Report for America is an organization that seeks to place journalists in local newsrooms all around the country. The organization is modeled after the U.S. government agency Americorps which sends members to assist on various projects all over the country.
Report for America helps newsrooms across the country hire journalists. It also seeks to hire journalists to cover areas that are traditionally ignored by the national media.
Report for America was founded in 2017. The organization claims there is a lack of funding to keep media outlets open and reporters employed and believes that it can address a lack of trust in the media by the American people.
RFA is a project of The GroundTruth Project, which was founded in 2014 to train foreign correspondents. It is cosponsored by Google News Lab. GroundTruth Project has taken funding from a number of left-of-center institutional funders, including the Packard Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Knight Foundation.
Report for America is modeled after the government-run Americorps program. Unlike other journalism placement programs whose members are referred to as “fellows”, RFA refers to its members as “corps members.” The program has also been compared to Teach for America, which seeks to place new teachers in classrooms all over the country.
RFA pays its “corps members” $40,000 per year. Half of the salary comes from RFA itself while the other half is split between the newsroom hosting the member and donations.
RFA plans to place 1,000 journalists in newsrooms all over the country by 2022. By 2018, it had placed 12 reporters, with three in the Appalachian region.
Steven Waldman is the president and co-founder of RFA. Previously, he was the co-founder of BeliefNet.com and national editor of U.S. News and World Report.
Charles Sennott is the co-founder and GroundTruth CEO. Previously, he was the Middle East bureau chief for the Boston Globe.
GroundTruth’s 2018 Form 990 did not have an itemized report for RFA. RFA claims it has received donations from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Facebook Journalism Project, Google News Initiative, Galloway Family Foundation, Natasha and Dirk Ziff, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Tow Foundation, Ford Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Heising-Simons Foundation, Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, Select Equity Group Foundation, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism, Annenberg Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation, LOR Foundation, Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Steans Family Foundation, Henry M. Kimelman Family Foundation, Duo Collective, and the Kendeda Fund. It has also received individual contributions.