Get your local investigation funded - round 2

The Bureau has made thousands of pounds available for local reporters - tell us the story you think needs to be investigated

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

We are delighted to announce the Bureau Local's second round of the 2018 local reporting fund, which gives small grants for investigations.

What happened in the first round?

We selected three stories based on their local and national significance and handed out £8,500 in total. All are due to be published in June.

One of the stories is about unpaid work and internships, based on a one-day snapshot of data from job websites.

The other two projects are on homelessness, looking at the provision of homeless shelters and the rising problem of youth homelessness.

The journalists we are working with in the first round are:

All our stories will have a reporting recipe - a guide to how the story was researched and conducted, so that other journalists can follow or replicate the methodology.

Background to the 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 700-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, such as video, audio, data visualisation etc.

We’ve heard members of our network 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. 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.

Our only stipulation in this second round is that we want to fund journalists who didn't receive funding in the first round. We are also happy to receive pitches from people who sent in their ideas first time - those ideas might have developed, or have become more relevant. However, if re-submitting please update your pitch rather than simply resending the same information.

If you aren’t already a member of the Bureau Local network, 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?

Applications for the second round are due by midnight, Sunday July 1.

Applicants will be notified if they are successful by midday, Wednesday July 11. We hope to select two or three projects during this round. We estimate projects can take from one to, up to, eight weeks of work. Successful candidates 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.

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 by Rob Stothard/TBIJ