Voice of OC has been selected again to participate in the ambitious nationwide Report for America project.

The project is aimed at reversing the decline of local journalism, across nearly 70 newsrooms.

This decimation of local news is all too familiar in Orange County where journalists numbered more than 600 in the 90s and now less than 100 people are covering the county.

The unique Report for America model will assist in bringing another reporter full-time at Voice of OC. The national 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 program’s financial support declines for a second year and then Voice of OC needs to build up reader donations to cover the reporter’s salary in the future.

Brandon Pho was Voice of OC’s first hire made possible through the Report for America program. Pho’s work has won top honors across state, southern California and Orange County journalism contests for investigations, hard news reporting and news features.

“Yes, local news is in crisis—but this batch of newsrooms also fills us with tremendous hope,” said Steven Waldman, president and co-founder of Report for America.

“Newsrooms across the country are pushing to cover essential local beats like schools and rural areas, at the same time they try to better represent all of the people in their 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.

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