Apply Now for the Challenge Fund

Each winning project will receive up to $20,000 in grants

The goal of the  Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education is to hack the journalism curriculum using customized versions of the teaching hospital model. The fund supports universities to partner with local news organizations, and explore new ways of providing information to their communities. In 2020, we know that collaborations may look different than they did in the past. We also know that educators are some of the most innovative people we know. When you apply,  talk to us about your local circumstances and how you might adapt your projects to foster collaboration.
Submit your project ideas by November 4, 2020, 11:59 p.m. ET (UTC–4)

Apply Now

Want more information? Learn about how the Challenge Fund works, or read the program FAQ.

Explore all 42 recipients

Over four funding cycles, ONA has awarded dozens of micro-grants to innovative educational projects. Explore the classes of recipients below.

2018 Winners 2017 Winners 2015 Winners 2014 Winners

News and Updates

Congratulations to the University of Maryland, 2018 Grand Prize winner

The team has been awarded an additional $50,000 for their “community data journalism” project examining the effects of extreme temperatures in low-income homes in Baltimore. See the list of all 2018 winners.

Learn About Their Project


Announcing the 2020 Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education

Applications are open for the 2020 Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, which will award $200,000 in microgrants to boost journalism education and local news. The challenge is about collaboration … Read more.

Michigan State University and University of Georgia awarded Challenge Fund prizes

Michigan State University and University of Georgia have been awarded prizes from the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education in recognition of the work that both universities have done … Read more.

University of Maryland wins $50,000 Challenge Fund Grand Prize

We are thrilled to share that The University of Maryland has been awarded the $50,000 Grand Prize for the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. The award recognizes the … Read more.

13 universities to experiment with local news collaboration with $430,000 in funding through the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Online News Association today announced that 10 universities each won $35,000 microgrants for the fourth round of the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. The … Read more.

Learning

How to Innovate As a Journalism Educator (2019)

Learn fresh ways to collaborate, experiment and create content from educators who have gotten buy-in from universities and local communities on ambitious reporting projects. You’ll hear from winners of the … Learn about this subject.

Retha Hill on the Local News Landscape from an Academic’s Perspective

From the 2019 Accelerate: Local News Summit in Denver, Colorado, ASU Cronkite School’s Retha Hill presents on the Local News Landscape from an Academic’s Perspective.

2018 Educators’ Meetup

The first hour of the annual Educators’ Meetup will feature presentations from the 2018 Tow-Knight fellows, part of the Disruptive Journalism Educators Network on Facebook. The six standout forward-thinkers were … Learn about this subject.

How to Innovate As a Journalism Educator (2018)

Learn fresh ways to collaborate, experiment and create content from educators who have gotten buy-in from universities and local communities on ambitious reporting projects. You’ll hear from winners of the … Learn about this subject.

Partners

The Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism has been generously funded by a consortium of funders, which includes the Democracy Fund, the Inasmuch Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Rita Allen Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundation and Scripps Howard Foundation.

For the 2020 round, we are grateful to Democracy Fund, Knight Foundation,  the Inasmuch Foundation and Scripps Howard Foundation for their contributions.

Will these projects change the face of journalism education as we know it? We hope so. Our three previous rounds of grant winners are busy experimenting with teams of educators, technologists, researchers, students and media professionals, all excited about collaboratively exploring the possibilities.

For more information contact challengefund@journalists.org.