JACKSON, Wyo., April 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The LOR Foundation is expanding its partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN), undertaking a new initiative this year that better connects newsrooms and journalists across the Mountain West to advance solutions reporting on urgent rural issues. Called the Mountain West News Partnership, this regional network of newsrooms will co-report and share stories, exchange best practices and challenges, and participate in local and regional in-person events.
"The aim is to create a regional ecosystem where high-quality solutions reporting travels efficiently to the places it's needed, ultimately informing a more effective democracy," said Keith Hammonds, president and chief operating officer for SJN.
The $500,000, one-year project kicked off this month. In addition to supporting the work of the SJN team to get the Mountain West News Partnership up and running, the funds will also go toward newsroom training, travel grants for journalists to pursue story leads, newsroom engagement grants to catalyze public discussion in communities, and four Report for America Fellows to be placed at outlets in the region.
"News deserts are spreading in the Mountain West so it's crucially important that the LOR Foundation has taken the lead in helping Report for America to place journalists in communities throughout the area, to cover urgent issues like health care, education, and the environment," said Steve Waldman, co-founder and president of Report for America.
LOR launched its partnership with SJN in 2015 and has since supported the introduction and integration of solutions reporting in over 50 Mountain West newsrooms, yielding over 200 solutions stories on topics such as rural economic sustainability, access to education, health, land and water use, and mental illness. This next phase of work will also be funded in part by the Kendeda Fund in Montana and the New Mexico Local News Fund.
"The solutions reporting approach is showing great promise," said LaMonte Guillory, Chief Communications Officer of the LOR Foundation. "It alone cannot ensure the sustainability of local newsrooms, but it's an important piece, and the addition of Report for America to this work is a natural fit. I'm encouraged to see other organizations in the region and nationally taking notice of the Mountain West News Partnership and look forward to having more dialogue on philanthropy's role in addressing the solutions identified through this reporting."
ABOUT LOR: LOR works to increase prosperity in the rural Mountain West, while preserving the character that defines these iconic places. We have a flexible approach to funding that allows us to support a wide range of issues. Together with communities, we revitalize main streets, protect clean water supplies, preserve agricultural land and open space, and improve access to the outdoors and recreation. Connect with us: lorfoundation.org