Brechner Center Establishes New Reporting Fellowship
COVID-19 is having a significant financial impact on U.S. newsrooms, at a time when accurate, unvarnished reporting is more critical than ever.
As a result, the University of Florida’s Brechner Center for Freedom of Information announced today the launch of Brechner Reporting Fellows, 10 fellowships for professional journalists experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Fellows will be granted $2,500 to create narrative projects that address, and identify solutions to, persistent problems that interfere with the public’s ability to get information about the workings of government.
Applications for the fellowships are now open. More information and application forms are available here.
“The fellowships are intended to provide opportunities for journalists who have lost jobs or experienced furloughs due to the recent economic downturn to earn a little extra money to help with bills, while contributing to the public’s knowledge about the most pressing contemporary government-secrecy problems,” said University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Journalism Professor Frank LoMonte, director of the Brechner Center.
LoMonte said the Brechner Center, which is funded by the proceeds of an endowment established by the family of Joseph and Marion Brechner, was able to create 10 fellowships by repurposing existing funds, but is seeking grantors to enable more journalists to qualify for future rounds of fellowships.
Working with the support of Brechner Center attorneys and legal interns, Brechner Reporting Fellows will create publishable work that contributes to public understanding about the need for access to information, and points toward solutions that would improve accessibility and usefulness.
The projects will focus primarily on information chokepoints at the state and local government level, where news coverage is most thinly stretched and the news organizations that remain in business lack the legal firepower to enforce the public’s right of access, LoMonte said.
The application period opens on April 21 and closes on May 15. The first round of 10 fellowship awardees will be announced on June 1. Details about how to apply are available on the Brechner Center’s website here.