U.S. Democracy Day announces $40K in reporting stipends for 2024

Newsrooms can apply for up to $2K each to help produce Democracy Day content; deadline to apply is June 14

Center for Cooperative Media
4 min readMay 15, 2024

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U.S. Democracy Day was launched in 2022 as a collaborative effort to raise awareness about the threats to democracy in the United States. Our goal then — and now — is to encourage as many newsrooms as possible to create content about democracy leading up to, and on, Sept. 15, the International Day of Democracy.

Since then, 163 newsrooms across 43 states have produced more than 380 pieces of content that demystify how democracy functions at the hyperlocal, statewide, and national levels. Our participants have established Documenters chapters, exposed right-wing disinformation campaigns, partnered with civic groups, and used Democracy Day as the impetus for year-round practice change.

In keeping with that mission, we’re happy to announce our first-ever round of reporting stipends to help cover the work of newsrooms participating in Democracy Day for 2024.

This program is being created thanks to a grant to Hearken in support of its Election SOS work — including Democracy Day — from Democracy Fund. We have up to $40,000 in total to give out.

Our goal is simple: To fund great work from newsrooms about local and national threats to democracy and the stakes of the 2024 election that wouldn’t be able to happen otherwise.

We hear brilliant reporting, event, engagement, and collaboration ideas from Democracy Day newsrooms very often. About as often as we hear about those ideas, we also hear about the challenges to produce them: A lack of budget, resources, manpower, training, the list goes on.

The hope is that these reporting stipends are able to underwrite part of the cost of producing journalism that empowers communities to learn about, participate in, and ask better of democracy.

What we’re offering:

We’re offering micro-reporting stipends of up to $2,000 for 20+ newsrooms that have committed to participating in Democracy Day by producing at least one piece of pro-democracy journalism on or slightly before Sept. 15, 2024 (the International Day of Democracy).

Newsrooms will also get access to our board of organizers — whose expertise span environmental, audio, nonprofit, political, and engaged journalism — to fine tune pitches, pre-read stories, make connections, and brainstorm solutions to whatever challenges might arise during the reporting process.

Stipends will be paid upon acceptance in July.

What’s required:

  • Your news organization must participate in Democracy Day by completing one or more pieces of pro-democracy journalism on Sept. 15, International Democracy Day.
  • Your news organization must present an itemized budget outlining how your newsroom would use the stipend as part of your application.
  • Your news organization must submit your Democracy Day contribution to our organizing team within 10 days of publication alongside metrics such as reach and engagement.

What we’re looking for:

Democracy Day seeks to fund a diverse range of newsrooms representing different audiences, geographies, mediums, and niches. All news organizations are encouraged to apply, but we also have a few priorities that we will take into account:

  • Journalism produced by small, independent, nonprofit, hyperlocal, or ethnic media outlets.
  • Journalism-centered collaborations between two media outlets or a media outlet and a civic organizations.
  • Solutions journalism that focus on the people, organizations, and systems that work to protect democracy in a municipality, city, or state.
  • Journalism that media outlets could not produce without this funding. This means we’re looking for new stories or expansions of projects already underway, not work your outlet has already done, budgeted for, or committed to doing.
  • Journalism aligned with our eight coverage priorities for 2024 — which are outlined in greater detail in the Democracy Day content menu — which are:
    Election stakes
    — Voting processes, procedures, and the fight against voter suppression.
    — Debunking and exposing mis- and disinformation networks.
    — Free speech and protests.
    — Voter fatigue, and what’s working to combat it.
    Demystifying checks, balances, and transitions of power.
    — Newsroom transparency about how it covers elections and democracy.
    — Civic engagement.

How to apply:

Newsrooms can submit applications via this Airtable form by June 14, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Stipend notifications will be sent out by mid-July.

Democracy Day organizer Joe Amditis will host office hours for those with questions about the application through June 10. You can sign up for a slot here.

More questions? Email info@usdemocracyday.org.

Beatrice Forman is the project coordinator for U.S. Democracy Day, a nationwide, pro-democracy reporting collaborative. Contact her via email at beaformanwrites@gmail.com.

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a primarily grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism and support an informed society in New Jersey and beyond. The Center is supported with funding from Montclair State University, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, the New Jersey Civic Information Consortium, the Independence Public Media Foundation, Rita Allen Foundation, Inasmuch Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. For more information, visit centerforcooperativemedia.org.

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Beatrice Forman
Center for Cooperative Media

Aspiring journalist first, recovering Swiftie second. Writing about diversity in tech & entrepreneurship, consumer trends, and all things pop culture.