Report for America Opens Newsroom Applications, Expands Opportunity to Hire More Journalists
National service program recruits talented reporters for local newsrooms, helps fund salaries
By Sam Kille, Report for America
Report for America announced today that applications are now open for news organizations interested in hosting more than 300 emerging journalists in their newsrooms for up to three years, beginning next June.
Report for America is a national service program that places talented journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. The program recruits journalists and pays half the salary, up to $20,000. The other half is split between the host news organization and local donors. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.
“Report for America provides a unique opportunity for newsrooms to bring journalists on staff at a time when the need for local, trusted news is more important than ever,” said Norman Parish, director of recruitment for Report for America. “Through our support, news organizations are better positioned to cover the issues that matter most within their own communities.”
The application deadline is September 30, 2020, and newsrooms will be publicly announced in December. Attentive to the budgeting and fundraising needs of some newsrooms, an early decision will be made for those who apply by Aug. 31. More information about how the program works can be found here.
All local news organizations — nonprofit or commercial — are eligible to apply. The application asks newsrooms to identify specific gaps in coverage in the community, drawing attention to under-covered communities or issues. It also requires applicants to craft a beat that would seek to address those gaps. Newsrooms are encouraged to consider sponsoring multiple journalists.
Currently, Report for America has 225 corps members at more than 160 local news organizations in 46 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. These include daily and weekly newspapers, digital-only news outlets, radio and television stations. Next year, the initiative aims to place 350 emerging journalists with local newsrooms in every state.
The reporters are chosen after a rigorous national competition. Some 1,800 applied this past year for a few hundred open slots.
Corps members already in the program are award-winning, multi-talented journalists who reflect the diverse communities they serve. Forty-two percent of the corps are journalists of color and 70 percent are women. They’re tackling some of the most important issues facing Americans today, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, health care, education, minority and immigration issues, economic development, elections and local government.
The effort is part of a larger goal of Report for America to reinvent local journalism by creating a sustainable system that provides Americans with the information they need to improve their communities, hold powerful institutions accountable, and rebuild trust in the media.
Reporters in the program have already had a big impact on communities, newsrooms say.
“If you’re in the newsroom and you’re looking around like I did and seeing empty desks where reporters used to sit, apply to be a host newsroom with Report for America,” said Ken Ward Jr., co-founder of Mountain State Spotlight, a West Virginia start-up. “It’s the best way to get boots on the ground to go out and report for your community.”
Report for America plans to hold online information sessions with newsrooms and partner organizations throughout the application period. To begin the application process or to learn more information, news organizations can visit www.reportforamerica.org or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Launched in 2017 and donor-financed, Report for America is creating a new, sustainable system that provides Americans with the information they need to improve their communities, hold powerful institutions accountable, and rebuild trust in the media. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. GroundTruth is an award-winning nonprofit media organization with an established track record of training and supporting teams of emerging journalists around the world and in the U.S.