Open call for collaborative reporting projects unveiled at Collaborative Journalism Summit; here’s how to apply

One of the most important goals of this year’s Collaborative Journalism Summit is to spur new ideas for future reporting projects that can produce meaningful, impactful journalism.

And now, we’re adding a little financial incentive to help us hit that goal.

Thanks to generous support from the Rita Allen Foundation, the Center for Cooperative Media today at the Summit announced that it is launching an open funding call for collaborative reporting projects. We’re accepting proposals today through June 30; three reporting projects will be selected thereafter to win a $7,000 grant.

We’re launching this open call because we think there’s never been a more important time than now to leverage collaborative reporting and build cooperative networks to expand reach and deepen access for journalists around the world – with the goal of holding truth to power and ultimately more quickly exposing solutions to problems in our society.

In many ways, 2016 was a watershed year for successful collaborations, including the groundbreaking Panama Papers project and Electionland. We want to encourage more meaningful projects like these.

“The journalism and technology communities are deep in conversation about new ways to collaborate on important reporting and information-sharing initiatives,” says Elizabeth Good Christopherson, President and CEO of the Rita Allen Foundation. “We hope these awards will provide an opportunity for organizations to combine knowledge and ideas on projects that will make timely contributions to public knowledge and civic life.”

We’d especially like to hear from local news outlets across the U.S., and we are particularly interested in projects that include collaboration with technologists.

When submitting your proposal for the Collaborative Reporting Project Open Call, consider the following:

  • How will the impact of your reporting topic be deepened and widened by leveraging the resources, access and networks of the multiple proposed collaborative partners?
    • What makes a collaborative approach the best one for the proposed reporting topic?
    • How will audience engagement be enhanced through the partnership?
    • How will working together with other organizations assist in the dissemination of the reporting project to target audiences?

Successful applicants will submit proposals that:

  • Are highly collaborative, featuring two or more independent participating organizations.
  • Have a timeline that includes initial publication/broadcast within the next year.
  • Aim to produce some kind of demonstrable community impact.
  • Specify a clear and actionable content dissemination plan, including definition of key audiences that the content is targeted toward.
  • Preference will be given to projects that include audience engagement components.

Visit to submit your proposal.

The judges for the open call include Heather Bryant, a John S. Knight Fellow studying collaborative journalism at Stanford University; Jon Funabiki, professor of journalism at San Francisco State University and executive director of Renaissance Journalism; Scott Klein, deputy managing editor at ProPublica; Ju-Don Marshall Roberts, chief content officer at WFAE; and Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab.

The Collaborative Journalism Summit is hosted by the Center for Cooperative Media and presented by Google News Lab and the Rita Allen Foundation, and is sponsored by the Democracy Fund, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the CUNY Graduate School of JournalismMontclair State University and the Rita Allen Foundation.

About the Rita Allen Foundation: The Rita Allen Foundation invests in transformative ideas in their earliest stages to leverage their growth and promote breakthrough solutions to significant problems. It enables early-career biomedical scholars to do pioneering research, seeds innovative approaches to fostering informed civic engagement, and develops knowledge and networks to build the effectiveness of the philanthropic sector. Throughout its work, the Foundation embraces collaboration, creativity, learning and leadership.

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. The Center is supported with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Democracy Fund. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism, and in doing so serve New Jersey residents. For more information, visit

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