IJR launches “Mission Greenlight” $250,000 Journalism Grant Program

Today we’re announcing the launch of a new initiative to provide grants directly to journalists for original reporting projects. Unfortunately, it isn’t under the best of circumstances. The sad truth is if you work in the news industry you likely know someone impacted by cuts to newsrooms across the country, or just a reader of your local paper; you probably miss much of the in-depth original reporting covering topics you cared about that can’t be found across countless publications online.

As a launch partner with the Trust Project, and board member of DCN / News Media Alliance, we’ve seen first hand the incredible work being done by many news organization leaders to put their organization in a position to sustain their news teams. We’ve also seen several grant programs already stepping up to provide much-needed relief to these news companies directly.

The challenge is that the demand for news has never been stronger, but the revenue to sustain it has never been weaker. We wanted to try an approach that would offer support directly to journalists and a model that could potentially sustain them long term past the initial grant.

Mission Greenlight is an initiative that we’ve thought through for years, with research and testing starting in April of last year.

Greenlight is a first of it’s kind Collaborative Journalism project intended to give subscribers access to distinct private channel discussions between IJR editors, journalists, and one another. Allowing them to support investigations before they are published and sustain them long after the first published reporting is done.

Public updates would be published periodically by the lead journalist and reviewed by our Editors. The idea is for these updates to not only inform the public at large on relevant news but also grow interested new collaborators to continue to dig into critical investigative topics of local, national, and international concern.

Today we’re announcing through a partnership with Mission 8 to provide funding to IJR to launch a $250,000 grant fund for Greenlight journalism projects.

If you know of a great journalist impacted by layoffs in our industry or a freelance reporter looking to dig deep into a passion project, we hope you will encourage them to apply for an initial or matching grant.

Details and the ability to apply for funding are at the landing page link here.

IJR itself hasn’t been immune from these challenges and has taken steps over the last several years to better position the company for the road ahead:

  • The FIRST pledge announced last year.
  • We have re-organized as a Benefit Corporation (B-Corp).
    • We’ve transitioned our domain name from IJR.com to IJR.org.
  • CEO Alex Skatell is stepping into an Executive Director position.  He will continue to lead the organization, but with a larger focus on Greenlight and other similar initiatives.
  • Shushannah Walshe will continue to lead Editorial as our Editor at Large.

You can learn more about IJR, and watch our video outlining the steps our organization is taking to position us for the future below:

We hope our ideas can be a small part of sustaining reporting that has gone missing around the country. We hope this experiment can spark other ideas from better funded and positioned organizations to expand upon this initiative. Still, we wanted to take a small step forward on these ideas now at this critical moment.


  1. Money could be better spent fixing up this mess IJR calls a “website” and attaching itself to reliable, truthful news sources instead of CNN and Reuters. #DumpsterFire.

  2. “you probably miss much of the in-depth original reporting covering topics you cared about that can’t be found across countless publications online” Article.

    If you mean that IJR will be doing its own investigative reporting, you are going to require a hell of a lot more than a single $250K grant. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, money in media has its own political opinion that clouds your reporting. If you want true independence, as you claim, Alex, then you must go the subscriber route to attain independence (from investor and advertiser money) and to maintain it into the future. (Caveat: I will never pay IJR subscriber fees to a conservative news organization. Won’t happen. For me to pay fees, IJR would have to morph into something you just won’t allow.)

    In the video, one of the people being surveyed mentions left and right, while using both hands, and Alex mentioned social media. Well, get your act together because IJR’s use of social media (these comments) has been a dismal failure causing more division between left and right by using “Red” and “Blue” reporting, and inciting more rancor in one site than I have seen in most other sites I visit or follow. There are other sites that also do a similar “both sides” “left/right” in their reporting and none of you get it. There IS no “both sides” to a story. There is only the truth, facts and what it right (morally, ethically, legally, politically, etc.) Every person, every reporter, has an opinion, maybe even a bias, if you will, about what y’all write. There should be NO neutrality – ever- in reporting. Neutral news is a contrived failure designed to appease investors and advertizers that got us into this mess in the first place. Until everyone understands and follows that, there will be unnecessary division and corrupt news reporting. Just don’t be a part of it or add to it, as a news organization.

      1. As usual not worth wasting the time to read. Just keep remembering “butt holes” and “opinions”: everyone has at least one (some – like the Confused Coward – have butt holes in their head from which they speak).

        1. “As usual not worth wasting the time to read.” Confused James The Protectionist

          I am confused.

          How would you KNOW that if you didn’t read it? You would need proof to be able to back that up.

          And remember the old bit of investing wisdom: “past performance does not predict future gains”, so you can’t use THAT line as a defense now, either.

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