Non-Profit Will Install 1,000 Journalists In Understaffed Newsrooms To Regain Consumer Trust
The initiative seeks to save local news and build trust in media, especially in underserved communities around the U.S.
Report for America is a non-profit dedicated to the struggling journalism industry—specifically, to saving local news by following the AmeriCorps model. Currently in its pilot stage, the mission is to get young reporters into areas that have a hard time retaining journalists. The goal is to get 1,000 journalists in understaffed news organizations by the year 2022.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, newspaper publishers employed about 455,000 people in 1990. In 2016, these publishers only employ 173,000 people. The organization wants to bring reporters to places in America where some locals may feel forgotten. This way, people stay informed, while reporters also get a deeper understanding of the communities they’re serving.
Similar to the AmeriCorps program, applicants apply for fellowships that last one to two years, with a salary around $40,000. The organization is funded by participating news organizations, donations and sponsorships. Google is one of its funders.
Although still in its pilot stages, a recent round of applications had 740 applicants, with only nine chosen. For these nine spots, 85 newsrooms also applied by explaining their need for reporters. The organization credits the popular response to a strong desire to help communities gain access to reliable information while also utilizing journalistic abilities in service of democracy (the organization was actually founded after the 2016 presidential election). By implementing capable journalists in underserved areas, it may also help rebuild consumers’ trust in the media.
Lead Image: Journalist TV interview stock photo via wellphoto/Shutterstock