EdNC, WRAL awarded $7,000 reporting grant in collaborative journalism open call

November 8, 2017 Stefanie Murray

Earlier this year, the Center for Cooperative Media announced the six collaborative news projects that were selected to win $7,000 grants as part of an open call we hosted, thanks to funding from Rita Allen Foundation and Democracy Fund.

Unfortunately, not long after that announcement, one of the winners, The Texas Tribune, had to decline its grant. The destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey meant that the Tribune needed to focus all of its efforts on the storm’s aftermath.

But, we’re happy to share that we’ve been able to award the grant to support another important project!

With help from our grant, EdNC and WRAL are partnering to explore the proliferation of schools seeking restart status in North Carolina. Restart schools are low-performing schools granted charter-like flexibility under a state statute that dates back to Race to the Top. The statute was thought to be defunct, but in December 2015, one school system realized it was still a viable option and pursued restart.

Since then, more than 100 schools have applied for and been granted restart status. What does the increase in restart schools and local flexibility mean for the state? Will the restart schools show the value of such an approach? EdNC and WRAL will explore restart schools from inception to implementation, and examine ways they are transforming the educational system in North Carolina.

As the six projects we funded begin to be published over the next year, we’ll begin case studies on each so other news organizations can learn from these important collaborations. One of the six projects, The Wall, lead by The Arizona Republic, recently published; we hope to share that case study in December.

About Democracy FundThe 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 CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.