The American Press Institute today announced additional recipients of its Trusted Elections Network Fund micro-grants.
New funding to expand this initiative to improve audience-centered elections coverage comes from Craig Newmark Philanthropies and ElectionSOS, an initiative of Hearken and Trusting News. We are grateful for the additional support, allowing us to fund an additional 11 newsrooms, and bringing the total number of funded projects from 20 to 31. Nearly $200,000 has now been awarded to local news organizations and partners for this work. See the first round of grantees here.
API received roughly 100 applications from local newsrooms representing 34 states plus the District of Columbia. These 11 funded projects stood out for a variety of reasons. They represent a breadth of news organizations working to serve their audiences and communities in unique ways. Each project seeks to cater creatively to the local information needs of voters or tackle misinformation directly. They present a premier opportunity, both before and after the election, to learn about how to help communities navigate elections and related misinformation throughout the country.
“We look forward to working with the reporters, editors and experts associated with the projects described below. Look out for lessons and takeaways from these projects over the course of the next few months,” API Executive Director Tom Rosenstiel said. “We will offer these lessons publicly, but please consider joining the Trusted Elections Network if you would like an inside look at the progress these projects make in the next few weeks.”
The following projects are made possible by additional support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies.
Avant-Youth (Atlanta, GA)
Avant-Youth will produce a visual rundown of Georgia’s election process targeted at younger voters to provide information about both the voting process and local and state offices and candidates for those offices.
Malheur Enterprise (Vale, OR)
Malheur Enterprise will translate its election coverage and relevant social posts into Spanish to better serve Spanish-speaking voters in rural Oregon.
Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, FL)
The Tampa Bay Times will offer a text-specific number to provide audiences with election information, complementing its existing Voter Q&A to solicit questions and send information to readers directly about polling places, voter deadlines (early voting, mail-in ballot requests, etc.) and any crucial Election Day information.
The following projects are made possible by support from ElectionSOS, an initiative of Hearken and Trusting News.
ASU Foundation for a New American University (Phoenix, AZ)
The News Co/Lab at Arizona State University and Spaceship Media have partnered to create an online dialogue about election misinformation, “Help!! Is this true?” The group will comprise participants of the News Co/Lab’s free online media literacy course designed to help older adults make sense of the digital media environment in an election year. The group will serve as a moderated space for participants to discuss the election constructively and help guide reporting.
Charlottesville Tomorrow (Charlottesville, VA)
Based on interviews and feedback from audience members around voting safely in the pandemic, Charlottesville Tomorrow will expand its 2020 Voter Guide to cover how, where and when to vote and vote safely. Working with a freelance videographer, Charlottesville Tomorrow will produce at least one how-to video on voting and at least one mini-documentary-style video about this year’s election.
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI)
The Detroit Free Press will hire a full-time, temporary reporter (through Nov. 30) to cover mis- and disinformation threats to the local vote in Michigan. This person will not only investigate misleading stories circulating online and report on them, but also clarify and correct the record by making YouTube and other social media videos that fill the information void where mis- and disinformation thrives and through public appearances at virtual events and on local radio and TV.
Isthmus Community Media / WORT 89.9FM (Madison, WI)
Isthmus, in partnership with WORT 89.9FM, will produce and distribute coverage of presidential candidate events in Wisconsin, with an emphasis on fact-checking; analysis on voting patterns in several swing communities across Wisconsin; and interviews with local election clerks to identify potential confusion with mail-in and absentee voting.
The Nevada Independent (Las Vegas, NV)
The Nevada Independent will continue its buildout of its comprehensive Election section — consisting of stories, fact checks, explainers, videos, campaign ad tracking, district maps and voter registration breakdowns, candidate information, how-to-vote instructions, and more — and translate all features and content to Spanish for Nevada’s large Spanish-speaking community.
Washington City Paper (Washington, D.C.)
The Washington City Paper will help empower prospective D.C. voters with information about registration and voting deadlines and reminders to submit their ballots through a semi-automated email series, segmented by registration status and mail-in ballot status. Automations and templates will be shared with a network of partner local news organizations from across the country.
WDET-FM Public Radio (Detroit, MI)
WDET will focus on disseminating critical voter information and addressing misinformation throughout October related to absentee ballots, drop boxes, and key political races and how they affect Metro Detroit.
WFAE Public Radio (Charlotte, NC)
WFAE will create a voter information and engagement project that includes a voter guide of national, state and local elections. The guide would provide information about the roles and responsibilities of the offices on the ballot, the 100 candidates who are running with their answers to a candidate questionnaire, and information about the voting process.