Case study
July 22, 2016

Oil-Price Drop Has Some Nonprofit Newsrooms Tightening Belts

Nonprofit journalism outlets in the oil belt are bracing for funding cuts as lingering low prices buffet the economies of energy-producing states, Nieman Lab writes.

Prices of around $45 a barrel — up in recent months but still far from the $100 crude was fetching as recently at 2014 — have forced several western and southwestern states to slash spending. “We’re definitely preparing for a multiyear downturn,” said Christina Kuzmych, general manager of Wyoming Public Media. The broadcaster is licensed and supported by the University of Wyoming, which was hit with a $35 million cut in its state allocation.

The Texas Tribune is on target to meet this year’s budget goals, thanks in part to support from foundations and companies not directly tied to the energy sector, including the Ford Foundation and Pepsi. But Tribune CEO Evan Smith said the oil bust “has enormous impact” on individual donors and “affects potentially a lot of corporate underwriting that we get if those corporations … see their revenue in part tied to the revenue of the oil industry.”