Voice to augment its news coverage

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The Chatham Voice is one of 94 host news organizations across the country to benefit from the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI).

News Media Canada (NMC) announced recently it would fund 105 journalists under the federal government’s LJI.

The program provides grant funding to news organizations to hire reporters to create new journalistic content covering civic issues and institutions of importance to Canadians.

The Voice will utilize the grant to hire an additional reporter to more closely cover municipal government, among other issues.

“News Media Canada put out the call for applications and we looked at what we are doing here at The Voice and what we’d like to do better,” Voice general manager Bruce Corcoran said. “One weak spot is council coverage, but just as important is delving deeper into stories. Due to limited resources, too often we’ve been slow to follow up on stories of interest. That is going to change.”

NMC reports a total of 155 applications were received from News Media Canada’s initial call for entries in November and adjudicated by an independent panel of industry experts in early December. Eligible applicants included press agencies, private news organizations, and non-profit news organizations.

Stories produced by LJI reporters will be made available to media organizations and the public via an online portal managed by The Canadian Press, according to NMC.

“We were pleased that our first call for applications for the Local Journalism Initiative drew an excellent response,” said John Hinds, president and CEO of NMC said in a release. “We believe this will make a significant contribution to the industry and help strengthen civic journalism across Canada, and we look forward to our next round of applications.”

Created and funded by the Government of Canada, the LJI is a five-year program that supports the creation of original civic journalism relevant to the diverse needs of people living in news deserts and areas of news poverty across Canada.

The Initiative will provide funding for host newsrooms to hire reporters, supporting accurate and reliable civic journalism in underserved communities. LJI coverage will help ensure the vitality of democracy, better inform citizens, engage community and foster civic debate, connecting Canadians with their local governments, in their councils, courts and other civic institutions.

The Thamesville Herald also received approval for a LJI reporter.

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