LION awards investigative reporting micro-grants to 18 publishers

Aimed at building reader support at local independent online news sites

By Steve Beatty | May. 11, 2018

Alhambra Source in Alhambra, California, is one of 18 local independent online news organizations that will receive investigative reporting micro-grants.

The Local Independent Online News Publishers organization this week awarded $25,000 to 18 of its member newsrooms to report investigative and enterprise stories important to their communities, and to sharpen their skills for more such stories.

Called the Impact-Designed Investigative Grants, the amounts range from $500 to $1,500. The winning online publications serve an array of audiences, including those in California, Wisconsin, Rhode Island and North Carolina. 

Further, LION will provide each newsroom with a membership into the national Investigative Reporters and Editors group.

The awards were made possible with a grant to LION Publishers from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

LION is pursuing additional funding for the I-DIG program, which resulted in a tremendous response from publishers with more story ideas than could be financed in this initial round.

As the name of the grant suggests, the stories produced are expected to have an impact — on both the communities and the publishers. The stories will be beyond the typical, strong news reporting already done by these newsrooms, shining a light on local issues that otherwise would not be reported. The publishers will then highlight the effects and benefits of such reporting as they undertake fundraising efforts based on these stories.

Newsrooms play a key role in a healthy democracy, holding public and private officials accountable and exposing instances of danger, waste, fraud and abuse. This series of grants makes possible such reporting where it most directly affects audiences — in their hometowns.

LION believes that this kind of reporting, coupled with a campaign to increase awareness of its importance, can lead to greater financial support from readers, leading to more such reporting.

This virtuous circle builds stronger communities.

LION will highlight the stories resulting from this program when they’re published, but due to the nature of the work, we are not describing the stories being undertaken. The publications receiving the I-DIG grants are:

Alhambra Source, in Alhambra, California.

Benito Link, in San Benito County, California.

Capitol Hill Seattle.

The Chester Telegraph, in Chester, Vermont.

City Limits, in New York City.

The Connecticut Mirror.

Delaware Currents, covering the Delaware River Valley.

The E’ville Eye, in Emeryville, California.

Gales Creek Journal, in Gales Creek, Oregon.

Longmont Observer, in Longmont, Colorado.

Menifee 24/7, in Menifee, California.

OC Indy, in Orange County, California.

Philadelphia Public School Notebook.

Q City Metro, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Racine County Eye, in Wisconsin.

San Francisco Public Press.

ThisisReno, in Reno, Nevada.

What’sUpNewp, in Newport, Rhode Island.

With more than 200 members in 45 states, LION’s mission is to foster the viability and excellence of locally focused independent online news organizations and cultivate their connections to their communities through education and action.

Founded by Edith Kinney Gaylord, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation’s mission is to invest in the future of journalism by building the ethics, skills and opportunities needed to advance principled, probing news and information.