Do you have ideas for new ways government and accountability journalism can reflect the needs of local communities? The American Press Institute is now accepting applications from local news organizations for small-project funding to do this kind of work. Eligible local news outlets can apply for funds through August 6, 2021 in amounts from $2,500 up to $10,000 USD.
The funding is available as part of API’s Local News Ideas-to-Action Series, a new effort to help journalists listen to leading audience and engagement professionals, workshop ideas, and execute experiments in their coverage of local governance. More than 150 people in local news have engaged with the series since it began in June. Events have featured insights from Jimmy Gutierrez of Outlier Media in Detroit, Megan Griffith-Greene of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Nicolás Ríos of Documented in New York City.
“The interest in this kind of journalism, as evidenced by involvement in our series but also the energy in the field, should inspire all who care about U.S. democracy,” said Tom Rosenstiel, API executive director. “We’re honored to be able to play a small part in adding toward a growing movement of more audience-first coverage of local governance, and hope this is an entry way for many, many more journalists eager to join.”
Selected funding recipients will also have opportunities to share with peers what they are working on and learning through informal learning events over the course of the three-month project period in Fall 2021. Insights from the projects will be made available publicly.
API is interested in supporting projects that promote greater community engagement and participation in the reporting process on issues related to government and public accountability, including though not limited to the project ideas listed below:
- Projects that seek to identify what local community members know, don’t know, and what they’d like to know about local government and policy and offer reporting that responds to those information needs.
- Projects that help audiences understand how local government operates, including the responsibilities, decision making procedures, budgets, and outcomes of government agencies and officials and their rights, obligations, and opportunities as community members.
- Projects that help locals “navigate” interactions with public systems, like accessing unemployment benefits, making vaccine appointments, or understanding issues with their utility bills.
- Projects that facilitate discussion among and between broad groups of community members about local challenges and possible solutions to those issues that can build trust, inform future coverage, or expand audiences and relationships to reflect more of the community.
- Projects that offer consistent reporting on community efforts and opportunities to address local problems.
For additional project ideas and inspiration, see our project resources page.
For additional information and to submit an application for funding, visit the application page here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Interested in contributing to the Local News Ideas-to-Action Fund, which will power the project funds for news organizations? Contact Kevin Loker, director of program operations and partnerships, at email@example.com.