As Judy Hodgson noted in her Feb. 11 publisher's column "The Journal in Time," nonprofits play an increasing role in journalism. Around the country, nonprofits are taking ownership of existing media, creating new media outlets or collaborating on special projects. These efforts are driven by the recognition that a well-informed public can build and sustain stronger communities.
Now, experienced journalists with local ties have created the nonprofit Humboldt Journalism Project, a DreamMaker Project of the Ink People, to support some of the toughest, most time-consuming work in journalism: investigative and explanatory reporting. By awarding reporting grants, our project will create a bridge between existing media outlets and experienced freelancers. Grants will bridge the gap between what editors and news directors are allowed to pay (which sometimes is zero) and the rates that experienced journalists need to devote multiple days to deep reporting.
Once local editors or news directors have accepted a story idea from a freelancer, the journalist can come to the Humboldt Journalism Project to seek a reporting grant. We have already begun outreach to experienced freelancers, within and outside the region, who could tackle Humboldt issues or include a Humboldt perspective on a larger issue. Like many other nonprofits that support investigative reporting, we will encourage work that focuses on abuses of power, and we also will support reporting about issues that affect people's economic lives.
We are raising money now to fund the first reporting grants, and we encourage you to donate if you can, via our DreamMaker page on the Ink People's website. We are also launching a contest, the 40th Award, to recognize investigative or explanatory reporting that's especially relevant to those with incomes in the lower 40 percent of the income scale. Contest rules are on our DreamMaker page.
Together, we can build a stronger media future.
Carrie Peyton-Dahlberg, Westhaven