Thousands of pounds available for your local stories

Apply for the Bureau's new local reporting fund: tell us the story you think needs to be investigated

The applications period for the local story fund is now closed.

We - the Bureau Local- are thrilled to announce our 2018 local reporting fund.

Thanks to the kind folks at the Open Society Foundations, we’re now able to directly fund journalists, freelancers and local people to investigate untold stories in their communities.

Why? Because we believe local news is important. Because local people and companies with power should be checked and challenged. Because journalism is a cultural force for good.

Despite the need, local investigative reporting is under threat. Local reporters are feeling the squeeze and could use more time and resources to dig into issues. But that takes funding.

So, we’ve put together a fund that will allow us to support our 600-strong (and growing) network of UK reporters, technologists and concerned citizens by investing in their ideas and stories.

This fund is not to replicate the great reporting already happening but to help tell the stories you don't think are being told.

Apply and tell us the story, idea or project that needs the time and resource to be investigated in the UK.

What are we looking for?

Pitches that

  • Investigate an untold or underreported issue in your community
  • Have a clear public interest that could be happening in other communities too
  • Base claims in evidence collected from both data and first hand accounts
  • Could not otherwise be done because of time, money, tech or other resource constraints
  • We also welcome applications that want to try out new ways of storytelling - ie video, audio, performance, etc.

An example:

Last year Adam Cantwell-Corn, a member of the Bureau Local and co-founder and journalist at the Bristol Cable, obtained data on the nationalities of those stopped by immigration officers in 11 cities in the UK. He asked for this information because he heard of questionable instances happening in Bristol. Although he only covers Bristol, he thought it useful to request the information for 10 other cities. Once he got the data he decided not to publish it right away. Instead, he shared it with the Bureau Local community and alongside other reporters revealed that 19,000 British Citizens were incorrectly swept up in immigration checks over the last five years - including "James", pictured above, a British citizen who was caught up in a raid Cardiff.

Stories like this are important because they tell what is happening on the ground in communities. We were glad our two organisations and this network were able to provide the resources to make this happen but we recognise that not all individuals have the means to do this.

We’ve heard members say things like: if only I had the time to pull together the data to dig into this or, if only I had the tech support, I could pull all my interviews into a powerful podcast or film.

These are the kinds of projects we want to hear about.

Who can apply?

Any member of the Bureau Local network! The fund is open to everyone. The most important thing to note is that you don’t have to be a traditional print journalist. Whether you’re a local reporter in a newsroom, a hyperlocal blogger, freelancer, vlogger, or just a member of the public interested in journalism, we want to hear from you.

If you aren’t already a member, make sure to sign up here before submitting.

These funds will be given directly to individuals, not organisations. If you already work in a newsroom, you can apply for additional funds - perhaps for a data journalist or freelancer to work with you on the story. We ask that you speak to your editor before applying and put forward a pitch that includes information on how your editor sees this working within their newsroom workflow.

What’s the timeline?

We will be awarding the grants in two funding rounds.

Applications for the first round are due by 10am Wednesday March 7.

Applicants will be notified if they are successful by Wednesday March 14. We hope to select two projects during this round. We estimate projects can take from one to, up to, eight weeks of work. Successful candidates will have from the 14th of March until the end of June to complete the project.

There will be a second round in June. Successful projects from this round will have from the beginning of July until the end of October to complete the project.

How much funding is there?

We can pay around £1,000 a project although we can pay up to £5,000 for something really ambitious. When you outline how much money you need, please tell us how you got to that figure ie a day rate of x people for y number of days.

Can I have help?

Yes! Every project will be taken on with the Bureau Local team so you will have access to the core team of data journalists and of course, the Bureau Local network.

We have also partnered with the Centre for Investigative Journalism so if you tick the box in the application below, they will consider you for their free data training programme alongside this work.

What is the outcome?

We will work with successful applicants throughout the investigative process. The successful applicants will have bylines on their work published on the Bureau site. As part of the Bureau Local process, we partner with local and national media outlets in order to make sure the stories are seen far and wide. We will work with the applicant’s preferred local outlet and open up the project to the network to help report the issue across the country, as relevant.

Header image of a Bristol Cable/Bureau investigation on immigration raids. Photograph by Clémentine Schneidermann