The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit organization that supports independent global journalism, is seeking applications for innovative data-driven journalism projects that spotlight underreported issues. This opportunity is open to all newsrooms and independent journalists in the United States and abroad. Click here to learn about Artificial Intelligence Accountability reporting grant opportunities.
We are eager for proposals that will employ cutting-edge data techniques, as well as embrace collaboration among newsrooms, whether that be across state lines or across national borders. We encourage proposals that push the envelope in data collection and analysis and make use of advanced data mining techniques, such as machine learning, natural language processing, as well as spatial data analysis, satellite imagery, drones and sensors. We're seeking compelling data-driven storytelling, based on original data collection and analysis and strong visuals, that has the potential to shape public discourse and hold the powerful accountable.
For inspiration, here are recent examples Pulitzer Center-supported data journalism projects:
- Built to Last (2021 Pulitzer Prize Winner and Sigma 2021 Award Winner)
- Land Grab Universities (2021 Sigma and 2020 Polk Award Winner)
- Nations Divided: Mapping Canada's Pipeline Battle
- Taken: How the Police Profit from Seized Property
- Forced Out: Measuring the Scale of Conflict in South Sudan (2019 IRE Philip Meyer Award)
- The Atlantic Conquest
- Mapping Makoko (2021 Sigma Award Winner)
- Sucked Dry: Land Grabs Leave Thirst in Nile River Communities (2020 Fetisov Journalism Awards)
- Power Play: How Chinese Money Damned Myanmar's Economic Transition
- Kruger's Contested Borderlands
Also, please check out examples from the 2020 SIGMA awards.
To apply, you will be asked to provide the following:
- A description of the proposed project, including distribution/publication plan, no more than 250 words. We look more favorably on proposals that include a letter(s) of interest or support from publishers or editors.
- Methodology: Please describe your approach to collecting and analyzing the data, and include your approach for fact-checking or independently verifying the data that will be used in your reporting. (Fact-checking and data verification could be the role of the publishing partner, but please explain the process.)
- A preliminary budget estimate, including a basic breakdown of costs. Include travel costs, software, satellite/GIS, or hardware costs. Please do not include stipends for journalists/team members who are in the employ of newsrooms or are being paid by a publisher. If you are a journalist collaborating with a data designer and/or data visual specialist you may include consultant fees in your budget.
- Three examples (links) of published work by you (or someone your project team.) For example: data visualizations, infographics, and/or data-driven stories.
- Three professional references. These can be either contact information or letters of recommendation.
- A copy of your resume or curriculum vitae.
Applications may also include a more detailed description of the project, but this will be considered as optional supplement only. The most important part of the submission is the 250-word summary and the methodology.
We will select between three to five data story proposals for grants each year. We will consider projects of any scope and size. Please choose a team leader to submit the proposal, and submit only one project per journalist, data design team, or newsroom.
This grant opportunity is now open, and applications will be reviewed on a first come, rolling basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible to apply?
This opportunity is open to U.S. residents and journalists around the world. We are open to proposals from freelance data journalists, staff journalists, or groups of newsrooms working in collaboration with a data project idea. We want to make sure that people from many backgrounds and perspectives are empowered to produce data journalism. We strongly encourage proposals from journalists and newsrooms who represent a broad array of social, racial, ethnic, underrepresented groups, and economic backgrounds.
When will you be notifying applicants on whether they've been selected?
We begin reviewing applications as soon as they are received and typically notify applicants within a month if they're being considered for support. If there is some urgency to the field reporting, the applicant should state the reason in the application.
What is the budget range for the data journalism proposals?
We do not have budget range for these data journalism awards. We will consider projects of any scope and size and and we are open to supporting multiple projects each year. Most awards for our past data journalism project support has been between $10,000-20,000, but may be more or less depending on circumstances.
Do you pay stipends or salaries for freelance journalists?
We expect news organizations to pay freelance journalists for their work, though in exceptional cases, we may consider stipends to cover a reporter's time, if provided in the budget with an explanation. It is OK to include costs of contractors, such as data researchers or data visualization/story designers in your proposal and budget. Please do not include stipends for journalists/team members who are in the employ of newsrooms or are being paid by a publisher.
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