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San Joaquin Valley News Project: Request for Proposals

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Now through December 1, 2019, the Listening Post Collective is seeking proposals from civil society organizations, residents and media professionals in Fresno, CA for projects that will improve local news and information access.


The Listening Post Collective, a project of Internews, is a community media initiative that works with local partners to engage, inform and support communities across the U.S. that are underserved by mainstream news coverage. We believe information changes lives. 

Through our place-based practice, the Listening Post Collective works with community groups, local funders and journalism professionals to improve information ecosystems. We perform deep information ecosystem assessments; identify information needs, gaps and opportunities; and work with local partners to design community-driven projects that improve information access.

In 2019, we conducted an information ecosystem assessment in South Fresno and surrounding rural communities. Our aim was to look at how residents get and share news; listen to their priorities and understand how coverage of those issues impacts their ability to thrive. We also wanted to learn from grassroots news-sharing projects that fill information gaps, despite a lack of resources and formal training. Read the assessment here.

Now that our assessment is complete, we are looking to hear ideas from residents, civil society organizations and media professionals on how to improve news and information access in Fresno and surrounding rural communities. This is a formal pitch process with the end result being a small grant for the successful community news idea or ideas.

Grant amount: $5,000-$25,000

Deadline for applications: DEC. 1, 2019

Expected start date: JANUARY 2020

Duration of grant: 6-12 MONTHS

Proposal Guidelines

Grant pitches must demonstrate that the applicant has read and considered our information ecosystem assessment document. The successful proposal(s) will address some of the specific news or information related issues facing South Fresno and nearby rural areas laid out in the document, and borrow from some of the insights from community members quoted in the report. Please consider the section on “Insights and Suggestions” as a resource for your proposal.

This grant is meant to seed a great idea, which will continue past the length of this award. Proposals should demonstrate a plan to start ongoing measurable impact on the news and information needs of South Fresno and surrounding rural areas.

Applicants should include the following sections:

  • Project idea: Describe your community news or information project, including specific activities and timelines.
  • Partnerships: Specify potential partnerships, which may include existing local media outlets, local nonprofits or businesses with demonstrated histories of successful neighborhood outreach, or other entities that serve the community.
  • Sustainability: Discuss how the proposed project would continue financially and logistically beyond the length of this grant.
  • Organizational background: Describe your organization, highlighting previous relevant experience if any, especially working in community media.
  • Personnel: List key staff who will be working on the project, including short biographies.
  • Monitoring and evaluation: Include a data collection plan that captures community participation and impact on a regular basis.
  • Budget: Include a detailed budget for the project, showing personnel, travel, training, material costs, etc.

Eligibility/Application Requirements

Applicants must meet the following criteria for this grant: 

  • Applying organizations must be registered in the San Joaquin Valley.
  • Individual applicants or key personnel must reside in the San Joaquin Valley and have a demonstrated history of contributing to the area.
  • Individuals who would like to apply must do so as a partnership with an existing local organization.

Evaluation Criteria

Selection criteria will include:

  • Project ability to address stated information gaps in South Fresno and surrounding rural communities.
  • Institutional or individual record of working on social issues related to the area.
  • Detailed workflow plan that shows how project objectives will be met, and what kind of time commitment project administrators will make.
  • Project ability to increase access to needed information in the community.
  • Project ability to collaborate with ongoing efforts in the area to meet information needs.

Instructions for Applicants

  • Proposals can be up to, but no longer than three single-spaced typed pages.
  • Submit proposal via email to
  • The subject line of the email must include the words “San Joaquin Valley News Project”
  • The deadline for applying for this grant is Dec. 1, 2019.

Applicants will be notified of their proposal status by Dec. 18, 2019.

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