Deep South Today will receive a $2 million grant as part of a round of funding announced today by the American Journalism Project (AJP).

“We are immensely grateful to the American Journalism Project for this strategic support, which will further increase our capacity to provide the highest quality news and information for the communities we serve,” said Warwick Sabin, President and CEO of Deep South Today. “We are committed to meeting the need for local journalism that exists across our region, and we appreciate the trust and confidence that AJP is bestowing upon us to carry our critical mission forward.”

Deep South Today is a nonprofit network of local newsrooms that includes Mississippi Today and Verite News. Founded in 2016, Mississippi Today is now one of the largest newsrooms in the state, and in 2023 it won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. Verite News launched in 2022 in New Orleans, where it covers inequities facing communities of color. With its regional scale and scope, Deep South Today is rebuilding and re-energizing local journalism in communities where it had previously eroded, and ensuring its long-term growth and sustainability.

The grant from AJP will be directed toward building business infrastructure that will support the growth of local newsrooms across the Deep South, bringing high-quality public service journalism to communities that are underserved. In 2019, AJP made a three-year, $1 million investment in Mississippi Today. In that time, the organization nearly doubled its annual revenue, built the largest newsroom in the state and produced noteworthy journalism, including its 2023 Pulitzer-prize winning Backchannel series.

“We are in the midst of a rebirth in local news across this country, driven by a new generation of local news innovators changing the way we sustain community journalism in this country,” said Sarabeth Berman, CEO of the American Journalism Project.  “Each of these organizations have compelling visions for journalism that strengthens their communities. We’re thrilled to partner with them to help them build enduring organizations.”

Since its founding in 2019, AJP has committed $55.3 million to a portfolio of 44 grantee partners, including 40 established news organizations and four concepts under incubation. With these new grantees, AJP’s portfolio representsnearly 20 percent of the Institute for Nonprofit News members focused on local or statewide news.

In addition to funding, AJP will provide Deep South Today with strategic assistance to grow its revenue, strengthen its organizations, and expand the local reporting capacity of its newsrooms. This includes venture support, coaching, peer learning and capacity building. Over the three-year grant period, Deep South Today will be able to reinvest its increased revenue back into its newsrooms to expand their ability to do more original reporting. AJP’s first cohort of grantees grew their combined revenue by $15 million over three years, resulting in a 4.9x return on AJP’s annual investment, and grew their news budgets by 66 percent.

Since 2019, the American Journalism Project has raised $168 million for local news, including nearly $60 million from local philanthropies to support local news initiatives in their markets. In 2023, AJP received several commitments of note, most recently $5 million from the Abrams Foundation, which represents a significant increase in their commitment. It also received $500,000 from the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, which joined OpenAI’s $5 million commitment to enable the launch of AJP’s new Product & AI Studio.