This week, demonstrations broke out in dozens of cities across America in response to a painful legacy of police violence against African Americans in the U.S. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic which has disproportionately affected communities of color, the inequities and divisions that our country faces feel starker than ever.
At The GroundTruth Project, home of Report for America, our hearts go out to families affected by the violence—both today and everyday—in under-covered communities across our nation. Our hearts also go out to all impacted by the pandemic. As an organization dedicated to public service, GroundTruth values equality, health, justice, and peace for all people.
Recent events have also reminded us of the importance, and the power, of local news. When local news thrives, communities better understand one another. They have higher rates of civic engagement, lower rates of polarization, more government accountability, and higher trust. And when newsrooms reflect the diversity of their community, they are better able to share nuanced and unique perspectives, and build that trust.
We have been dismayed to see countless attacks on the press as the violence has escalated. Since 2014, GroundTruth has supported hundreds of emerging journalists globally, standing for press freedom in places where it has been suppressed such as Egypt, Myanmar, and Brazil. But it is with great alarm that we see a rising threat to press freedom and safety for reporters in the United States.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a project by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Committee to Protect Journalists, has documented 100+ U.S.-based press freedom violations per year for the past three years. This week, in a period of just three days, they took on investigations of at least that many and the number is growing.
The GroundTruth Project and Report for America team remain as committed as ever to press freedom and supporting emerging journalists to tell the under-covered stories of our time—stories that inform the public and preserve our democracy. We have always considered the safety of journalists in the field to be a priority, and we will continue to offer resources and training to ensure that reporters who work with us are supported and protected as they do their work.
As an organization dedicated to restoring journalism from the ground up, we are proud of the way our reporters have shown up for their communities this week and we are more committed to this work than ever before.