Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Public Radio has been selected by Report For America to host a journalist next year to expand coverage of the Northeast Kingdom.
"VPR has been working toward more Vermonters hearing and seeing themselves in our coverage and this new reporter will help us do that in the Northeast Kingdom," said Sarah Ashworth, Vice President of News. "Our reporter will live and work in the region and will weave the voices and perspectives of the Kingdom into our broader coverage of issues in Vermont."
Report for America is a national service program that places emerging journalists into local news organizations to report for one to two years on under-covered issues and communities. An initiative of The GroundTruth Project, Report for America addresses an urgent need in journalism at a time when news deserts are widening across the country, leaving communities uninformed on local issues and threatening our democracy.
“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,” Steven Waldman, president and cofounder of Report for America, said in a press release.
Vermont has lost more than 40 percent of its reporters, radio and television announcers in the last 20 years, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. In light of this crisis, Vermont Public Radio has responded with a dramatic increase in the number of journalists it employs – from just three in 1997 to 20 full-time and three part-time journalists today.
VPR’s Northeast Kingdom reporter will be one of 250 emerging journalists in 164 host news organizations to serve local communities across 46 states in the coming year. Newsrooms were selected through a rigorous national competition. In addition to VPR, Report For America also announced that VTDigger and the Valley News would receive corps members next year.
"It's a big deal that our region will receive three Report For America journalists," said VPR President Scott Finn. "There's been a scary drop in the number of journalists in Vermont, but with support from our members, we can preserve great journalism here and across rural America."
Report For America will cover half the salary of the journalist who is selected, with VPR and local fundraising initiatives covering the rest. The appointment is for one year but can be extended, with the goal for the position to become self-sustaining and permanent.
Source: VPR 12.4.2019