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MacArthur Foundation awards Workshop

Posted: May 18, 2016 | Tags: journalism


The Investigative Reporting Workshop will receive $1.5 million in general operating support over the next five years from the MacArthur Foundation, which today announced its renewed and expanded commitment to journalism and media.

The Workshop is one of 12 news organizations across the country to receive these unrestricted grants. 

As part of its commitment to accountability and explanatory reporting, the foundation announced nearly $25 million in unrestricted, five-year, general operating grants to support professional nonprofit reporting; nonfiction, multimedia storytelling; and civic media "that enables new ways for people to express and organize themselves for social change," the foundation said in a press release.

MacArthur President Julia Stasch announced the commitment today in Chicago at the PBS annual meeting.

“Unrestricted funding is especially vital to helping well-led nonprofit news organizations experiment and innovate, and enables journalists and editors the independence to pursue important stories that do not make commercial sense, particularly in the costly realms of investigative and international reporting,” said Kathy Im, MacArthur’s director of journalism and media.

Im added, “Each of these organizations is also helping to build the next generation of reporters, capable of producing and distributing media in multiple platforms, and working in collaboration with one another and with commercial news outlets to create a more robust and vibrant media ecosystem that serves the public interest.”

The Workshop has received $200,000 annually from the foundation since 2009, but this is the largest grant from the foundation to date. Workshop Executive Editor Charles Lewis said, "We are thrilled and humbled by this very generous support and endorsement of our work here."

Other MacArthur recipients include the Center for Public Integrity, which Lewis founded, PBS FRONTLINE, the Center for Investigative Reporting and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

The Workshop, one of 18 nonprofit news organizations affiliated with universities around the country, and the only one in the nation's capital, reports on a wide range of topics with a focus on corporate and government accountability. The Workshop's stories on the economy, immigration, campaign finance, Internet access and toxic chemicals have been co-published with The New York Times, the New Yorker, the Philadelphia Inquirer, BBC America, MSNBC, NBC News and ABC News. The Workshop also produced stories in the "Years of Living Dangerously" series, which aired on Showtime and won an Emmy Award for Best Documentary in 2014.

The Workshop has had a partnership with PBS FRONTLINE since 2009. "Business of Disaster," the ninth co-production with writer-producer Rick Young and his team, included four student researchers and production assistants. The program will be broadcast Tuesday, May 24, on PBS nationwide and online. The FRONTLINE-Workshop/American University partnership is the documentary program's only on-campus collaboration in the United States.

The Workshop has had a three-year partnership with The Washington Post, in which graduate researchers and reporters from American University and other colleges are paired with Washington Post reporters, including Workshop Senior Editor John Sullivan. A 2015 Post series on police shootings, which recently won a Pulitzer Prize, included the reporting and research of a Workshop intern. 

The MacArthur Foundation has supported journalism since 1983 and investigative work on air, online and in print since 2000.

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