Founded and supported by a small group of private citizens concerned about the shrinking state of journalism yet excited about possibilities of new media and technologies, the fund plans to issue grants of up to $3,000, in whole or in part, four times per year.
“It’s a people-powered journalism fund that will make small grants to directly support experimental and enterprising reporting projects,” said Phillip Smith, who proposed the idea in May and went in search of co-founders.
Successful applicants could be traditional reporters with an important scoop but without the resources to pursue it. The grant could be used to pay for all or part of a larger investigation, from offsetting costs or learning new skills to paying for travel to remote regions.
Successful applicants could also be those with innovative ideas for the publishing or distribution of written stories, video or audio, data analysis and visualizations, and so on.
Said Smith: “Need a drone to capture hard-to-get aerial footage? A projector to blast a thought-provoking story on the side of a wall in a public space? Want to research that idea for blockchains, bitcoins and the distribution of news?” “In short, we are hoping to support innovation in form, content, delivery, research or innovation. As you can see, the set of criteria is broad. We don’t want to be too prescriptive. We want to be surprised. Surprise us.”