Reporting on the Mississippi River Basin 

Report for America is partnering with the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the Society of Environmental Journalists to offer 10 local newsrooms within the Mississippi River Basin a unique opportunity: the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk.

We’ll help you find excellent reporters to cover water, agriculture and other environmental issues of interest to your readership, pay half their salaries, provide subject-matter training, and offer editing and editorial oversight for regional projects your newsroom can participate in. Here’s how it works: 

Who’s eligible? We’re especially interested in applications from newsrooms in prominent river basin states such as Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin. But the Mississippi River Basin includes 31 states, and newsrooms in all of them are welcome to apply.

How does my newsroom apply? Here’s more information about Report for America. You fill out an application here. In it, you’ll detail your proposed beat and indicate you want to be considered for this project. 

What are the deadlines? Newsrooms must apply to Report for America by Sept. 30. 

What issues will these reporters cover? That’s largely up to your newsroom. In general, the partnership is to boost coverage of environmental and agricultural issues that impact communities and people in the Mississippi River Basin. Topics might include water quality, farming practices and agribusiness, climate change, conservation and recreation, development and land use.

What role will the University of Missouri School of Journalism play? The university hosts the Ag & Water Desk, staffed by editors to provide subject-matter expertise and coordinate multi-newsroom projects. The university also offers resources to help newsrooms tackle important stories. To participate in this project, newsroom editors and reporters must be willing to share their ideas and stories with the network and collaborate on regional projects. It is estimated that about 20 percent of a reporter’s time would be dedicated to such work. 

What role will the Society of Environmental Journalists play? The journalists will receive training and mentorship from experts from the Society of Environmental Journalists, membership in the organization, and a free trip to its annual conference. 

What if I have other questions? Please contact Pam Fine at Report for America at [email protected]. To learn more about the Ag & Water Desk, contact Sara Shipley Hiles at [email protected] 

About Report for America

Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities. Launched in 2017, Report for America is creating a new, sustainable system that provides Americans with the information they need to improve their communities, hold powerful institutions accountable, and rebuild trust in the media. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization with an established track record of training and supporting teams of emerging journalists around the world, including the recent launch of Report for the World in partnership with local newsrooms in India and Nigeria.