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‘Monitor’ receives grant for reporter

  • Steve Leone—

Published: 12/2/2019 2:48:04 PM

The Concord Monitor will expand its local news reporting staff in 2020 through a partnership with Report for America, a national nonprofit that’s helping to fund 250 journalism positions in newsrooms across America.

The Monitor was one of 164 newsrooms selected across 46 states. In New Hampshire, the organization is also working with the New Hampshire Union Leader and the Valley News in West Lebanon. According to Report for America, each application was evaluated at least four times by a group of 50 judges that included former editors and reporters and journalism professors.

The Monitor’s Report for America position, expected to start in June, will be fully focused on issues related to health care and seniors, from addiction, mental health and rural access to senior planning and crimes against the elderly.

Report for America was created to help local news organizations navigate the changing journalism landscape. The sharp decline for local newsrooms has been well documented in recent months. The New York Times recently reported that 2,100 newspapers have closed or merged with competitors over the past 15 years.

But the industry is now starting to see an influx of money and ideas aimed at creating a new model of local journalism. Among the newcomers is Report for America, a nonprofit that takes a Peace Corp-like approach to local news. The organization this year has helped pay a portion of the salary for 59 journalists working in newsrooms from Maine to Honolulu. Monday’s announcement means it will place nearly four times as many journalists in newsrooms next year.

Report for America pays for half a reporter’s salary. The local newsroom commits to work with local and regional funders to help pay for the remainder of the salary. The goal, according to Report for America, is to permanently expand the number of local reporting positions in its partner newsrooms.

Newsrooms selected by Report for America include 69 daily newspapers, 39 digital-only sites, 39 public radio stations, 12 local TV stations, and five non-daily papers. Nonprofit newsrooms account for 47% of the total. Report for America will help boost Associated Press state house coverage in 14 states, including Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah.

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