MacArthur today reinforced its commitment to strengthening U.S. democracy through more informed and engaged citizens, announcing expanded journalism and media grantmaking that will support professional nonprofit reporting, nonfiction multimedia storytelling, and civic media that enables new ways for people to express and organize themselves for social change.
"Independent media plays an important role in how Americans understand their community and the world, the decisions they make, and whether and how they exercise their responsibility as citizens,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch, who announced the new commitment today at the PBS Annual Meeting. “MacArthur’s investments will strengthen and enlarge the ecosystem of independent journalism, enabling even more entrepreneurial work that makes available factual reporting, authentic stories, and diverse voices to help inform a robust public civic dialogue.”
A longtime supporter of public and independent media, the Foundation is recommitting itself to the core values of accurate, in-depth journalism and documentary storytelling while also supporting innovation and experimentation and building diversity in the field. Most of the Foundation’s support is made largely through unrestricted grants intended to preserve the independence and good work of its grantees. MacArthur’s expanded investments will:
- Promote experimentation in storytelling forms and platforms to find new ways of reaching and engaging audiences
- Build an infrastructure for secure journalism and civic media participation, ensuring the field has resources to support individuals who increasingly face legal, personal safety, and digital security challenges in the course of their media activities
- Facilitate noncommercial-commercial collaborations to ensure that public interest content reaches the broadest, largest audience possible
- Increase inclusion and equity by supporting programs that nurture a new generation of diverse, digital-savvy civic leaders and nonfiction multimedia storytellers
- Strengthen local accountability and investigative reporting in Chicago, the Foundation’s hometown
“Unrestricted funding is especially vital to helping well-led nonprofit news organizations experiment and innovate, and enables journalists and editors the independence to pursue important stories that do not make commercial sense, particularly in the costly realms of investigative and international reporting,” said Kathy Im, MacArthur’s Director of Journalism and Media.
As part of its commitment to accountability and explanatory reporting, the Foundation is making nearly $25 million in completely unrestricted, five-year general operating grants to a core group of journalism grantees. They include:
- American University will receive $1.5 million in general operating support for its Investigative Reporting Workshop, which produces original investigative reporting on a wide range of topics.
- Center for Investigative Reporting will receive $3.5 million in general operating support for its work researching, reporting, and disseminating in-depth investigative reports.
- Center for Public Integrity will receive $2 million in general operating support for its investigative reporting work on domestic and international issues.
- The Foundation for National Progress, the nonprofit publisher of Mother Jones, will receive $1.5 million in general operating support for its in-depth investigative reporting and explanatory journalism work.
- Global Press Institute will receive $1.25 million in general operating support for its work recruiting, training, and staffing local women to report from its 21 foreign news desks.
- The Nation Institute will receive $750,000 in general operating support for The Investigative Fund, its journalism fellows program that produces in-depth, investigative reports.
- National Public Radio will receive $4 million in general operating support for its investigative and international reporting.
- Public Radio International will receive $1.75 million in general operating support for its signature news program, The World.
- Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting will receive $2.5 million in general operating support for its support and dissemination of international enterprise reporting.
- Round Earth Media will receive $500,000 in general operating support for its global reporting model pairing early career U.S. journalists and journalists from other countries.
- University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism will receive $1.5 million in general operating support for its Investigative Reporting Program.
- WGBH Educational Foundation will receive $4.2 million in general operating support for the PBS investigative journalism series FRONTLINE.
MacArthur has supported journalism since 1983 – with a focus on independent and diverse perspectives on broadcast television and the production of independently produced documentaries. Since 2000, the Foundation has supported investigative journalism and deep and analytical reporting on television, radio, and online.