Scripps Stations Join Report For America Effort
Five stations owned by The E.W. Scripps Co. have been selected as 2020 Report for America (RFA) newsrooms and will host journalists to cover critically important beats in their communities as part of Scripps’ enterprise journalism content strategy. This announcement follows news last week that The Associated Press is adding statehouse reporters in 13 states as part of a new partnership with RFA.
RFA, an initiative of nonprofit media organization The GroundTruth Project, is a national service program that recruits and trains talented young journalists and places them in local newsrooms to cover under-reported topics in markets across the country.
“A central tenet of our content strategy at Scripps is our effort to focus more reporting on the beats and topics that impact the audiences we serve, including more coverage of underserved communities,” said Sean McLaughlin, vice president of news for local media at Scripps. “The journalists we hire into our newsrooms through the Report for America program will help us expand our commitment to enterprise reporting on critical issues and to be more inclusive about how we represent what is news in our markets.”
Scripps said it leads other local broadcasting groups by number of local TV stations selected to participate in RFA’s 2020-21 program, which also includes daily and non-daily newspapers, digital-only sites and public radio stations. RFA plans to place 250 journalists in local communities across 46 states in 2020.
Leaders in the Scripps stations will mentor the journalists — who are paid and serve for one or two years — on all aspects of newsgathering for a local TV station while focusing their reporting on beats that are critically important to audiences in each community.
The RFA journalist placed with WCPO Cincinnati will cover the city’s urban redevelopment efforts and the impact those efforts have had on low-income and minority residents.
WEWS Cleveland will report on literacy, domestic abuse and other important issues traditionally under-reported in the Northeast Ohio region.
The RFA journalist serving at KIVI Boise, Idaho, will cover issues affecting underserved populations in rural areas, including immigration and climate change.
WTMJ Milwaukee will embed a journalist in a historically under-covered neighborhood to report on the important news and share positive stories from the community.
The RFA journalist placed with Scripps’ Montana News Network stations — comprising the NBC affiliate in Helena and CBS affiliates in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena and Missoula — will travel to Montana’s Native American reservations to give these traditionally underserved communities a larger voice and more empowering coverage.
Report for America selected participating newsrooms through a national competition that considered a range of criteria, including a location’s history of mentoring, its content distribution strategy success measures and its commitment to trust-building behaviors through transparency in reporting.
Journalists can apply for these newsroom positions through Jan. 31. Final selections will be made by RFA and Scripps, with newsroom placements announced in April. Selected journalists will attend Report for America’s intensive training in June before joining newsrooms.