How we are responding to Covid-19

The American Journalism Project is working with funders all over the U.S. as well as our own grantees to support nonprofit news organizations in this time of crisis and uncertainty.

How we’re supporting our grantees

  • We recognize that our grantees are doing crucial and especially taxing work right now serving their communities, so we’re allowing for increased flexibility in our requirements and our overall work with each grantee. Our work with them is already built on high-touch relationships, and we’re continuing to assess and meet our grantees’ needs on a case-by-case basis.
  • Financial planning is a core area of our work with grantees, and the pandemic’s economic effects have made outstanding financial management all the more crucial. Our team is working hand-in-hand with each grantee to help them fully grasp their current financial position and to plan ahead for various financial outcomes in the coming months, all with the goal of ensuring organizational survival.
  • We’ve reminded grantees that they are not going through this alone, and that they are part of a broader nonprofit news community. As our co-founder John Thorton wrote in his recent letter to nonprofit news leaders: “We’ll get through this for three reasons: the work is more important than ever, your fellow citizens increasingly know that, and we are all part of a nonprofit news community that cares about one another deeply.”

Access to emergency relief funds

  • We brought on expert consultants to provide our portfolio with concierge support in applying to the Payroll Protection Program to ensure the best outcome for each grantee.
  • We are tracking other emergency funding opportunities and helping position our grantees to optimally access those funds.

Participating in field and funder efforts

  • AJP is helping to organize the collaborative nonprofit news Spring Fundraiser happening May 5-7, in collaboration with Giving Tuesday, the Institute for Nonprofit News, News Revenue Hub, and NewsMatch.
  • We’ve joined a coalition of more than 45 organizations in asking Congress to include at least $5 billion in funding for local news in the next stimulus package and to consider the press an “essential service”.

What are grantees are seeing

  • Our grantees have seen record traffic and interest, as well as hopeful increases in community support; however, beyond reporting challenges tied to health and safety, engagement and fundraising activities that rely on community events and gatherings have had to be postponed, leading to further uncertainty.
  • Our grantees have risen to the challenge. Alice Rhee, AJP’s managing director for strategic partnership and growth, highlighted for GivingCompass just a few examples:
    • In Memphis, MLK50 is looking at the far end of the pandemic by asking local workers what impact they are feeling.
    • The Connecticut Mirror, which has been covering the state’s opportunity gaps, examined the very different plans of two local school districts for providing remote learning for students.
    • In Chicago, City Bureau is surveying community groups and partners to figure out and help solve the information gaps not filled by existing systems like the city’s 311 service.
    • In San Diego, inewsource is alerting its readers to the fiscal challenges that remain ahead for local governments and schools.

How to get involved

  • If you’d like to get involved or help in any way, please email AJP’s managing director for strategy & operations, Jason Alcorn, at