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Vermont Public & VTDigger to share Report For America journalist focused on housing, infrastructure

Report For America
Vermont Public and VTDigger have been selected by Report for America to host a journalist next year to expand the organizations’ coverage of housing and infrastructure.

Vermont Public and VTDigger have been selected by Report for America to host a journalist next year to expand the organizations’ coverage of housing and infrastructure.

In an unprecedented collaboration between two of Vermont’s leading news outlets, the new reporter will cover two of the most vexing challenges facing Vermont: the availability, affordability and condition of housing, as well as aging infrastructure that is no longer serving its residents.

“Nearly every part of our state is grappling with a housing crisis,” said Mark Davis, managing editor of news for Vermont Public. “This reporter will help our audience understand the causes of these problems — as well as potential solutions to them. Each story will be grounded in the experience of Vermonters who rely on these services, and are struggling to build lives in our state.”

Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities across the United States and its territories. It is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, a nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.

“As news organizations throughout the country are cutting back on local and regional reporting, VTDigger and Vermont Public are investing in covering some of the greatest challenges facing our state,” said Paul Heintz, editor-in-chief of VTDigger. “We’re excited to team up with two fellow nonprofit organizations that share our values and our commitment to top-notch journalism.”

The reporter will start their two-year appointment in July 2023. Report for America will cover half the salary of the journalist who is selected, with Vermont Public and VTDigger funding the rest. Both organizations plan to share the costs and oversight of the position, and the reporter’s work will be published by both outlets.

Both Vermont news organizations have collaborated with Report for America in the past. The national nonprofit has helped VTDigger invest in coverage of Bennington, Rutland, Franklin and Grand Isle counties, and it has helped Vermont Public offer coverage of the Upper Valley and to launch the daily news podcast The Frequency.

“Far too many Americans desperately need reliable, fact-based information to make decisions about their daily lives, and a growing number of local newsrooms are turning to us for support,” said Kim Kleman, senior vice president of Report for America. “We were blown away by the breadth of applications we received, and only wish we had the ability to bring on even more newsrooms this year.”

Michelle leads the team that oversees station branding and marketing, communications, audience services, events and audience engagement initiatives. She joined Vermont Public in 2002 as an administrative associate and has worn many hats in the areas of audience services, membership, marketing and communications.
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