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Cultivating impactful journalism: Report for the World’s impact on local newsrooms.

Earlier this year, Report for the World (RFW) announced the selection of 15 new host newsrooms, doubling its global network from eight to 20 countries. Among them are five independent newsrooms reporting on their home countries in exile. On the 24th of August, GFMD invited Report for the World to a webinar, Report for the World: A snapshot of media partnerships in 20 countries, to share more about their new global call for local newsroom applications.

Author: Fiona Nzingo | 31. August 2023

Report for the World: A snapshot of media partnerships in 20 countriesIn the session, Report for the World’s Chief Development Officer, Kevin Grant, and Executive Director, Preethi Nallu, shared more about the initiatives and a snapshot of their media partnerships with newsrooms in 20 countries.

Watch the full recording of the webinar here.


Transforming local journalism

In early 2017, the launch of Report for America (RFA) marked a transformative shift towards fortifying US communities through localised journalism partnerships. Over the span of just four years, RFA’s success has been nothing short of remarkable. What began with support for three reporters in Appalachia has blossomed into a network of 325 reporters spread across the United States and its territories.

Report for the World

“The launch of Report for America in early 2017 marked a shift towards strengthening US communities through local journalism partnerships” said Kevin Grant.

A key pillar behind RFA’s triumph is its innovative model, mirrored by Report for the World (RFW). RFW is an international journalism program that matches local newsrooms with talented journalists to report on undercovered issues around the globe. By creating a more sustainable and impactful media ecosystem, RFW informs, engages, and enables communities through public service journalism. Report for the World is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organisation dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.

This model hinges on a shared responsibility for salary costs with partner newsrooms. Working in synergy, these partners secure additional funding and engage in diverse forms of support. RFW assists in recruiting skilled reporters, imparting training, providing mentorship, and cultivating editorial collaborations.

RFA’s substantial contributions span a spectrum of topics, including climate, environment, education, health, fact-checking, watchdog, and investigative reporting. This initiative’s impact is amplified by open calls for participation held twice a year, inviting newsrooms worldwide to apply. Upon selection, partnerships are forged, and the process encompasses providing full-time salaried positions for a three-year term.

RFW covers half of the starting salary in this partnership, with the partner newsrooms assuming the other half, creating a genuine cooperative endeavour. With 45 reporters embedded in 32 exceptional independent newsrooms across 20 countries, RFW is strategising for the growth of its core members. This involves fostering cross-border connections and broadening engagement with diverse audiences.

Inclusive framework

“Different types of diversity requirements are considered during the application process to create a complementary team. ” said Preethi Nallu, Report for the World

Diversity stands as a cornerstone in RFW’s framework. To create a complementary and inclusive team, the program proactively considers reporters’ backgrounds, intersecting bits, and geographic locations. Regional hub strategies are deployed in collaboration with local organisations to enhance outreach and address context-specific needs.

Media innovation and sustainability

“… Many of their successful newsroom partners achieve sustainability through hybrid revenue models …” noted Preethi Nallu

Sustainability and media innovation are integral to RFW’s vision. The organisation actively seeks hybrid revenue models for newsroom sustainability, combining membership reader contributions, campaigns, subscriptions, advertising, digital and in-person events, and grants. Collaborations with global and regional organisations possessing expertise in innovation, such as the International Press Institute (IPI), further amplify these efforts.

Empowering journalists and moving forward

Professional development and collaboration remain paramount. By linking professional growth initiatives with collaborative journalism opportunities, RFW ensures reporters advance their careers while contributing to their communities. Training sessions with tangible outcomes and collaborative workshops with specialised media outlets are in the works.

With fresh calls for partnership on the horizon, RFW continues to grow and refine its strategies. RFW will unveil a forthcoming partnership with the East-West Center. This opportunity will be accessible to newsrooms and reporters within the Pacific island nations, presenting a specialised call to enhance financial accountability among leadership in these regions.

Challenges include expanding regional hubs and resource constraints, yet alliances with partners like the GFMD ensure continued progress and improvement. As RFW paves the way for impactful journalism, its journey epitomises the power of collaboration and innovation.

Learn more about GFMD membership and how to be part of the network here.


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