NEW YORK—After a highly competitive search, Report for America has announced the selection and placement of its 2019 corps members: 61 reporters in 50 local news organizations across 28 states and Puerto Rico.

 

Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists into local news organizations to report for one to two years on under-covered issues and communities. An initiative of The GroundTruth Project, Report for America addresses an urgent need in American journalism at a time when local news deserts threaten our democracy like never before.

 

The reporters, referred to as “corps members,” were chosen after a highly selective national competition that drew nearly 1,000 applications. Some 70 leading journalists, editors and teachers acted as judges.

 

The 2019 corps, which begins reporting in June, includes 50 newly selected journalists and 11 current Report for America corps members who will continue their service for a second year.

 

These reporters reflect the wide ranging perspectives of communities they will serve—more than forty-percent of the corps members are journalists of color and seventy-percent are women. One-third of the corps members will be reporting in a place they call home.

 

The new corps members have won numerous awards, including North Dakota Newspaper Association Rookie Reporter of the Year, the Emma Bowen Award for Courage Reporting, the Green Eyeshade Award and the Felker Award for Excellence in Long Form Journalism.

 

They have a range of experience at local newspapers such as the Grand Forks Herald, Las Vegas Sun Reporter and the Toledo Blade; radio stations like Wisconsin Public Radio and WBUR; and national news outlets including the Associated Press, National Public Radio, Reuters and Fox News.

 

In addition, the corps includes several remarkable journalists who have had extraordinary non-journalistic careers—two Olympic athletes, a pediatrician and a geography professor.

 

“The quality of the applicant pool was mind-boggling, and their spirit—the commitment to local journalism as public service—was genuinely inspiring,” said Steven Waldman, Co-Founder and President of Report for America.

 

Through their reporting, corps members will tackle some of the most important issues facing Americans today. Eight will cover health, including a pediatrician who will report on child health in Modesto, California. Seven will cover Native American issues. Others will focus on agriculture, the environment, criminal justice, and local government. Several corps members will work in Spanish-language media outlets, covering, for example, ongoing hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico. This year, Report for America will also expand its state and regional corps: Eight corps members will work in California, eight are headed to newsrooms in the Mountain West and we are expanding our corps in Appalachia by two.

 

Earlier this year, Report for America announced a major expansion, quadrupling its placement of reporters from 13 in 2018, to at least 61 in 2019. The expansion of the corps was made possible by philanthropic leaders including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Facebook Journalism Project, Google News Initiative, the Ford Foundation, Natasha and Dirk Ziff, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Galloway Family Foundation, the Tow Foundation, LOR Foundation and many more.

 

“Ensuring that every community has access to great local news is vital to restoring trust in media and our democracy. That’s why expanding the pool of excellent journalists who are passionate about local news is so important,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation Vice President for Journalism.

 

“I’ve had the opportunity to tell stories that, for years, had been overlooked,” said Samantha Max, a second-year corps member. “Communities need journalists to hold leaders accountable and provide platforms to ordinary citizens whose voices are often ignored.”

 

Report for America leverages a unique funding match model, paying half of a corps member’s salary, while encouraging and supporting its local news partners to contribute one-quarter and local and regional funders to contribute the final quarter.

 

“Report for America promotes new models for shared investment in local journalism, increasing the chances of sustaining watchdog community reporting, for the community, by the community,”  said Charles Sennott, the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of the GroundTruth Project, which launched Report for America in 2017.

 

“Bringing on Report for America reporters enables KUER to open bureaus in southern Utah, so we jumped at the chance,” said Andrew Becker, News Director for KUER/NPR Utah in Salt Lake City. “We have reported on that half of our state for years, but to have a steady presence there, to be part of the community on a daily basis and to report regularly on issues that concern people across Utah will be a huge win for our newsroom, our station and our listeners.”

 

Corps members will attend Report for America’s intensive training in Houston, TX in June, followed by the Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference before joining their newsrooms to launch their first year of service.

 

The 2019 corps members are:

 

California

Chico Enterprise-Record

Camille von Kaenel

California

Modesto Bee

ChrisAnna Mink

California

San Jose Mercury

Erica Hellerstein

California

CALmatters

Jackie Botts

California

Sun-Gazette

Kaitlin Washburn

California

Fresno Bee

Manuela Tobias

California

The Desert Sun

Risa Johnson

California

Sacramento Bee

Theodora Yu

Connecticut

Associated Press – CT

Chris Ehrmann

Connecticut

Connecticut Mirror

Kelan Lyons

Florida

El Nuevo Herald

tba

Hawaii

Honolulu Civil Beat

Eleni Gill

Idaho

Times-News

Megan Taros

Idaho

Boise State Public Radio

Rachel Cohen

Illinois

Chicago Sun-Times

Carlos Ballesteros

Illinois

Chicago Sun-Times

Manny Ramos

Illinois

Block Club Chicago

tba

Kentucky

Lexington Herald-Leader

Alex Acquisto

Kentucky

Lexington Herald Leader

Will Wright

Louisiana

The Advocate

Emily Woodruff

Maine

Maine Center for Inv. Reporting

Samantha Hogan

Massachusetts

WCAI

Eve Zuckoff

Michigan

Detroit Free Press

Angie Jackson

Mississippi

Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Alex Watts

Mississippi

Mississippi Today

Eric Shelton

Mississippi

Mississippi Today

Michelle Liu

Missouri

St Louis Public Radio

Eric Schmid

Montana

Yellowstone Public Radio

Olivia Reingold

New Jersey

Chalkbeat

Devna Bose

New Mexico

Santa Fe Reporter

Katherine Lewin

New Mexico

Albuquerque Journal

Theresa Davis

New York

Spectrum News Buffalo

Camalot Todd

New York

The City

Eileen Grench

New York

Associated Press – NY

Ryan Tarinelli

North Carolina

The News & Observer

Adam Wagner

North Carolina

The Charlotte Observer

Lauren Lindstrom

North Carolina

Q City Metro

Olivia Riçhard

North Carolina

Q City Metro

Ryanne Persinger

North Dakota

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead

tba

North Dakota

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead

Natasha Rausch

Ohio

Cincinnati Enquirer

Julia Fair

Oregon

Malheur Enterprise

Yadira Lopez

Puerto Rico

Centro de Periodismo

Rafael René Díaz-Torres

Puerto Rico

Centro de Periodismo

Victor Luis Rodríguez

Tennessee

WPLN / Nashville Public Radio

Samantha Max

Tennessee

Chattanooga Times Free Press

Wyatt Massey

Texas

Victoria Advocate

Ciara McCarthy

Texas

Texas News Hub / KERA

Mallory Falk

Texas

Dallas Morning News

Obed Manuel

Utah

Salt Lake Tribune

Becky Jacobs

Utah

KUER / NPR Utah

David Fuchs

Utah

KUER / NPR Utah

Kate Groetzinger

Utah

Salt Lake Tribune

Zachary Podmore

Washington

Spokesman-Review

Arielle Dreher

West Virginia

Charleston Gazette-Mail

Amelia Ferrell

West Virginia

Charleston Gazette Mail

Caity Coyne

West Virginia

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Emily Allen

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Reporting

Phoebe Petrovic

Wyoming

Casper Star-Tribune

Christopher Aadland

Wyoming

Buffalo Bulletin

Mara Abbott

Wyoming

Wyoming Public Media

Savannah Maher

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