Report for America selects Times Free Press for grant to hire faith, religion reporter

Report for America selects Times Free Press for grant to hire faith, religion reporter

January 17th, 2019 by Staff Report in Local Regional News

HOW TO APPLY

Report for America is seeking applications for corps members until Feb 8. The application and information can be found here: https://www.reportforamerica.org/rfa-corps-members/

The Chattanooga Times Free Press was selected to participate in an innovative program that will deploy 50 journalists to local newsrooms across the country to report on under-covered topics and communities.

Report for America, a nonprofit national service program, announced Thursday that the newspaper will receive a grant to host a reporter to cover faith and religion starting in June.

News organizations had to demonstrate that there is a civically important gap in coverage and that they have a strong plan to deploy new reporting resources in the public interest.

Alison Gerber, editor of the Times Free Press, said the newspaper hopes to offer in-depth coverage that will connect and inform the Chattanooga region's growing and diverse faith communities.

"Religion shapes many aspects of our lives — culture, politics, education and philanthropy; it also is at the center of issues that most divide us," Gerber said. "We think this topic deserves more coverage and attention than it currently receives in the Times Free Press. We are delighted to be part of a program that will help us strengthen our local news report."

Report for America was founded amid a changing economic landscape that has forced cuts in many American newsrooms. The program is similar to AmeriCorps and Teach for America, but to produce journalism.

"The crisis in journalism has become a crisis for our democracy," Report for America's website states. " We need a new model — one that calls an emerging generation of journalists to service, reporting in under-covered corners of America."

Under the program, half the reporter's salary is paid by Report for America and half is covered locally, typically funded by philanthropists.

Report for America now has 13 reporters in Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, New Mexico, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia. In 2019, that number will grow to 60 reporters nationwide with a goal of 1,000 reporters by 2023.

This year, Report for America is helping fund reporters in organizations across 26 states and territories. Of the 50 reporting positions in the 2019 corps, 18 will be placed in nonprofit organizations, three in weekly publications, seven in public radio stations and more than two dozen in newspapers.

"The leap in 2019 to 60 reporters nationwide, and the goal of 1,000 reporters by 2023, speaks to the urgent need to close the local news reporting gap," a news release from report from America stated.

Report for America corps members typically have three to six years of experience, while some are accomplished recent graduates. More than half of the current corps members have returned to their home states.

Report for America is an initiative of the GroundTruth Project, a award-winning nonprofit news organization. It receives financial support from a variety of sources including Facebook, the Google News Initiative, the Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Dirk and Natasha Ziff, Galloway Family Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, The Tow Foundation, Select Equity Group Foundation, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Steans Family Foundation, the Henry M. Kimelman Family Foundation and the Duo Collective.

Report for America is seeking applications for corps member until Feb 8. The application and information can be found here: https://www.reportforamerica.org/rfa-corps-members/

For the full list of participating news organizations, go here: https://www.reportforamerica.org/2019/01/17/2019-newsrooms/