Report for America announced today that it will help fund a new journalist at Wmforo to report on the integrity of elections and voting systems in North Carolina.

Wmforo joins 163 other news organizations in 46 states who will be a part of the Report for America class of 2020.

“There’s a critical need across North Carolina for consistent hard-hitting journalism on the election and election systems,” said Wmforo Executive Director Angie Newsome. “Report for America is one of our key partners as we continue building our investigative news team’s focus on North Carolina’s democracy, especially in 2020 and 2021.”

Report for America is a national service program that places talented, emerging journalists into local news organizations to report for one to two years on under-covered issues and communities. According to a press release, the program “addresses an urgent need in journalism at a time when news deserts are widening across the country, leaving communities uninformed on local issues and threatening our democracy like never before.”

Wmforo was founded in 2011 to, at the time, focus on Western North Carolina. The nonprofit independent organization expanded to cover all of North Carolina in 2018, strengthening its dedication to in-depth and investigative reporting on the under-reported and overlooked issues facing the state’s 10.2 million residents. Its investigative and public interest journalism is available for free on and through republication in news organizations across the state and region.

For example, this year, Wmforo led a reporting collaboration of 11 news organizations to investigate problems with prosecuting sexual assault cases in North Carolina. The series reached more than 1.5 million views and helped propel efforts to close “rape loopholes” in state law. North Carolina legislators went on to approve – unanimously – legislation that updated consent laws. Wmforo has published more than 180 news stories in 2019 alone, on issues including state and local politics, hunger and food insecurity in rural North Carolina, jail conditions, government transparency, the future of public lands, voting systems, educational attainment, rural infrastructure, access to health care and more.

Report for America will place at least eight corps members in North Carolina in its 2020 class. In addition to Wmforo, corps members will be located at La Noticia, Inc. North Carolina; North Carolina Health News; The Charlotte Observer; The News & Observer; WFAE/Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library; WFAE/La Noticia (joint project); WRAL TV; and The Associated Press. Journalists will start work in their new newsrooms in June.

“We offer a pretty simple fix for news holes in communities throughout the country — local reporters on the ground, who hold leaders accountable and report on under-covered issues,” said Steven Waldman, president and co-founder of Report for America, in a press release. “The editors we’ve met during our application cycle have shown us amazing passion, commitment and sharp ideas for how to better serve their local communities.”

Report for America will pay for half of the corps member’s salary and Wmforo will fund the remainder. Wmforo is a nonprofit news organization, and those who would like to support this effort will have their donations matched by NewsMatch and other donors through Dec. 31.

For more information about the Wmforo effort, contact Executive Director Angie Newsome at [email protected] or call 828-774-5290.

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