The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation awarded West Virginia University Reed College of Media a grant of $125,000 to help recruit, develop and train a new generation of independent community newspaper owners.
The money will support a partnership between the College of Media and the West Virginia Press Association. These organizations anticipate a wave of small market newspaper owner retirements across West Virginia.
Together they are responding by developing a special three-year program designed to develop community newspaper owners to take over, according to a news release.
Participants will receive training in journalism and business practices with an emphasis on digital know-how and media funding models.
A goal of the program is to cultivate strong local news operations throughout West Virginia, and to help existing news organizations adapt and modernize operations.
The application process and curriculum are still being developed, but the program is expected to launch in fall 2019.
In full disclosure, West Virginia Public Broadcasting is a member of the state Press Association and holds a partnership with the WVU Reed College of Media.