Media Reform

Type of Activity: Project
Grantee: The GroundTruth Project
Amount: $50,000 in 2020

What is The GroundTruth Project?

GroundTruth’s mission is to restore journalism from the ground up by supporting the next generation of journalists through field reporting that serves under-covered corners of the United States and the world. They work to build a pipeline of talent for emerging journalists, restore faith in the industry by supporting in-depth public service reporting, and to serve as watchdogs where no one seems to be watching.

They provide educational opportunities in the form of training seminars, forums, conferences, and workshops, in addition to publishing critical information and storytelling on a variety of urgent issues.

Why do we think this project is important?

Even before COVID-19, local news organizations were struggling. The number of reporters had declined 60 percent since 2000, the same scale of collapse as local industry. Some 1,800 communities have no local news source at all.

With a primary goal of creating a national public strategy for public policies that will rebuild local news, The GroundTruth Project created a powerful new coalition — Rebuild Local News — that  brought together a broad collection of stakeholders, developed ambitious policy proposals, advocated for public policies, initiated grassroots campaigns, and lobbied Congressional staff. Once their plan was developed, published, and shared publicly, The GroundTruth Project focused on raising awareness of the plan among legislative staff, legislators, and the media. If a public policy framework were adopted and implemented, it has the potential to lead to a substantial increase in income for nonprofit local media and locally-owned for-profit media. This would result in a local media system that better represents its residents, including communities of color, which have been historically underserved.

Local news organizations are necessary for the health of a democracy, as they connect constituents with the legislators and officials who often have the most direct impact on their daily lives. By providing information about local government affairs they help communities increase their civic engagement, and by investigating problems or uncovering corruption, local news organizations serve as a watchdog for issues that might otherwise be overlooked. Local news is an important component of a national democracy, and should be treated as such through national public policies.

How is Democracy Fund Voice supporting The GroundTruth Project?

In 2020, Democracy Fund Voice approved a grant of $50,000 to The GroundTruth Project.