Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The Kansas City Beacon is expanding to a second city, Wichita, with nearly $4M raised
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
April 7, 2020, 1:30 p.m.

The last month has shown us that the news industry, despite a dramatic spike in readership, is in no way immune to the coronavirus. Layoffs, furloughs, closures, salary cuts: On Monday, The Dallas Morning News became only the latest newsroom to announce pay reductions for its staff.

I won’t go through the long list of publishers that have done the same or worse, but I’ll link you to Poynter’s list instead.

To help support journalists during this time, ProPublica reporters Robert Faturechi, Ryan Gabrielson and Topher Sanders, and OpenNews program director Sisi Wei launched Microloans for Journalists, a program for United States journalists to lend to other journalists.

Microlending as an idea is usually associated with the deeply impoverished in the developing world; Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank are credited with originating the modern iteration of the concept, for which they won the Nobel Peace Prize. But journalists have been helping other journalists for about as long as the profession has existed.

The way it works is that journalists in need (borrowers) can sign up to receive a loan of $500 while other journalists (lenders) and sign up to lend. (It’s structurally a lot like the Boston Helps project at Boston.com I wrote about last week.) Then the Microloans for Journalists team verifies that the borrower is a professional journalist who’s been furloughed or laid off and match a lender with a borrower. The two will handle the exchange between themselves. Borrowers are expected, in good faith, to pay the lender back within a year, though the website notes that since this is only a matching program, there’s no way to ensure that happens.

Only journalists are allowed to be lenders to avoid a conflict of interest. (You wouldn’t want someone a journalist covers to be the person who lends her money.)

Journalists like The 19th co-founder Amanda Zamora and New York Magazine’s Yashar Ali and others have already agreed to lend and are listed on the website. Lenders are, of course, welcome to forgive loans or consider their loans to be donations.

In the past few weeks, journalism communities have rallied together to support others in several ways:

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The Kansas City Beacon is expanding to a second city, Wichita, with nearly $4M raised
The Beacon has plans to create a regional network of nonprofit newsrooms across Kansas and Missouri.
Tell-all crime reporting is a peculiarly American practice. Now U.S. news outlets are rethinking it
U.S. newsrooms are increasingly embracing a bit of the empathy toward wrongdoers shown by reporters in some European countries.
How do you write about traumatic situations without retraumatizing those involved? Read this new guide for journalists, for starters
And what does “retraumatizing” mean, anyway? You won’t get PTSD reading this story, because when you’re done, you’ll know that’s a really inappropriate use of “PTSD.”