NEW YORK—The national service program Report for America announced that applications are now open for news organizations that are interested in partnering with Report for America to host emerging and experienced journalists in their newsrooms for up to three years, beginning next summer.
Report for America is a national service program that recruits and places talented journalists—corps members—into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.
Report for America is currently fielding some 300 corps members in more than 200 newsrooms across the country.
As part of the the program, Report for America noted that host newsrooms receive: reporters, photographers and videographers; diverse, hand-picked candidates from a pool of emerging and experienced journalists; subsidized salary support, up to half for the first year; help with local fundraising and resources; and extra training and mentoring for journalists.
"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 important issues, diversify their newsrooms, and grow sustainable, local support within their communities."
The application deadline is September 30, 2021, and newsrooms will be publicly announced in December.
While all local news organizations are eligible to apply, Report for America is looking to deepen coverage in rural areas where news holes can be huge. Prospective newsrooms must identify specific gaps in coverage in the community, drawing attention to under-covered communities or issues.
For example, Report for America is seeking newsrooms in the Mississippi River Basin that want more coverage of agriculture, water and environmental issues, as part of a new partnership with the University of Missouri.
Beats to consider can include, but are not limited to: healthcare, education, communities of color, immigration, economic development, local government, religion, obituaries, military and veteran affairs, or even sports reporting. Newsrooms are encouraged to consider hosting multiple journalists.
Report for America looks to reinvent local journalism by creating a sustainable business model that taps into the communities served by newsrooms. This includes providing up to half of the corps member's salary, and providing tools and resources for newsrooms to raise funds locally to support their share.
"As you look at the body of work that a Report for America reporter contributes, by the end of year one and certainly by the end of the year two, there's so much there that I'm not sure we would have carved out or prioritized," said Lauren Gustus, executive editor of the Salt Lake Tribune. "Because, as you know, in any newsroom, you literally run from fire to flood to earthquake to the next thing. Right? And having the space in the bandwidth to say this is important to us and we're going to stick with it has been invaluable."
Report for America plans to hold online information sessions with newsrooms and partner organizations throughout the application period.
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