Journalists are not usually in the frame of mind for grants. They pitch their story to an editor, the editor says “no” or “yes” and they get to work. But drafting a grant application is a somewhat complex technique. Here is a list of mistakes that tend to kill many fledgling journalistic projects before they even stand a chance.
One of the most common things you hear people say when you tell them what you do for a living is “Oh, I hate fundraising! I could NEVER do that for living!” Nice. Yes, there are all kinds of fun responses we can think of. But what it tells us over and over again is that fundraising is widely perceived as something dirty, ethically challenged, or at least uncomfortable. People think that talking to someone about their own money is akin to talking to them about sex, politics, or religion. It’s not.
One of the bright spots in investigative journalism over the past decade has been the rapid spread of nonprofits dedicated to supporting in-depth journalism around the world. A 2012 survey by the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) identified 106 investigative journalism nonprofits in nearly 50 countries – with more than half of them founded in the past five years. The list includes nonprofit newsrooms, online publishers, professional associations, grant-making funds, NGOs, training institutes, and academic centers. About half are based in the United States, where the hollowing out of traditional media has sparked the founding of dozens of these nonprofit newsrooms at the state and local level. Moreover, the trend does not appear to be abating.