MacArthur’s $25M to nonprofit journalism outlets includes NPR, ‘Frontline’

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MacArthur Foundation President Julia Stasch announces the grants at the PBS Annual Meeting in Chicago. (Photo: John Reilly Photography)

MacArthur Foundation President Julia Stasch announces the grants at the PBS Annual Meeting in Chicago. (Photo: John Reilly Photography)

CHICAGO — The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced a major expansion of its support for nonprofit journalism at the PBS Annual Meeting Wednesday.

Twelve organizations including NPR, Public Radio International, the Center for Investigative Reporting and Frontline will receive a total of nearly $25 million in unrestricted, five-year general operating grants from the Chicago-based foundation.

“We together, PBS and the MacArthur Foundation, need to keep asking: Are we doing all we can to keep citizens informed, empathetic, activated and thinking critically?”  said foundation President Julia Stasch at the meeting.

Stasch said the contribution is to help keep nonprofit news organizations “free from commercial and partisan pressures.”

“This is our enduring commitment to work that is deep, fair and compelling,” she noted, “work that informs and inspires and can make a difference.”

Stasch also urged public television stations “to take small steps. … Find money for at least one local project or a beat you’re not covering right now. If you can’t add staff, collaborate with other local news organizations.”

In its announcement, Kathy Im, MacArthur’s director of journalism and media, said unrestricted funding is especially important to help 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.”

The recipients:

Frontline at WGBH, $4.2 million for the PBS investigative journalism series;

NPR, $4 million for investigative and international reporting;

The World at PRI, $1.75 million for the network’s signature news program;

The Center for Investigative Reporting, $3.5 million for researching, reporting and disseminating in-depth investigative reports;

The Center for Public Integrity, $2 million for its investigative reporting;

The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, $2.5 million for international enterprise reporting;

Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, University of California, $1.5 million for its Investigative Reporting Program;

The Foundation for National Progress, nonprofit publisher of Mother Jones magazine, $1.5 million for investigative and explanatory journalism;

American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop, $1.5 million to produce original reports on a variety of topics (Current is an independent journalism center of AU’s School of Communication);

The Global Press Institute, San Francisco, $1.25 million for recruiting and training local women as journalists for its 21 foreign desks;

The Nation Institute, New York City, which works to strengthen independent press and advance social justice and civil rights, $750,000 for its Investigative Fund; and

Round Earth Media, Minneapolis, $500,000 for its global reporting project that pairs early-career U.S. journalists with their counterparts in other countries to work on stories together.

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