On its website, the Journalism Funding Partners (JFP) states a mission to “Increase the depth, diversity and sustainability of local journalism by building and stewarding connections between funders and news organizations.” Founded as a 501 (C)(3) in 2019 by the former publisher of the Raleigh News & Observer, Orage Quarles and internationally recognized reporter and former senior consultant for the Democracy Fund, Sheila Solomon along with Jim Boren and Anders Gyllenhaal . JFP has secured and managed more than $5 million in grants to help support new and existing journalism coverage.
One of the funding projects that the JFP coordinated allowed for the Nashville Tennessean to create its first beat solely dedicated to covering local First Amendment issues. Thanks to these funds, Angele Latham has been winning national attention with her local reporting on the Sumner County (TN) governing board’s passage of an amendment declaring that the county would uphold “Judeo-Christian values.” Latham also was responsible for recent, in-depth coverage of current Tennessee laws passed that restrict “drag show” performances within the state.
Funds managed by JFP also helped create a new beat at the Raleigh News and Observer, centering on climate change and the environment, covered by reporter Adam Wagner. Wagner’s recent investigative series centering on “Big Poultry” exposed how the more than 4,600 state poultry farms that raise more than 1 billion chickens and turkeys each year impact more than 230,000 North Carolina residents to un-checked odor and manure, which has proven to cause illness and reduce property values. Recently Wagner and his Editor Bill Church won the 2023 Victor K. McElheny Award for local and regional science journalism from this series.
In this 180th episode of “E&P Reports," we speak with two reporters covering beats that exist today, thanks to the funding managed by Journalism Funding Partners (JFP). Appearing are the Nashville Tennessean’s first reporter to be focused solely on First Amendment issues, Angele Latham and the Raleigh News and Observer's new climate change and environment reporter Adam Wagner. Explaining how JFP was able to help create these and other new local journalism initiatives is executive director Rusty Coats.
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