KNF may fund news internships

Posted June 20, 2019

The Kansas Newspaper Foundation Board of Trustees met last week to make plans for underwriting future programs and events, with a newspaper internship program coming out as one of the potential initiatives for the next three years.

The balance of invested funds between KNF and the Kansas Press Association is approximately $1,137,000, which includes KPA invested funds of $165,000. The KNF portion  was donated during a fund-raising effort in the first decade of the new millennium to help underwrite KPA efforts. It has grown significantly through investment earnings over the past 15 years.

“We have a healthy fund balance, so the KNF trustees are making plans on how to utilize those funds to further the newspaper industry in Kansas,” said Emily Bradbury, KPA executive director. “One of our priorities is to align the funding goals of the KNF to the strategic planning process of the association and help further those projects that directly benefit our members.”

An idea attracting the most attention was an internship program that would focus on placing college interns into high-need areas of the state.

Although details are still being worked out, combining funds from KNF with other grant proposals, augmented by some funds from the local newspapers involve might enable smaller newspapers to participate. The model for the program is one that the Oklahoma Press Association operates through its foundation.

The newspaper would have some obligations and the student would have to apply and be willing to serve in a rural community for eight to 10 weeks, Bradbury said.

“The most pressing issue is housing for the students, which can be a significant expense for the newspaper or the intern,” she said. “Our tentative plan is that the newspaper would be required to find housing for the intern. The funding for that expense might come from grants or from the participating newspaper. Once we look into the other potential funding sources besides KNF, we can make that determination. We want this to be affordable for even the smallest newspapers in Kansas.

The KNF board also looked at its Investment Policy Statement and decided it was time for a review. A subcommittee will work on that.

In addition, a special projects committee will focus on what projects KNF should continue to fund, or not, over the next two to three years.