Local Journalism Initiative
In some parts of Canada, residents do not have access to journalistic information about community issues and institutions through local newspapers, community radio, television or other news media. These gaps in coverage mean that citizens do not have necessary information about news, issues and events that affect them and their day-to-day lives.
The Local Journalism Initiative aims to change that.

How It Works

Overview:

The Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) supports the creation of original civic journalism that covers the diverse needs of underserved communities across Canada.

Launched by the Government of Canada in 2019, the Local Journalism Initiative provides eligible Canadian news organizations with funding to hire journalists or pay freelance journalists to produce civic journalism for underserved communities. The objective must be to increase local civic journalism in underserved communities.

The content produced will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons license so that Canadians can be better informed.

Eligibility:

The Local Journalism Initiative is open to Canadian news media organizations that have completed at least one uninterrupted 12-month publishing cycle and are engaged in coverage of democratic bodies/institutions and civic function journalism as core principles.

Who can apply?

News media organizations can apply. Individual journalists or freelancers cannot.  

Where to apply:

News media organizations should apply to the Administrator Organization serving their segment of the news industry.

News Media Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative program is open to Canadian print and online news media, and we particularly encourage applications from Indigenous news organizations.

There are six other Administrator Organizations covering official language minority written press, ethnic press and media, community radio and community television. Administrator organizations will work with each other to ensure that all applications are directed to the appropriate organization.

Not sure which Administrator Organization to apply to? Click here for a list of Administrator Organizations and the industry segments they serve.

Identify a need:

Your first step will be to identify a need for civic journalism in an underserved community and have a clear idea of how and why you want to fill it. Is there a need in your community to augment civic coverage? Are there areas where there is a specific public interest to be served? Are there under-reported or under-covered civic issues that need to be covered? Are there local or regional issues that need to be covered?

One of the goals of the LJI program is to ensure diversity in hiring and coverage. Applicants are encouraged to consider this when developing their idea, preparing their application and hiring their reporter.

What is an underserved community?

Underserved communities are areas of news poverty or news deserts:

News deserts:

Areas 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 existing news media, like a daily newspaper or public or private broadcaster. In an area of news poverty, sources of local news that are available have significant gaps in coverage because of lack of capacity.

The selection process

An independent panel of industry experts will review applications from news organizations, select recipients, and decide funding allocations. The panel will consider typical reporter salary ranges across the country when determining the amounts granted to successful applicants.

All applicants will be contacted and advised of the panel’s decisions.

Successful applicants will enter into a written agreement with News Media Canada detailing the terms and conditions of their participation in the Local Journalism Initiative.

Hiring

News organizations must have and submit, or adopt:

  1. a hiring policy promoting diversity and inclusion; and
  2. a human resources policy ensuring employment equity and a workplace that is free from harassment, abuse and discrimination.

If a news organization does not have these policies, they will be provided by News Media Canada as part of the LJI agreement. News organizations will be expected to adhere to these policies.

News organizations will ensure, to the extent possible, the journalist hired has no parental relations with members of the news organization in question.

News organizations will act as the employer of their LJI reporter and will be responsible for hiring, training, supervising, and monitoring the performance of LJI reporters.

News Media Canada will also monitor the regular and timely creation and submission of LJI content to the LJI portal.

Publishing LJI Stories

News organizations are expected to work closely with their reporter, to ensure they are producing new and original civic journalism in accordance with their LJI funding agreement.

Host news organizations can publish LJI content produced by LJI reporters in their newspapers and websites, bearing the LJI reporter’s byline, and they will also be required to upload them to the LJI news portal at the same time. The LJI news portal is an online searchable repository of LJI stories and other content including text, photos, audio, video and graphics files produced by LJI reporters in both official languages.

The portal makes LJI content available to other news organizations to republish with appropriate credit to the LJI reporter and host news organization. Accredited news organizations who wish to re-publish content will be subject to a Creative Commons licence restricting the use of the content to editorial use only and must commit to adhering to basic journalistic standards.

The LJI news portal is managed by The Canadian Press on behalf of News Media Canada.

More information:

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This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada. Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grâce au gouvernement du Canada.
Government of Canada