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.