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Sept. 8, 2022, 2:32 p.m.
LINK: news.berkeley.edu  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   September 8, 2022

The budget passed in California this week includes $25 million worth of help for local news, which will be distributed via UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism starting next year.

This isn’t the first time that a state has budgeted money to help local journalism — New Jersey’s Civic Information Consortium gets $3 million from the state’s latest budget, for instance — but the amount in California is especially large:

What is believed to be the largest state allocation ever made in California and in the U.S. to support local journalism, the new Berkeley fellowship program will award up to 40 fellows per year for at least three years with a $50,000 annual stipend to supplement their salaries while they work in California newsrooms covering communities in dire need of strong local journalism.

The fellowships will last three years. Berkeley Journalism students and graduates, and graduates of other programs elsewhere, will be able to apply for the first fellowship cohort as early as May 2023. Chancellor Carol Christ said the fellowship program reflects the campus’s values and priorities, and demonstrates the innovative leader that Berkeley Journalism has become in higher education.

When fellows are chosen, a “particular focus will be put on newsrooms that provide local coverage for underserved and historically underrepresented communities,” UC Berkeley said. The university is currently working to recruit a project director and organize an advisory committee “that reflects the diversity of the state of California, and that also brings others experiences, expertise, and perspectives to the table,” Steve Katz, assistant dean of advancement at the journalism school, told me in an email.

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