The Daily Herald is being awarded a grant by Report for America to partially fund three journalists who will expand the newspaper's suburban news coverage.
The grant will help pay for two reporters to beef up local news coverage in under-covered suburbs. A third reporter will focus on suburban state legislative campaigns in 2020 and local elections in the suburbs the following spring.
"We're excited to work with Report for America," Daily Herald Editor John Lampinen said, "as we strive in a challenging era for journalism to find new sources of support to enable us to meet our obligations to readers and the community. This grant will have a direct impact in strengthening coverage of the suburbs and keeping the public informed."
Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, was founded in 2017 following the model of Teach for America or AmeriCorps and has grown rapidly since then.
"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.
American newspaper revenue has dropped by more than 50% since 2005, according to the latest dated reported by statista.com. For 2020, the nonprofit chose 164 news organizations across 46 states to host 250 journalists.
That is more than four times the size of the 2019 Report for America corps and, according to the organization, "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."
The Daily Herald's Southern Illinois Local Media Group also was selected by Report for America for funding for a reporter to cover the town of Chester, south of St. Lou is.
Report for America pays half a reporter's salary for a year, with the possibility of a one-year extension. The nonprofit requires news organizations to fund-raise to generate some of the remaining expense.
Journalists seeking to join the program can apply through Jan. 31 at reportforamerica.org. Corps members will attend Report for America's intensive training in June before joining their newsrooms. Last year, nearly 1,000 applied for 50 open positions.
The expansion of the reporting corps for 2020 is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Facebook Journalism Project, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Google News Initiative, the Ford Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the Tow Foundation and others, the organization said.
The Joyce Foundation, based in Chicago, funded six reporters to cover state government and policy in Great Lakes states. Report for America also recently announced a partnership with The Associated Press to add statehouse reporters in 13 states.