The Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis invites area journalists to apply for enterprise reporting grants to cover the cost of in-depth journalism of interest to its region.
The grants of up to $10,000 are used to defray costs for freelance journalists or staff journalists lacking the resources to do this type of reporting.
“Great journalism is both labor intensive and at times costly,” long-time St. Louis Post-Dispatch editor Dick Weiss said after helping establish the grant fun in 2009. “If we want to see reporting that genuinely improves and enhances civic life, we will have to find a way to pay for it. One way to do that is to reach into our pockets and make a donation just as we do for other civic assets, such as the Saint Louis Symphony, Art Museum, and Forest Park. In this case, the assets are our region’s talented journalists.”
The project could be investigative or explanatory in nature with the requirement that the story or stories be presented locally in print, online on radio or television. The money could be used to cover expenses, travel or simply pay for a reporter’s time in preparing the story.
The program was firsts offered at a time when the region’s media outlets were suffering through the worst recession in decades and had cut their staffs and reporting budgets. Six years later, that is still the case.
All journalists in print, broadcast, and online are eligible to submit a story idea and apply for a grant. A Press Club committee reviews the application and determine whether to offer a grant.
Selection criteria includes the applicant’s demonstrated commitment to reporting stories with a strong local interest, the impact the proposed story will have on the community and a determination of which candidates most need the resources. Proposals are considered as they are submitted so that the stories can be produced on a timely basis.