Open call for collaborative reporting projects expanded as Democracy Fund matches Rita Allen Foundation support

Apply today; deadline is June 30

One of the things I was most proud to announce at the Collaborative Journalism Summit in early May was the launch of a fund to support collaborative reporting projects. We announced the launch of that funding with an open call for projects — we planned to award three grants of $7,000 each — thanks to support from the Rita Allen Foundation.

Now, I’m thrilled to say we’ve doubled the fund!

Democracy Fund has committed to matching Rita Allen’s support, which means we’ll be able to fund six collaborative reporting projects. That is six opportunities for meaningful, impactful journalism. Six projects that otherwise may not have gotten off the ground. Six collaboratives of journalists working together to tell important stories.

And it will provide six more opportunities to show how collaborative journalism is an important piece of the future of sustainable news ecosystems.

“Democracy Fund is happy to partner with Rita Allen Foundation in supporting collaboration, an essential element for healthy news ecosystems,” Teresa Gorman, Local News Associate at Democracy Fund, said. “Democracy Fund sees collaboration, not just with other newsrooms, but also with our communities, as key to the sustainability of local news.

“Collaboration can help expand capacity, tell deeper stories, connect journalists with community members, and make local news more resilient. These awards will give more organizations the capacity to experiment and realize the benefits of collaboration.”

The deadline for proposals is Friday, June 30; six reporting projects will be selected thereafter to win a $7,000 grant. We’d especially like to hear from local news outlets across the U.S., and we are particularly interested in diverse projects that include collaboration with technologists and audience engagement. One additional note I didn’t mention when we first announced this open call: We do expect the proposals to include original reporting. More details are below.

When submitting your proposal for the Collaborative Reporting Project Open Call, consider the following:

  • How will the impact of your reporting topic be deepened and widened by leveraging the resources, access and networks of the multiple proposed collaborative partners?
  • What makes a collaborative approach the best one for the proposed reporting topic?
  • How will audience engagement be enhanced through the partnership?
  • How will working together with other organizations assist in the dissemination of the reporting project to target audiences?

Successful applicants will submit proposals that:

  • Are highly collaborative, featuring two or more independent participating organizations.
  • Have a timeline that includes initial publication/broadcast within the next year.
  • Aim to produce some kind of demonstrable community impact.
  • Specify a clear and actionable content dissemination plan, including definition of key audiences that the content is targeted toward.
  • Preference will be given to projects that include audience engagement components.

Visit to submit your proposal.

The judges for the open call include Heather Bryant, a John S. Knight Fellow studying collaborative journalism at Stanford University; Jon Funabiki, professor of journalism at San Francisco State University and executive director of Renaissance Journalism; Scott Klein, deputy managing editor at ProPublica; Ju-Don Marshall Roberts, chief content officer at WFAE; and Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab.

About Democracy Fund: The Democracy Fund is a bipartisan foundation established by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to help ensure that our political system can withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Since 2011, Democracy Fund has invested more than $60 million in support of effective governance, modern elections, and a vibrant public square.

About the Rita Allen Foundation: The Rita Allen Foundation invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems. It enables early-career biomedical scholars to do pioneering research, seeds innovative approaches to fostering informed civic engagement, and develops knowledge and networks to build the effectiveness of the philanthropic sector. Throughout its work, the Foundation embraces collaboration, creativity, learning and leadership.

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. The Center is supported with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Democracy Fund. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. For more information, visit

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