Applications are now closed.

Learn About the Program What’s New?


The goal of the $1M 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 news organizations, and explore new ways of providing information to their local communities.

Winners receive up to $35,000 in micro-grants to support live, local news experiments. Winners can then compete to win up to $100,000 in additional grand prizes for best project and evaluation.

In 2015, 11 projects won Challenge Fund grants. Learn more

In 2014, 12 projects won Challenge Fund grants. Learn more

Once again, we’ve partnered with the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation to launch this $1 million challenge over the next two years.

Thanks to an initial $1 million grant from the five organizations, our first and second rounds of grant winners are busy experimenting with teams of educators, technologists, researchers, students and media professionals, all excited about collaboratively exploring the possibilities of changing the face of journalism education.

For more information contact challengefund@journalists.org.

What’s new in 2017?

Our goal in this next cycle of the Challenge Fund is to galvanize experiments around themes critical to quality journalism. We also hope these themes foster a more collaborative learning experience within the teams.

We’re focusing the experiments on four core areas

  • Diversity: Experiments will focus on underreported or underrepresented communities. Experiments can focus on unique coverage of these communities or the internal structure of the project teams.
  • Technology: Experiments will focus on building innovative tools or products to advance digital storytelling. Experiments can focus creative ways to engage audiences through technology.
  • Community Engagement: Experiments will focus on stories or ideas that involve the community in the storytelling and newsgathering process. Experiments can focus on outside-the-box ways to engage audiences as part of the story.
  • Civic Participation: Experiments will identify issues of public concern. Experiments can focus on investigative stories that will better inform their local community on issues affecting them.