Press Forward starts accepting applications for local journalism grants April 30

Press Forward, the $500 million movement to reimagine local news, will launch applications on April 30, 2024, for its first open call for funding focused on addressing the long-standing inequalities in journalistic coverage of underserved communities.

Local news outlets that fill coverage gaps with original reporting – and have a budget under $1 million – will be eligible to apply for Press Forward funding. The Press Forward Open Call on Closing Local Coverage Gaps will provide 100-plus news outlets with an expected $100,000 each in funding, whether they are non-profit or for-profit entities. The funding will be unrestricted, general operating support, allowing the news organizations to spend it as needed to sustain and grow their operations.

The application will be available April 30, 2024, to June 12, 2024, at pressforward.news.

“Strong local journalism means that more people have the power to hold their leaders accountable, to make the important choices about their daily lives, and to keep our communities strong,” said Dale R. Anglin, director, Press Forward, in a statement. “However, for too long, underserved communities have not been included in those narratives, the truth of their lived experiences not reflected, to the detriment of our democracy. We’re looking for outlets that are filling these important gaps, in rural and urban communities across the country.”

For this open call, Press Forward is prioritizing organizations that are producing and delivering news and information to underserved audiences such as communities of color, linguistically diverse communities, low-wealth rural communities, and others not adequately served, reached or represented

The Open Call is one of two that will take place this year, with additional calls for proposals in subsequent years. The second, this fall, will focus on local news transformation, with funding guidelines being released in the coming months. Local news initiatives that don’t qualify will be able to fill out an organizational profile on the Press Forward grantmaking platform JustFund, which coalition funders will have access to.

Officially launched in fall, 2023, Press Forward is building a coalition of local news supporters across the country. The steady and significant decline in the availability of reliable, fact-based local news across the country is connected to growing threats to democracy, increasing polarization, and the spread of disinformation. At the same time, over a decade of investment in journalism experimentation and transformation have produced new models and solutions that are ready to scale, and a new generation of leaders prepared to reinvent and revitalize the field.

How Press Forward works

Press Forward is investing funding in four areas: strengthening local newsrooms, closing long standing gaps in journalism coverage, advancing public policy that expands access to local news, and scaling the infrastructure the sector needs to thrive.

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Today, the coalition includes 57 local and national funders, a number that has doubled in six months, and works in through:

  • Aligned Grantmaking: Foundations and donors invest independently and directly in local news initiatives, according to Press Forward’s funding priorities. To date, aligned grantmakers have invested more than $54 million in local news.
  • Local Chapters: Located in 17 communities across the country, these chapters bring together place-based funders to increase the financial support of local news. One, Press Forward Chicago, will be announcing its first round of grants in May.
  • Pooled Fund: Open Calls, like the Open Call on Closing Local Coverage Gaps, are through the Pooled Fund, where funders invest in promising models and solutions for local news.