Organization will help fund 250 local journalists nationally
NEW YORK — An organization that is trying to bolster the struggling local news industry said this week that it will help fund the hiring of 250 journalists across the country next year.
That’s a sharp increase from the 61 journalists put in the field this year by Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. Its first class of local reporters in 2018 numbered 13.
With the help of foundation funding, Report for America pays half the salary of these reporters for two years. Local news organizations kick in 25% and agree to raise the remainder from donations by local sources.
The growing support illustrates how people outside of the news industry are recognizing what is lost in communities when news organizations struggle. The University of North Carolina estimates that 26,000 to 32,000 newsroom jobs have been lost across the country since 2004.
“These communities need to be heard from and we’re really glad to be part of a process that is trying to confront the crisis in local news and restore journalism from the ground up,” Charles Sennott, cofounder of Report for America, said Monday.
Studies show the collapse of local news coverage has contributed to polarization in society and less participation in government, he said.
These journalists include the 14 new reporters covering statehouses across the country for The Associated Press, which were announced last week.
Sixty-nine daily newspapers, 39 digital-only sites, 39 public radio stations, 12 local TV stations and five nondaily newspapers will add reporters. Among the participants are the Miami Herald, WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina, Iowa Public Radio, the Brooklyn Eagle and Radio Bilingue in California. Reporters will be placed in 46 states.