Report for America hires Morgan Baum to help newsrooms tap into local philanthropy, boost revenue

Report for America is pleased to welcome Morgan Baum as its new director of local news sustainability. She brings a unique combination of for-profit and nonprofit business and development experience to this role and a passion for journalism.

“I have personally witnessed the impact of a lack of unbiased local news on a community. I have seen my neighbors turn to biased, untruthful sources to make important decisions around their health, livelihood, education, and ability to hold the government accountable,” Baum said. “I believe we are at a pivotal moment in the battle to save local news and I wanted to be on the front lines working towards solutions.”

Morgan Baum, director of local news sustainability, Report for America.

In her role, Baum will help Report for America’s newsroom partners create sustainable fundraising relationships within their local communities. She will build upon the nearly $30 million already raised by newsrooms with Report for America’s support (since 2019) which has included workshops, access to tech platforms, and peer-to-peer guidance.

Just last week, the Ouray County Plaindealer, a small for-profit newspaper in Colorado, learned the power of local philanthropy following the reported theft of its newspapers from vending racks in a misguided attempt by a local business owner to hide a front-page story. Nearly $9,000 has been donated to the newsroom so far — a source of revenue made possible through Report for America’s fiscal sponsorship.

“There are a lot of amazing organizations and funders working to save local news. Together, we all bring different strengths to the fight. It is an honor to work with Report for America’s interconnected, diverse, network of newsrooms from across the country,” Baum added. “I am inspired by our ability to share new revenue models, donor engagement strategies, and fundraising resources with such a vast group of newsrooms.” 

Baum most recently served as CEO of her family’s business, Clay Coyote, an art gallery, pottery studio, and artist-entrepreneur incubator in Minnesota. Before that, she worked for over a decade in various development and public policy roles at Consumer Reports. 

“Morgan’s team is key to our mission to make newsrooms sustainable for years and years to come,” said Kim Kleman, executive director of Report for America. “I can think of no person more savvy, creative or hardworking to lead this effort than Morgan.”

Baum began her career with the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C., as a writer and researcher focused on the media, media consolidation, and telecommunications industry. She holds a master’s degree in fundraising management from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.  

Baum lives in Hutchinson, Minnesota, with her husband, toddler daughter and family dog.

About Report for America

Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities across the United States and its territories. By creating a new, sustainable model for journalism, Report for America provides people with the information they need to improve their communities, hold powerful institutions accountable, and restore trust in the media. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.