile.com and Lumina is a perfect example of collaboration that is a win for news consumers and the local news ecosystem.”

In its 12 years of existence, TheStatehouseFile.com has earned many awards, including the best news website by the Indiana Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. It also has produced a series of documentaries focusing on Indiana history and culture, two of which have won Emmy Awards.

For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.

Founded in 1834, Franklin College is a residential liberal arts and sciences institution located 20 minutes south of Indianapolis. Franklin offers a wide array of undergraduate majors as well as master’s degree programs in Physician Assistant Studies and Athletic Training. The unique curriculum merges classroom instruction with immersive experiences, research opportunities and study away programs. Students participate in 21 NCAA Division III sports, esports, Greek life, musical and theatre productions and more than 40 student organizations. As the first college in Indiana to become coeducational with the admission of women, Franklin welcomes diversity of thought, belief and person into a community that values equity and inclusion. Franklin College maintains a voluntary association with the American Baptist Churches USA. For more information, visit www.FranklinCollege.edu. Find Franklin College on Facebook and follow @FranklinCollege on Twitter.

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