More than 70 proposals submitted for collaborative reporting project funding in first open call

June 30, 2017 Stefanie Murray

Winners to be announced in early August

When we closed the application window today in our first open call for funding to support collaborative reporting projects, we were thrilled with the result — an amazing 72 proposals.

Proposals came in from all over the U.S., from radio and television stations, newspapers, hyperlocal digital outlets, nonprofits, universities and independent journalists. We had quite a few international inquiries as well.

The Center for Cooperative Media intends to provide six grants of up to $7,000 each to fund meaningful, impactful journalism as a result of this open call. This support is made possible thanks to generous funding from Rita Allen Foundation and Democracy Fund.

Our goal is to notify grant winners by the end of the month and announce them publicly during the first week of August.

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.

Thanks to everyone who helped us spread the word far and wide for this effort. We appreciate your support.

From a previous post: Details and FAQs for the Collaborative Reporting Project Open Call. 

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.


These questions and answers are based off the inquiries we’ve received this week:

1. When is the deadline? The deadline is 5 p.m. PDT today, June 30.

2. Can I apply if I’m based outside the U.S.? This particular open call is targeted at U.S. local news organizations, as explained in our launch article. Proposals must have at least two partnering entities.

3. Is there a word limit for proposals? There is no word limit on the proposal form.

4. I have a document I need to attach but there is no place to attach a document in the form, what do I do? If you have additional documents you must send, you may email them to Stefanie Murray at and explain why they are necessary.

5. Do you need my project budget? We are not requiring a detailed project budget as part of this proposal, but please take care to explain clearly in the funding question how you plan to spend the grant award. Grant winners will be asked to submit a project budget to attach to our final grant paperwork.

6. When will I know if our project was selected? We are hoping to notify grant winners by the end of July, with the goal to announce the selected projects during the first week of August.

7. I made a mistake, can I edit the proposal? Yes, the forms are editable until 5 p.m. PDT.

8. Will you offer these grants again? We certainly hope so! The response has been overwhelmingly positive and the proposals are outstanding. We hope to raise additional funds so we can offer this support again; if you know any interested potential funders, send them our way!

Visit to submit your proposal.

About Democracy Fund: The Democracy Fund is a bipartisan foundation established by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar to help ensure that our political system can withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. Since 2011, Democracy Fund has invested more than $60 million in support of effective governance, modern elections, and a vibrant public square.

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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