Knight and Ford donate $500,000 to reporting projects in Detroit and Michigan

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Detroit may have filed for bankruptcy, but public-service reporting efforts there and in Michigan just got a big boost.

The Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation announced Tuesday $500,000 in support to two projects, the Detroit Journalism Cooperative and the Michigan Reporting Institute.

The cooperative consists of five nonprofit media organizations that will receive $250,000 from Knight to focus on the city’s financial straits and engage citizens in the search for innovative solutions. The convening partner is Center for Michigan, a “think and do tank” advocating for citizen involvement in policy issues, along with pubcasters WDET-FM, Michigan Radio and Detroit Public Television, as well as New Michigan Media, a network of ethnic and minority-oriented news operations.

The Michigan Reporting Institute will receive the remainder of the grant from Ford for Zero Divide, a social-impact consultancy using technology to tackle issues of health, economic opportunities and civic engagement in underserved communities. Zero Divide is the fiscal agent for another partner project, Renaissance Journalism, a program of San Francisco State University’s Department of Journalism that experiments with new approaches to news and storytelling and provides training, technical assistance, consultation and grants to journalists and news organizations.