By Alexis Krieg, Senior Manager, Strategic Communications, Reimagining Capitalism
The current context
Since launching our Reimagining Capitalism area of practice in 2019 the world has changed drastically. We at Omidyar Network, our grantees and partners, and the American public have relied even more heavily on reporters and news organizations to help interpret major shifts in our economy brought on by the pandemic, unearth the root causes of inequity that COVID-19 made all too apparent, and shine a light on the people and organizations working to build a better world.
In this moment of dramatic change, journalists and media institutions are being asked to do more and more, with fewer and fewer resources. Between the pre-pandemic months of late 2019 and the end of May 2022, more than 360 newspapers closed. Award-winning local papers are being gobbled up by private equity firms as consolidation continues across the industry. And even as more newsrooms are unionizing to improve conditions, some journalists are leaving altogether to embark on freelance careers, and newsroom employment in the United States continues to plummet.
While supporting the media ecosystem is not a core area of our work at Omidyar Network, we are devoted to addressing the structural challenges at the heart of our economic system, and to shaping a new, inclusive economy where markets serve the interests of all people and society. And we believe it is impossible to do that work without a steady stream of strong reporting about the economy from a variety of viewpoints. This is why we want to help incisive, thoughtful journalists do more of what they do best: report.
Omidyar Network’s Response
To that end, we are launching a new “Reporters in Residence” program to help expand the amount and quality of the reporting on big-picture economic issues, and enable freelance journalists in particular to devote more time to writing, research, and general career advancement.
We will select three reporters, one tied to each of Omidyar Network’s core programmatic areas within Reimagining Capitalism: New Economic Paradigms; Worker Power; Corporations, Capital Markets & the Common Good. Reporters from any medium of journalism are welcome to apply. We understand that freelance journalists are an under-resourced population. Our goal in the “Reporters in Residence” Program is to help ensure talented freelancers can make ends meet while engaging in the kind of deep, nuanced reporting that drives national conversations, but may not always pay the bills.
Reporters in Residence will have regular access to Omidyar Network’s Reimagining Capitalism Team, and our diverse network of grantees and partners. As part of our commitment to transparency and journalistic independence, Omidyar Network will have no editorial discretion over reporters’ work.
This program builds on work we began in April of 2021, when Omidyar Network engaged its first Writer in Residence, Zach Carter. While working with us, Zach was able to devote more time to his award-winning coverage of economic policy and history for top publications, and to help drive the national conversation about the structural inequities at the root of our economy. During his residency, Zach wrote articles for publications including The New Republic, The Atlantic, and The New York Times, launched a Substack “In the Long Run,” and began work on his forthcoming book on John Stuart Mill.
More about the Reporters in Residence program
Applicants should have at least five years of published reporting experience ( a college or secondary degree is not required), and be passionate about covering economic issues and translating them for a diverse array of audiences. Applicants may work or report from anywhere, but must have a current U.S. work authorization to be considered.
Reporters In Residence will be expected to individually develop, pitch, and publish approximately one piece a month related to their core topic area, and attend at least one in-person gathering at Omidyar Network’s office in Washington, DC, during the course of the residency.
The inaugural Residency Program will run from January to June of 2023. Each reporter will receive a stipend of $8,000 a month and a $2,000 travel budget (totaling $50,000). Applications will be open from October 6th to November 2nd, and finalists will be announced the week of December 14th.
We welcome applications here.