Leaders from both the journalism and national service worlds have come together around this big vision. Report for America co-founders Charles Sennott and Steven Waldman are both nationally known, veteran journalists and social entrepreneurs dedicated to saving journalism. RFA is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit media organization with an established track record of training and supporting teams of emerging journalists, plus a top-flight advisory board of leaders in journalism and service.

Steven Waldman,
Co-Founder & President

Steve crafted the plan for Report for America after authoring the Federal Communications Commission landmark report “Information Needs of Communities,” which NPR described as “one of the most comprehensive overviews of the US media ever produced.” An experienced entrepreneur, he co-founded the multifaith religion website Beliefnet.com, which won the National Magazine Award, and LifePosts.com, a platform for online memorials. Earlier, he was National Editor of US News & World Report and National Correspondent for Newsweek. He was Senior Advisor to the CEO of the Corporation for National Service and wrote a book on the creation of AmeriCorps (The Bill). He also wrote the national bestseller, Founding Faith. 

Reach Steve by email at swaldman@reportforamerica.org. 

Charles Sennott,
Co-Founder & Executive Board Chair

Charlie is the Founder and CEO of The GroundTruth Project, and has been building the prototype for Report for America in several newsrooms across the country. A longtime reporter, editor and entrepreneur, Sennott served as Boston Globe Middle East bureau chief before he co-founded the award-winning international news organization GlobalPost and then founded The GroundTruth Project, which is based at WGBH in Boston.  He is an award-winning foreign correspondent and a pioneering social entrepreneur. In response to the collapse of foreign coverage, he co-founded GlobalPost in 2008, which trained, edited and fielded a stellar team of freelance correspondents all over the world. The team won the George Foster Peabody Award, the Polk Award and the RFK Award for Human Rights. Sennott launched GroundTruth in 2014 to broaden the commitment to training the next generation of journalists. Sennott has reported on wars and insurgencies in 15 countries, and served as the Boston Globe’s Special Projects reporter, Middle East Bureau Chief and Europe Bureau Chief. Before that, he was a local reporter for the New York Daily News.

Reach Charlie by email at csennott@thegroundtruthproject.org.

Kevin Douglas Grant, VP Strategic Initiatives

Kevin is Co-founder and Executive Editor of The GroundTruth Project. Previously Senior Editor of Special Reports at GlobalPost, he has led reporting projects around the world and his work has been recognized by the Edward R. Murrow, Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University, Overseas Press Club and Online News Association awards. He holds an M.A. at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, where he was founding Executive Editor of its pioneering news organization Neon Tommy. Grant is the former Operations Director of semantic news analyzer Inform.com and an alum of DePaul University. He is currently based in Washington, D.C.

Reach Kevin by email at kgrant@thegroundtruthproject.org.

Maggie Messitt, National Director

Maggie Messitt has worked as a journalist, editor, and social entrepreneur inside underserved communities in rural South Africa and the American Midwest. In South Africa, she was the editor/publisher of an award-winning community newspaper and the founding director of a nonprofit focused on training women journalists inside the former Apartheid-era homelands of Lebowa & Gazankulu. In the United States, Messitt spearheaded the launch of Wisconsin Public Television’s first digital engagement site and managed multimedia storytelling projects aimed at localizing national issues. She also joined forces with the Writers in Prisons Project, the WI Department of Corrections, and UW—Madison’s MFA program to launch nonfiction workshops for minimum/medium security prisoners. Messitt is the author of The Rainy Season, longlisted for the 2016 Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. She currently splits her time between the RFA offices in Brooklyn and her home in the Rust Belt.

Reach Maggie by email at mmessitt@reportforamerica.org.

Joanne Heyman, Senior Advisor

Joanne, Founder and CEO of Heyman Partners, is a internationally-respected strategic advisor in the “pro-social” space. Previously, she was the founding Executive Director of the Urban Zen Foundation, Executive Director of The International Center in New York, Vice President of the Corporation of Yaddo, Managing Director of the Financial Services Volunteer Corps, and a senior advisor to The Goldman Sachs Foundation and the American Jewish World Service.

Susette Brooks, Applications and Community Manager

Susette is a soldier, writer, educator. She began her service in the Army National Guard in 2007 during which time she also earned her BA in English & MA in writing and is finishing her MFA in Nonfiction at Goucher College. As a non-commissioned officer, she provided financial and logistical support for local and international missions, such as Hurricane Sandy relief and Operation Enduring Freedom, among others. Prior to joining Report for America, Susette worked as Assistant Director of Program Administration at Goucher College, coordinating logistics and communication for faculty and students across ten graduate programs. As RFA’s Applications and Community Manager, Susette will transfer these skills to the organization of our newsroom and journalist application processes, work to build our corps community online, and assist with training organization. Susette also continues to work for the Army National Guard as a first lieutenant and Public Affairs Officer, managing a group of soldier-journalists who report on Army National Guard news around New Jersey.

Reach Susette by email at sbrooks@reportforamerica.org. 

The GroundTruth Project

GroundTruth is dedicated to supporting the next generation of correspondents to tell the most important stories of our time. Over the last five years, GroundTruth has awarded 150 reporting fellowships to top, young journalists to carry out team reporting projects around the world and across the U.S.

GroundTruth has pioneered unique training and reporting approaches, both nationally and internationally, that pair journalists with local reporters. The projects have won the National Edward R. Murrow Award, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, the Overseas Press Club Award and shared in the Online Journalism Award. GroundTruth reporting fellows have gone on to work at The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, BBC, CBS News, Politico, 60 Minutes, VICE and other prominent news organizations.

GroundTruth’s editorial operations are led by Co-Founder and Executive Editor Kevin Grant, who brings a unique skill set for leading innovative digital journalism projects, in-the-field training and cross-cultural reporting teams. Grant will bring that experience to Report for America.

Funders & Partners

Seed funders include: Google News Lab, The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the Knight Foundation, The Tow Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Galloway Family Foundation, Natasha and Dirk Ziff, Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, the Select Equity Group Foundation and numerous generous individuals. Training partners include: the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Poynter, Maynard Institute, Online News Association and Solutions Journalism Network.