Submit your best project ideas for investigating state government
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WE ARE EXTENDING THE DEADLINE FOR REPORTERS IN STATES AFFECTED BY HURRICANE FLORENCE UNTIL SEPT. 21.
Last year, ProPublica introduced our Local Reporting Network to help create vital, investigative journalism in communities where such stories would otherwise not be done.
Now, we’re expanding it, and we’re specifically looking for accountability stories emanating from state capitals, from the governor’s mansion to the legislature to the work of state agencies.
The influence of state government is far-reaching, touching aspects of life as varied as taxes, education, environmental oversight and health care -- yet elected officials and state bureaucrats are getting ever less scrutiny.
As local newsrooms are shrinking, and the number of reporters working in statehouses across the country has dropped sharply in recent years. Some news organizations no longer cover their state capitals and others have reduced their bureaus to one or two reporters.
With support from a new grant, we will pay the salary, plus an allowance for benefits, for full-time reporters at seven partner news organizations who are dedicated to big investigative projects focused on state politics and state government. We expect that at least one winning proposal will come from Illinois to complement our own local work at ProPublica Illinois. Applications are due Sept. 14, and selected reporters will begin work on Jan. 2 and work on their projects throughout 2019.
Our expansion will not take the place of our original Local Reporting Network. Later this fall, we will solicit proposals for the second year of our general local reporting initiative. Instead of having seven local reporting partners, we will have 13 or 14 next year.
If your organization is selected, the reporter will continue to work in your newsroom, but they will receive extensive guidance and support from ProPublica. Their work will be published or broadcast by your newsroom and simultaneously by ProPublica as well. While the reporter does not have to be based in your state capital, he or she will have to spend time there during the year.
National news organizations are not eligible to apply; all other newsrooms are. We particularly want to create journalism where there is none and build capacity that news organizations would not otherwise have. We are not looking to fund day-to-day coverage of state government or the legislature, but instead to enable your organization to do ambitious accountability projects.
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, radio, video, or more. Please tell us why this coverage will be crucial to your state, 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 state and your newsroom is the right place to tell this particular story.
The reporter who you ideally envision spearheading the work, and the market salary you would need to pay them for 2019. This could be someone already on staff or someone else — for example, a freelancer with whom you aspire to work. Please include a personal statement by the reporter explaining his or her interest, at least three clips of their prior best work, and, of course, a resume.
The deadline for applications is Sept. 14. Please submit your proposal using this form. If you have questions that aren’t answered here, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. ProPublica reporters and editors are willing to give you feedback on your idea before you apply. Entries will be judged principally by ProPublica editors. Winning proposals will be announced in October, to enable work to begin on Jan. 2.
You can email us your draft or any other questions you have.