Reporting Grants

The Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism awards grants of up to $15,000 to fund ambitious reporting on fiscal policies.

The money can be used by established media outlets for hiring replacements for staffers assigned to a project, for travel and similar expenses, for resources to improve interactive and digital presentations. Freelancers can use the money for stipends, travel and similar expenses.

The program defines fiscal policy broadly. It includes budget issues, debt, pensions and other post-employment obligations and funding for them. A high priority is given to mismanagement and chicanery. The program also includes tax policy, its implications and how fiscal stress changes governmental priorities. We are interested in stories on specific issues, on states and municipalities in fiscal distress, on broad public policy issues and on the consequences of fiscal policies.

Both topics on specific states and localities and projects with a national focus will be considered.

The reporting project grants are available to both reporters at established media outlets, nonprofit media organizations and freelancers. The program will provide editorial support as well. We are accepting applications for long-form text, radio, multimedia and video pieces.

We encourage partnerships, especially for publication, and pieces that involve the use of multiple platforms and social media.

Full-time reporters at established media outlets should explain how the money will allow investigative, in-depth, data-based work that would not normally be pursued by their employer.

We will work with the reporters and editors to develop their project ideas, assist with the reporting phase and play a role in the editing process. The extent of our editorial role will depend on the needs of the outlet in which the piece will appear, and will be negotiated as part of the agreement between the Ravitch program, the reporter and the media outlet.

The program has awarded four grants so far.

Miranda Spivack, a former Washington Post reporter, is working with the Center for Investigate Reporting on state budget contracting.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is investigating fiscal pressures is Wisconsin.

KUOW in Washington has published an extensive series on the consequences of the state’s regressive tax system.

WDET in Detroit examined the presidential candidates likely impact on state and local finances in Michigan in a series produced in the weeks leading up to the state’s primary.

To review the FAQs for the Ravitch Reporting Project Grants click here.

To apply with the online form, click here.

Grants are awarded on an ongoing basis.

If you would like to discuss your project email Greg David at greg.david@journalism.cuny.edu

How to Apply

Applicants should submit a well-focused story proposal through the accompanying online form. Think of it as pitch, much like you would submit to an editor at a newspaper, magazine, digital outlet, or radio station: give us enough preliminary reporting and documentation to demonstrate that the proposal in well thought out and can be executed.

The proposal should highlight what’s new and significant about the story, why it matters and what its potential impact might be. If the subject has been covered elsewhere, it should note where those stories have run and how the proposed piece would differ. Include information on how the impact of the story can be measured.

Applicants should also briefly outline a proposed reporting plan and a timeline for completing the story.

In addition, applicants should enclose three journalism samples. The samples should be professionally published work that showcases your ability to tackle an in-depth story in the proposed medium. Please also provide us with a resume.

References from two editors or others familiar with your work are also required.