The program is designed to provide financial help to struggling journalists during these challenging times while growing relationships with publishers by offering content to community newspapers around Alabama. A $500 grant will be awarded to each journalist (up to 20) who produces a story with photos that is suitable for publication in Alabama newspapers and on news websites. The nonprofit Alabama Press Association (APA) Journalism Foundation will fund the program through a grant from the Alabama Power Foundation. The press association will also promote the program and provide website hosting/access as needed. The program is geared toward helping reporters who have been laid off, furloughed, had their pay cut or have been adversely affected in other ways by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stories must be news or news features – not opinion – and focus on the people, businesses, nonprofits and institutions that make Alabama a distinctive, welcoming place to live and work. Examples include stories of businesses bringing jobs or nonprofits creating programs that help people and communities; profiles of people whose talents bring positive attention to their community and the state; or features about historic landmarks, iconic institutions and tourist attractions.
How it works: Interested reporters should complete the below form after reading the below criteria.
- Reporters should choose stories that will draw readers from beyond their community, providing content that newspapers and news websites across Alabama can use. Story ideas will be considered on a first come, first served basis.
- Reporters should write their story from 500 to 1,000 words as broadly as possible to encourage multiple Alabama papers to publish it. Reporters must practice safe social distancing when doing interviews and gathering information and photos. Photos contributed by the source(s) of a story or obtained from other sources may be used in lieu of the reporters taking their own pictures, but reporters must have permission from the person or entity that owns the photo(s) to reproduce any photo(s) for publication. A minimum of three photographs (but preferably more) should accompany each story submission. Photographs should be a mix of horizontal and vertical.
- The following editor’s note will accompany each story: This story, written by ________, is part of a program funded by the Alabama Power Foundation and administered by the Alabama Press Association Journalism Foundation to support journalists who have been adversely affected by the COVID19 pandemic.
- Reporters should do the story on their own time rather than company time, although their newspaper/website is welcome to publish the story.
- Stories must be completed and submitted within two weeks of a story idea being approved.
- Once a story has been accepted for publication, APA will release the $500 grant to the reporter. APA staff reserves the right to publish or not publish a story. The staff’s decision is final.
- If someone seeks a correction or clarification of a story from the reporter or from the media that publishes it, the reporter or media should discuss the request with the project editor to determine if a correction or clarification is warranted. If so, the correction/clarification should be published in all media in which the story appeared, and APA staff will notify those in which the story appeared. It is every newspaper’s (and website’s) responsibility to publish a correction/clarification if they ran the story.