BOSTON — GroundTruth is an idea that lies at the core of GlobalPost.
Since the day we launched in January 2009, it has been my hope that we would build a news organization with solid values and a deep belief in the idea that the best journalism comes from being there on the ground to tell the stories that matter.
This week, we are proud to launch The GroundTruth Project, a new initiative to train the next generation of foreign correspondents and to undertake in-depth Special Reports on human rights, global health, religious beliefs and investigative reporting around the world. We believe this is a pioneering new effort that will allow us to continue to take on the stories that matter in under-reported corners of the world and to be innovative and forward-thinking about storytelling in the digital age.
Our hope is that this funding will give us the resources to provide what we sometimes call “environments of understanding,” or web pages that take you deep inside complex issues and offer educational and enlightening coverage. You can see our efforts in this direction on the Special Reports landing page and with this funding we hope to expand these efforts. We hope you will follow us on this reporting journey and let us know what you think about our reporting projects.
You can read about the 27 reporting fellowships that we are offering and the strong funding support we have received from the Ford Foundation, the Luce Foundation, the Open Hands Initiative, the Kaiser Family Foundation and others.
Here is the announcement we put out on this yesterday:
BOSTON, MA – May 1, 2013 – The world news site GlobalPost announced today a foundation-supported initiative that will fund 27 top, young reporting fellowships in Myanmar as well as Libya, Nigeria, India and other under-reported corners of the world.
These reporting fellowships will focus on the issues of emerging democracies, human rights, global health, religion and other social justice issues and will seek to foster new forms of storytelling in the digital age.
They are part of a wider foundation-supported initiative headed by GlobalPost co-founder Charles M. Sennott which relies on more than $3 million in support over the next three years from some of the country’s most prestigious foundations to train and mentor the next generation of foreign correspondents and to produce powerful storytelling that informs and enlightens on complex issues around the world.
GlobalPost co-founder, President and CEO Philip S. Balboni said, “The foundation support will help train young journalists in emerging democracies and other under-reported areas of the world and provide them with an opportunity to engage in ambitious long-form reporting focused on issues of international human rights. Our educational initiatives like these fellowships are aimed at international cooperation between journalists, and we believe this is a pioneering and innovative way to fund in-depth reporting that can reach a wide audience.”
Sennott, GlobalPost Vice President and Editor-at-Large, said: “We are very grateful for the generous support we’ve received for this exciting new opportunity, which is to be called The GroundTruth Project. ‘GroundTruth’ is the belief that you need to be there on the ground to tell the stories that matter, and it has always been at the core of what we do.”
“So our hope now is to provide training for young journalists as well as increased opportunities for them to have the skills and the resources they’ll need to get to the ‘GroundTruth’ in many corners of the world. We want them to explore innovative forms of storytelling to help educate and enlighten our community about the big, complex issues from income inequality to the struggle of emerging democracies and the global effort to reduce child mortality,” Sennott added.
The most ambitious of the fellowships will be in Myanmar, also known as Burma, and is a partnership between GlobalPost and the New York-based Open Hands Initiative (OHI). After a very competitive selection process, twenty top, young journalists will soon be announced by OHI. Ten Burmese and ten American journalists, all with three to five years of professional experience in the field, will come together to work across multiple platforms of writing, photography, video and audio.
They will form a reporting team that plans to journey throughout Myanmar covering the dramatic changes taking place as the country takes historic steps to open up to democracy. In the spirit of the mission of OHI, they will also get to know each other and their respective countries through what OHI Founder and Chairman Jay Snyder calls “people-to-people diplomacy.” The reporting journey will be led in the field by Sennott along with award-winning photo-journalist and VII Photo Agency co-founder Gary Knight, who is also the founder of the Program for Narrative & Documentary Practice at Tufts University. The reporting fellows’ work will be featured as a GlobalPost Special Report and through posts on the GroundTruth blog over the summer. It will be made available to GlobalPost editorial partners, including NPR.org, CBS News and more than 75 newspapers around the world.
In addition to the project in Myanmar, GlobalPost’s foundation-supported initiative has received funding around many of the pressing issues facing the globe. Those funding commitments include the following:
• The Ford Foundation provided a cornerstone grant of $1.25 million for four years of funding that began in 2011 and will extend to June 2015. This funding supports coverage of human rights and social justice issues, including a recent 25-part Special Report on income inequality titled “The Great Divide.” It also funds the RIGHTS blog on GlobalPost, which focuses on the issue of international human rights. And it will support a human rights reporting fellowship for a young journalist to curate and post for RIGHTS during the summer of 2013.
• The Bake Family Trust has provided a generous $1 million grant for operating costs of this initiative and its dedication to teaching the next generation of foreign correspondents as well as funding the GroundTruth blog written and edited by Sennott and featuring guest posts and interviews with top correspondents who are doing extraordinary work in the field. The grant includes funding for a one-year reporting fellowship for fall 2013 to support the GroundTruth blog.
• The Henry Luce Foundation is providing $600,000 in support of fellowships, training and international reporting on religion in partnership with the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism. With this funding, GlobalPost covered the historic papal transition in Rome, a growing Sunni-Shia rift that is re-shaping the modern Middle East and explored what role faith plays in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. The funding will also support a semester-long reporting fellowship in fall 2013.
• The Open Hands Initiative has committed nearly $500,000 in support of a partnership with The GroundTruth Project to build a team of 20 top, young journalists who will participate in the workshop and reporting project in Burma this summer. It is the second such fellowship in which GlobalPost has partnered with OHI. In fall 2011 a workshop took place in Cairo, Egypt amid the tumult and change of an unfinished revolution, with a report published on GlobalPost in 2012.
• The Kaiser Family Foundation has also provided a third year of support for a partnership in fellowships, training and reporting on global health issues and this year GlobalPost “Special Reports” is exploring the challenges of reducing child mortality in a series titled “The Seven Million,” referring to the number of children under the age of 5 who die every year largely from preventable diseases. The funding is currently supporting three reporting fellows who are recent graduates of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
• Other significant funding is provided by The Correspondents Fund for the first annual “GroundTruth Fellowship” for reporting in the Middle East; the Galloway Family Foundation for investigative reporting training and education; and individual grants to correspondents from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Fund for Investigative Reporting and other institutions.
GlobalPost is the Award-winning world news site with outstanding original reporting from country-based journalists in all regions of the world. Noted by The New York Times as “offering a mix of news and features that only a handful of other news organizations can rival,” GlobalPost offers fresh, in-depth perspective on the changing global picture that affects us all by combining traditional journalistic values and the power of new media.