Report for America, a national initiative that trains young journalists and places them in newsrooms around the country to help boost local coverage of specialized topics, has selected The Dallas Morning News as a host organization for the second time.
The journalist will help The News boost its coverage of southern Dallas. He or she will report on issues of income inequality, housing, business and jobs.
“We saw southern Dallas as a key community to cover,” said Thomas Huang, The News’ assistant managing editor for journalism initiatives. “It’s been underserved.”
An initiative of The Ground Truth Project, a nonprofit news organization, Report for America is funded in part by the Knight Foundation, the Facebook Journalism Project, the Google News Initiative and more.
In 2020, 250 journalists will be placed in 164 newsrooms nationwide. The announcement earlier this week marked the journalism industry’s largest single-day hiring announcement in recent memory, according to a Report for America news release.
“Report for America is strengthening local journalism by placing talented journalists in communities and statehouse bureaus that are in need of rigorous reporting,” Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism, said in the release. “The expansion of the journalist corps is essential to inform and engage residents at the state and local level and sustain quality journalism to build a healthy democracy.”
Report for America splits the reporters’ salaries with their host newsrooms. Nationwide, they are assigned to cover beats ranging from economic mobility to voting systems to maternal health.
“We’re thrilled to participate again in Report for America,” said Keith Campbell, managing editor for The News. “There was an array of potential coverage choices for us this second go-round. We believe it’s crucial we increase coverage of southern Dallas.”
The News was part of an initial cohort for Report for America in 2018, when reporter Obed Manuel joined the staff to cover second-generation immigrant issues. Manuel, in his second year as a Report for America fellow, broke the story earlier this year about a U.S. citizen who was detained for weeks by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“The Dallas Morning News’ partnership with Report for America is a clear indication that this newspaper is committed to keeping the people of Dallas informed about what is happening where they live and how we as a news organization can hold city leaders accountable and keep government transparent,” Manuel said. “This is an opportunity for The News to show that we are committed to serving all of Dallas.”
The partnership with Report for America is just one of The News’ ongoing efforts to build community-funded journalism. That effort helps The News produce journalism in the public interest with support from corporations, foundations and philanthropists. For example, the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism has helped fund The News’ coverage of classical music the past two years.
Interested young journalists can apply for the 2020 position at reportforamerica.org through Jan. 31. The hiring process will include multiple rounds of interviews, and the selected reporter will start at The News in June.