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SPJ Foundation awards grants to NFOIC, NAJA and other SPJ programs


Matt Morris, SPJ Development Officer, 317-920-4784,
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Specialist, 317-920-4785,

INDIANAPOLIS — The National Freedom of Information Coalition and the Native American Journalists Association are among five organizations receiving grants from the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation. Grantees are receiving nearly $76,000 in total funding.

The Foundation is also providing funding to this summer’s SPJ Region 1 Northeast High School Journalism Institute; SPJ’s Future Leaders Academy; and MediaFest22, SPJ’s annual convention.

“Finding funding is always a concern, so the SPJ Foundation is pleased to support these creative and educational programs,” said SPJ Foundation President Irwin Gratz. “NFOIC and NAJA’s projects will help foster much needed diversity in the journalism industry. We are proud to be on the ground floor of helping train the future leaders in journalism and continuing to provide support for those furthering their skills and career.”

NFOIC’s Freedom of Information Bootcamp for Journalists of Color trains participants to acquire and analyze government documents and data. Along with enhancing general skills, participants team up with coalition leaders and others for help to access government information. The program connects participants with SPJ chapters. Participants engage in FOI training including sessions at journalism conferences and with organizations such as the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

The program provides networking opportunities with other journalists of color nationwide through the NFOIC Summit and SPJ’s convention. The initiative seeks to bolster diversity and inclusion among FOI subject experts.

A grant to NAJA will fund completion of the Indigenous Media Landscape Project. In partnership with the Oklahoma Media Center, the project analyzes pre- and post- “Promised Land” coverage, measuring the impact of NAJA newsroom trainings to determine whether Indigenous coverage in mainstream media has improved.

NAJA will train more than 25 journalists on ethical coverage of Indigenous issues. The program will help reporters by providing a context for covering tribal sovereignty issues in Oklahoma, which is home to 39 federally recognized tribes.

The SPJ Region 1 Northeast High School Journalism Institute at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, offers students training in field reporting. Students participate in lectures and workshops about SPJ as well as coursework in newswriting, reporting, editing, photography, videography and digital media. Working in teams, students report on the environment, science, economy and infrastructure. The teams generate narrative, photos, videos and audio for each story to be published on a website created for the program. They can then access the website for work samples to include on their resume and in portfolio for future jobs.

Funding for SPJ’s Future Leaders Academy, held May 20-21 in Indianapolis, supported the professional development program focusing on building leadership skills and empowering the next generation of SPJ and newsroom leaders. The academy is an outgrowth of the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute, whose graduates helped shape today’s SPJ.

The program engaged emerging and diverse journalists and offered networking opportunities and further education beyond the initial program. Participants engaged in group decision-making, learned SPJ history and discussed visionary leadership and the importance of foresight and strategic planning.

A grant will support MediaFest22, SPJ’s annual convention with the College Media Association and Associated Collegiate Press as partners. MediaFest22, Oct. 27-30 in Washington, D.C., will offer training via more than 50 professional development programs geared to the organization’s mission and the needs of today’s journalists.

SPJ Foundation grants primarily support SPJ and provide support to organizations and causes that further the Society’s mission. Grant requests are first reviewed by the Foundation Grants and Awards Committee and then their recommendations are sent to the SPJ Foundation Board of Directors for review and selection.

View previous recipients.

The Society of Professional Journalists Foundation is a public foundation dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. The SPJ Foundation supports educational and professional needs of journalists and journalism students. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Give to the SPJ Foundation.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.


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