Sunday, April 18, 2010

Arkansas papers get grants to hire reporters

The Arkansas Presss Association has chosen five newspapers in the state for grants to hire an extra reporter for two years, at a salary of $35,000 a year, with the hope of improving news coverage.

The money will come from a $252,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and matching money of about $140,000 to be raised by the Arkansas Community Foundation, which thought up the idea. The "Write for Arkansas" program is designed "to provide more in-depth coverage of local issues," including economic development, Knight said in its January announcement. "The reporters will write articles for print and blog about their communities and experiences on a new Write for Arkansas Web site. The additional reporting staff will help Arkansas residents and leaders have a greater understanding of the state’s challenges and needs. Meanwhile, the project’s online component will chronicle local issues from across the state and open a new channel of communication allowing residents to participate in the news."

After a slow start, 26 papers applied. The grants were scattered regionally. The winners were the Madison County Record, Huntsville (northwest); Areawide Media, Salem (northeast); the Stuttgart Daily Leader (southeast); the Texarkana Gazette (southwest) and The Courier of Russellville (central). They are supposedm to have the reporters on the payroll by Aug. 1. (Read more)

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