Applications are now open for three spots in ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network. We’re seeking local journalists who are interested in investigating wrongdoing and abuses of power in their communities.
Our new partners will begin work on April 1, 2021, and continue for one year. This group of projects is made possible by a grant from Knight Foundation.
The following categories of newsrooms are eligible to apply:
- Local nonprofit journalism outlets that are members of the Institute for Nonprofit News.
- News organizations (nonprofit or for-profit) in communities supported by Knight Foundation programs: Aberdeen, South Dakota; Akron, Ohio; Biloxi, Mississippi; Boulder, Colorado; Bradenton, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; Columbus, Georgia; Detroit; Duluth, Minnesota; Ft. Wayne, Indiana; Gary, Indiana; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Lexington, Kentucky; Long Beach, California; Macon, Georgia; Miami; Milledgeville, Georgia; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Palm Beach County, Florida; Philadelphia; San Jose, California; St. Paul, Minnesota; State College, Pennsylvania; Tallahassee, Florida; and Wichita, Kansas.
ProPublica will pay the salary (up to $75,000), plus an allowance for benefits, for each full-time reporter. Local reporters work from and report to their home newsrooms, while receiving extensive support and guidance for their work from ProPublica, including collaboration with a senior editor and access to the nonprofit newsroom’s expertise with data, research, engagement, video and design. The work will be published or broadcast by your newsroom and simultaneously by ProPublica.
ProPublica launched the Local Reporting Network at the beginning of 2018 to boost investigative journalism in local newsrooms. The network is part of ProPublica’s growing local initiative, which includes offices in the Midwest, South, and Southwest, plus an investigative unit in partnership with the Texas Tribune.
The Local Reporting Network has had a significant impact in the communities where it has partnered with newsrooms.
The Anchorage Daily News, in a first-of-its-kind investigation, found that one in three communities in Alaska has no local law enforcement: no state troopers to stop an active shooter, no village police officers to break up family fights, not even untrained city or tribal cops to patrol the streets. Following that coverage, U.S. Attorney General William Barr visited Alaska and later declared a state of emergency, releasing millions of dollars in federal funds to address the problem. The Anchorage Daily News was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for the series.
MLK50, a nonprofit news organization in Memphis, Tennessee, reported on how the area’s largest hospital system sued and garnished the wages of thousands of poor patients, including its own employees, for unpaid medical debts. The hospital subsequently curtailed its lawsuits against patients, erased $11.9 million in unpaid medical debts, dramatically expanded its financial assistance policy for hospital care and raised the minimum wage it pays employees. The stories won the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting.
Applications should be submitted by newsroom leaders for a particular project and a specific reporter. If you lead a newsroom and are interested in working with us, we’d like to hear from you about:
- An investigative project. The proposed coverage can take any number of forms: a few long stories, an ongoing series of shorter stories, text, audio, video or more. Please tell us why this coverage will be crucial to your community, any similar coverage that has been done before it, why this project has particular urgency now and a plan for executing the work. Please also explain why your region and your newsroom are right to tell this particular story.
- The reporter whom you ideally envision spearheading the work and the market salary you would need to pay this person from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. This could be someone already on staff or someone else — for example, a freelancer with whom you hope to work. Please include a personal statement by the reporter explaining their interest, at least three clips and, of course, a résumé.
Freelancers are also welcome to apply, but must submit a joint application with an eligible news organization willing to publish their work.
The deadline for applications is 11:59 p.m. EST on Feb. 28, 2021. Please submit your proposal using this form. We have a detailed list of frequently asked questions available on our site. If you have questions that aren’t answered there, email us at [email protected].
ProPublica reporters and editors are also available to give you feedback on your application before you submit it. Please send your proposals to [email protected] no later than Feb. 22, and someone will get back to you within a few days. Entries will be judged principally by ProPublica editors. Winning proposals will be announced in March.