One of the key steps in your Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) application is identifying a need for civic journalism in an underserved community.

The aim of the program is to broaden coverage on civic institutions and issues across the country, so we encourage you to think about where the need is, whether that is a courthouse, city hall, band council, school board, Parliament, provincial legislature, school board, etc., to help residents know what is going on where they live.

So, what is an underserved community and how do you identify one?

Communities are considered underserved if they are:

  • News deserts: Communities where citizens do not have access to journalistic information about community issues and institutions because there are no daily or community newspapers and other media (for example, community radio or television). Also, if there are other public or private broadcasters, they do not produce local news.
  • Areas of “news poverty”: Communities where there is limited access to journalistic content about community issues and institutions through a daily or community newspaper or public or private broadcaster. Available sources of local news — whether a newspaper, a community radio station or other media — demonstrate significant gaps in coverage due to a lack of capacity.

Your LJI application must include a well-stated case, justifying the need for a LJI reporter, that provides information about the community as well as the media that serve it, the reason for the need, and the specific issues of concern that the reporter would cover.

If you would like more information about underserved communities, check out our glossary for definitions, or how it works, for more information on identifying a need.

If you have any questions, contact us at