Voice of OC has been selected as one of 18 newsrooms in the state and 164 newsrooms across the nation in the Report for America project in 2020.
The unique model will bring on a reporter at Voice of OC to cover north Orange County — the Report for America fund will cover half of the reporter’s salary while Voice of OC will cover one-quarter of the salary and will need to seek local and regional funders to contribute the remaining quarter of the salary.
The announcement marks the single biggest hiring announcement of journalists in recent memory—and comes as a direct response to the worsening crisis in local news across the country.
Report for America is a national service program that places talented, emerging journalists into local news organizations to report for one to two years on under-covered issues and communities. An initiative of The GroundTruth Project, Report for America addresses an urgent need in journalism at a time when news deserts are widening across the country, leaving communities uninformed on local issues and threatening our democracy like never before.
“We offer a pretty simple fix for news holes in communities throughout the country—local reporters on the ground, who hold leaders accountable and report on under-covered issues,” said Steven Waldman, president and co-founder of Report for America. “The editors we’ve met during our application cycle have shown us amazing passion, commitment and sharp ideas for how to better serve their local communities.”
Applications are being accepted now through Jan. 31 at reportforamerica.org for the reporting positions. Journalists will be announced in April and will begin in June.
This investment leverages a unique funding model in which RFA pays half of a corps member’s salary, while asking its local news partners to contribute one-quarter and supporting them in getting local and regional funders to contribute the final quarter. The goal of the model is to expand the number of local reporting positions permanently.
“RFA is about serving these communities and helping to restore the pipeline for a new generation of journalists. We understand our program may not fix all that is broken in local journalism, but we are honored to be part of a wider community directly confronting the crisis and doing everything we can to restore journalism from the ground up.” said Charles Sennott, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of GroundTruth, which launched Report for America in 2017.