A cry for help

Now more than ever, Americans need to get their news from a variety of places with a variety of voices — but as newsrooms shrink, the number of voices is dwindling, fast. It’s an existential threat to our democracy. In this chaotic environment, independent journalists can be an essential part of the solution, but we must find a way to provide them with the tools and protections afforded reporters at large media organizations.

Even as news interest is higher than it’s been in a generation, and sinking subscription rates have reversed, newsrooms are still shrinking,  Tens of thousands of experienced journalists have lost their jobs in the past decade, taking millions of years of experience out of the intellectual atmosphere.  It’s hurting democracy, obviously.

We’re trying to help.

The Independent Journalist Resource Center is based at the University of Georgia journalism school.  (They’re the Peabody folks).  Specifically, the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.  We plan to build an online clearinghouse of training and support services and offer in-person training for journalists working as freelancers and contractors.

The IRJC will leverage existing training platforms including the NPPA’s Business Practices Resources, which features tools such as the Cost of Doing Business Calculator. Organizations interested in joining or supporting the IRJC are encouraged to contact Keith Herndon, director of the Cox Institute, at klhern@uga.edu.