The Boston Foundation is acting as the conduit for the two-year grant, which originated with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which aims to promote excellence in journalism.
The grant comes through a five- year, $24-million Knight initiative to develop new media to keep citizens engaged and informed, at a time when traditional outlets are cutting staff and coverage, or going out of business.
For example, the initiative is financing a news website serving five Connecticut communities that over the past decade lost both their local newspaper and radio station.
The Knight grant to CommonWealth, which follows a $200,000 match by the Boston Foundation, will allow the magazine, published quarterly, to expand investigative reporting and revamp its website. The funding will also create a ``What Works'' desk at the magazine to report on successful programs and policies in other states that could be copied here.
"“This is a very important time for civic journalism,” said Greg Torres, president of MassINC and publisher of CommonWealth. “To have this level of support from both a local foundation with the civic stature of the Boston Foundation and a national organization like the Knight Foundation, with its great heritage in journalism, is an extraordinary opportunity.”
Paul S. Grogan, president of the Boston Foundation, said the initiative comes during a "profound change in the way we gather and distribute news."
"We need to develop new, credible, and accountable ways to make information available to the widest possible audience,'' he said.
(By Robert Gavin, Globe staff)