Report for America announces support from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to further diversity in local reporting

NEW YORK – In 2020, Report for America will continue its ambitious work to place its most diverse corps yet, with new support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This new partnership will fuel Report for America’s efforts to quadruple its reach, fielding 250 corps members, and furthering a track record and mission-critical goal of supporting diverse emerging journalists. In 2019, nearly 40% of Report for America’s corps members identify as people of color.

“Quite simply, when America’s newsrooms reflect America, it leads to better local journalism and stronger communities,” said Steven Waldman, President and Co-Founder of Report for America. “We’re thrilled and grateful that Robert Wood Johnson is so committed to this goal and making sure that these efforts succeed.”

With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation over the next two years, Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, will tailor its recruiting, mentorship, marketing and training efforts to meet the needs of an emerging pool of diverse journalists and the newsrooms they work in.

During the past two decades, the number of journalists working in newsrooms across the country has declined dramatically and with it, a noticeable drop in the number of minorities in newsrooms.

According to the Census Bureau, while 40 percent of the U.S. population is ethnic minorities, people of color make up less than 17 percent of newsroom staff at print and online publications, and only 13 percent of newspaper leadership.

“We are tremendously excited about the impact the new corps of journalists will have in communities across the U.S. beginning this June,” said Alison Bethel McKenzie, Director of Corps Excellence. “And we are especially thrilled that so many of our corps members will be journalists of color and that we have also significantly increased the number of minority-owned and operated media partners we are working with in 2020. The generosity of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will put Report for America at the forefront of addressing coverage of minority communities and minority issues.”

This new partnership builds on Report for America’s ongoing efforts to support a diverse pipeline of journalism talent nationally — 40% of the program’s current corps members identify as people of color, and the program has established new partnerships with the Native American Journalists Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, for example.

In addition to the significant support Report for America will be offering to its 250 corps members in 2020, the goal of this initiative is better working environments for minority corps members, improved coverage of minority communities and issues and an increase in minority representation in partner newsrooms.

Thanks to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Report for America will lead in catalyzing diversity and inclusion efforts in news organizations across the country.

Report for America is committed to ensuring that its corps members and minority-owned and operated partner newsrooms are supported in a very real and visible way. It is also committed to ensuring that mainstream newsrooms tackle issues of diversity aggressively and effectively and that they understand the value of cultural competency.

About Report for America

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 journalism at a time when news deserts are widening across the country, leaving communities uninformed on local issues and threatening our democracy.

About Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 

For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at