What is The Fund for Local Journalism?

The Fund for Local Journalism supports local reporting projects: in-depth, investigative, accountability, and solutions journalism efforts that provide an important public service in communities across North America.

Through stipends of up to $10,000, news organizations in the U.S. and Canada are able to pursue new and timely investigative reporting initiatives that educate the public on important issues, such as social justice, the environment, health and human rights, institutional corruption, education, economic inequality, affordable living, and more.

The Fund For Local Journalism is a program administered by Local Media Foundation, tax ID #36‐4427750, a Section 501(c)(3) charitable trust affiliated with Local Media Association.

Who can apply for funding?

The application process will open later this summer to all local media organizations in the United States and Canada. Organizations may be non-profit or for-profit local news organizations in digital, print, or broadcast operations. Media companies applying for funding must regularly produce original, timely, local news, and only one award will be given to the parent company of each organization per funding cycle. Entries will be judged by a committee of experienced and trusted journalists and academics.

A specific fund has been established for donors to support publishers of color, recognizing the vital role these organizations serve in providing a voice for their audiences and building deeper, trusted community connections. When applying, publishers of color should note their status to be made eligible for both the general fund and funds designated specifically for investigative reporting.

What’s the application process?

The Fund for Local Journalism will award stipends up to $10,000 for qualified investigative reporting projects on a rolling basis. Half of the money will be awarded up front, and the other half will be offered after mutually agreed upon KPIs are met. A budget must accompany the application. All recipients must report back how the funds were used in accordance with the application.

The first round of applications is expected to open in July 2020, with winners announced in August or September. Check back for a link when the first round opens.

Applicants will be notified of their funding status on a rolling basis via email or telephone.

What projects are eligible for funding? 

  • Funding must be used for new, investigative reporting projects, or build upon existing or ongoing in-depth investigative accountability and solutions journalism efforts.
  • Funds can be used for freelance work, but not existing staff, as well as new tools and technology for the project.
  • Funding must support projects that unpack important community issues and can include topics such as: holding government officials accountable, social justice, environmental issues, education, prison reform, racial divide and much more.

What projects will be prioritized?

  • New investigative projects that would otherwise not happen without this funding
  • Ongoing investigative work that will be greatly enhanced with additional funding
  • Applications that clearly demonstrate local geographic relevance and impact at a state, regional, city or hyperlocal level
  • Projects that aim to contextualize complex issues for local audiences
  • Projects that leverage technology to engage and inform
  • Projects that involve collaborative journalism

Who will be funded?

  • A diverse mix of companies of all sizes, for-profit and nonprofit including Black and ethnic media, across print, broadcast and digital in the U.S. and Canada.
  • News organizations that have prioritized original, local journalism over national or syndicated news
  • News organizations focused on sustainable, digital-focused business transformation
  • Publishers with examples of well-executed investigative and solutions-based stories
  • Applications that clearly articulate the value this in-depth reporting will bring to the local community.

More on The Fund for Local Journalism.