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Sahan Journal will add two reporters and a photographer to its growing local staff thanks to funding announced Monday by a national public service reporting project.
Sahan Journal was among 164 news organizations nationally selected by Report for America, a national service program dedicated to improving coverage of underreported issues and communities. It trains emerging journalists and deploys them to local news organizations to report for one to two years.
Sahan Journal currently relies mainly on a pool of freelance reporters and its partner MPR News for coverage of Twin Cities immigrant communities. It’s now looking for its first managing editor to oversee the entire newsroom operation.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be selected as a host newsroom and we’re grateful to Report for America for this opportunity,” said Mukhtar M. Ibrahim, founder and editor of Sahan Journal.
“Adding three full-time reporters to our staff will help us to serve Minnesota’s growing immigrant and refugee communities with timely and high-quality independent journalism that addresses their needs and interests,” he said.
The reporters will come on board in June. One will focus on the education of Minnesota’s growing immigrant and refugee students, the other on immigration policy and culture.
The third position will be a photojournalist.
With this support from Report for America, Minnesota’s immigrant groups will have consistent access to journalism that represents their culture, lived experiences and interests, and in the process, develop media fluency and civic engagement.
Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, a Boston-based nonprofit news organization. It will pay half of each reporter’s salary, up to $20,000. The other half is covered by the host newsroom and local philanthropists.
Sahan Journal will be responsible for providing nearly $100,000 — half of the three Report for America reporter’s first-year salaries including benefits.
Report for America is funded by a variety of sources including the Knight Foundation, the Facebook Journalism Project, the Joyce Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Google News Initiative, the Ford Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and the Tow Foundation.
Host newsrooms were selected through a rigorous process. Proposals from newsrooms were reviewed at least four times by 50 judges who are leaders in the journalism industry.
With this round of funding, Report for America will fund 250 reporting positions in newsrooms nationwide. That is more than four times the size of the 2019 class, which has been reporting in 50 newsrooms across the country.
“Today’s news marks the single biggest hiring announcement of journalists in recent memory—and comes as a direct response to the worsening crisis in local news across the country,” Report for America said in a press release.
“We offer a pretty simple fix for news holes in communities throughout the country—local reporters on the ground, who hold leaders accountable and report on under-covered issues,” said Steven Waldman, president and co-founder of Report for America.
“The editors we’ve met during our application cycle have shown us amazing passion, commitment and sharp ideas for how to better serve their local communities,” he said.
Editor’s note: Journalists interested in working for Sahan Journal or for other host news organizations must apply by Jan. 31, 2019.
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