Announcing the first Rapid Response Fund grant recipients for post-election coverage; second round of applications now open

Bridget Thoreson
Nov 16, 2020 · 4 min read
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Journalists across the country are working hard to keep their communities informed following the election. And that necessary work is often happening when newsrooms and freelancers were already overtaxed and overwhelmed.

At Election SOS, we’re thrilled to support vital journalism with our Rapid Response Fund, to assist journalists who are working to create a well-informed citizenry during post-election emergencies, fast-changing situations and high risk of misinformation and disinformation. In other words, our goal with this fund is to enable reporting that supports democracy and democratic processes.

Today we are pleased to announce the recipients of our first round of funding and also invite applications for an additional round of grants. We will review applications on a rolling basis and provide grants of between $500-$10,000 until the $100,000 in this round is distributed. We prioritize requests that make a clear case for how their work will serve the public and impact democracy in this crucial post-election period.

Learn more and apply here.

While every grantee in our initial round of $100,000 in funding demonstrated a component of their work to serve underrepresented and marginalized communities, 13 of the 19 projects receiving funding from the first round of applications have the central focus of their grant-supported work devoted to serving marginalized communities with their coverage. Five grantees are using their funding to support translation into the following languages: Hindi, Hmong, Rohingya, Spanish, Urdu, Vietnamese and Yiddish. Roughly half of the projects (9) are focused on misinformation or legal challenges specifically.

Congratulations to these journalists and newsrooms who received grants:

Colorado

  • Colorado News Collaborative: for training and launching a pilot project about dialogue journalism.

Georgia

  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: to help cover the runoff U.S. Senate races and connect with various communities and demographic segments who will be key to the race.
  • The Current: to support a data reporter who can make public records requests and sift and clean data records and to finance a LexisNexis account to help with legal research for reporting.
  • Project Q Atlanta: to support reporting on the path forward for LGBTQ+ equality efforts; U.S. Senate race runoffs; and the most LGBTQ+ state lawmakers ever seen in Georgia.

Illinois

  • WBEZ, Chicago: for live event translations, including translations in Spanish, Urdu, Arabic, and Rohingya, and to translate some reporting from the Citizens’ Agenda, including the Field Guide to Local Government.

Michigan

  • BridgeDetroit: reporting support to follow the of-the-moment stories related to the record-breaking turnout; report on the attempts to disrupt the vote count and vote results from Detroit and Michigan; and provide continued coverage of how the election will impact Detroiters to ensure that their voices are heard amidst this national conversation.
  • Model D Media: to cover the efforts on the ground by community organizations and fighting and debunking misinformation and disinformation to inform the public.

National audience

  • Chalkbeat Inc.: to support reporting on educational impacts related to elections and translating coverage into Spanish.
  • The Forward: to continue dedicating reporting and newsletter distribution resources to unmasking disinformation and debunking conspiracy theories and/or direct resources to more Yiddish election news coverage through special newsletter sends and additional focus on social media.

North Carolina

  • Enlace Latino NC: for election and post-election reporting support serving North Carolina’s fast-growing Latinx immigrant and Spanish-speaking community.

Nevada

  • The Nevada Independent: to cover Nevada elections counting locations that are under scrutiny and convert English language stories into Spanish.

Pennsylvania

  • Centre Daily Times: to dedicate reporting resources to election coverage and combat misinformation circulating about the ballot counting process.
  • Pittsburgh City Paper: to purchase protective equipment for journalists covering protests and support post-election reporting.
  • Streetlight Media Group: to support reporting to look into problems with voting and investigate further if needed, dive into the election results, attend the upcoming Board of Elections meetings, and support basic government coverage in the coming weeks.

Washington

  • David Ryder, freelancer: covering protests in Seattle against the Trump administration’s challenge to election results.

Wisconsin

  • Wausau Pilot and Review: to serve Hmong, Vietnamese and Hispanic residents and assist with language translation.
  • Wisconsin Watch: to support the Narrow Margin project, which has been examining the mechanics and equity of voting in Wisconsin, including voter suppression, election security and misinformation, providing adequate photography to accompany election-related stories.

In addition some grant recipients are receiving support related to trauma experienced by journalists and are not listed above for privacy reasons.

We Are Hearken

Bridget Thoreson

Written by

Storyteller and audience advocate. Engagement manager at Hearken, helping newsrooms pursue public-powered journalism.

We Are Hearken

The Hearken team's thoughts on journalism, engagement, and tech. Hearken means: to listen. We believe that listening to your audience first, not last, makes for better everything. We're here to help: http://www.wearehearken.com/

Bridget Thoreson

Written by

Storyteller and audience advocate. Engagement manager at Hearken, helping newsrooms pursue public-powered journalism.

We Are Hearken

The Hearken team's thoughts on journalism, engagement, and tech. Hearken means: to listen. We believe that listening to your audience first, not last, makes for better everything. We're here to help: http://www.wearehearken.com/

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