The rise of digital media has unleashed a flood of inaccurate, misleading or outright fabricated information across all news platforms.
In the past two years alone, we’ve seen the spread of lies about the 2020 election, falsehoods perpetrated during the COVID-19 pandemic, climate-change denialism and conspiracy theories that single out specific individuals or minority groups with baseless and damaging claims.
“Lack of information, misinformation, disinformation, and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people's lives has overrun real journalism,” said Carl Bernstein. “Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage.”
Fantastical Pizzagate, QAnon and other conspiracy theories have intensified social conflict, leading to increased hate crimes and episodes of violence. Some lies, like the insistence that the 2020 election was fraudulent, have rocked the foundations of our democracy.
A critical antidote to this growing problem is serious, persistent and fearless journalism that exposes and counters these untruths and the people and organizations that perpetuate them.
The Santa Monica-based, non-partisan A-Mark Foundation has joined with the Los Angeles Press Club to award grants of up to $2,000 to journalists for stories focussing on misinformation and disinformation.
Our goal is to facilitate stories that expose the larger problem of fake news, explore specific instances of misinformation and disinformation in social and news media and hold perpetrators of misleading news accountable.
While we will give special consideration to L.A.-based stories, we will accept statewide, national and international topics.
Below are examples of excellent reporting on misinformation and disinformation:
- “The Right Wing Gets Its Knives Out for California’s New Medical Misinformation Law” by Michael Hitzlik, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 17, 2022
- “How Maricopa County Defeated Election Disinformation — For Now” by Kirk Siegler, KPCC, Nov. 11, 2022
- “Tiffany Dover is Dead,” NBC News, April 18, 2022 (Podcast)
- “Latina Immigrants May Be Exposed to Spanish-Language Disinformation About Abortion” by Maria Godoy, NPR, Oct. 12, 2022
- “How an Expert on Online Disinformation and Harassment Became the Target of Both” by Terry Gross, “Fresh Air,” NPR, May 26, 2022 (Radio Interview)
- “TikTok Conspiracies, Infertility Myths and Other Disinformation Hinder Central Valley COVID Fight” by Priscella Vega, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 5, 2021
- “What Facebook Knew About Its Latino-Aimed Disinformation Problem,” by Brian Contreras and Maloy Moore, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 16, 2021
You need to live and work in Southern California to apply for funds.
You do not need to be a member of the L.A. Press Club, but the grants are only open to freelancers or journalists with part-time work.
You should be a writer, photojournalist, videographer, TV journalist, radio journalist or podcaster. The proposals can include reported opinion columns as well.
We are looking for story proposals across media platforms that report on fake news, misinformation and disinformation.
Ideal proposals should include one or more of the following elements:
- Investigation of an instance of fake news, tracking its evolution and impact.
- Use of data and/or research to report stories, providing evidence about the impact of fake news and/or the efficacy of the response to it.
- Investigation and explanation of how communities, news organizations, policymakers, public agencies and other institutions have addressed problems associated with misinformation and disinformation.
- Use of multimedia, data visualization or social media to tell stories.
- Engagement activities that connect the reporting to constructive public discourse.
Stories can be told in any number of formats. The L.A. Press Club welcomes shorter pieces as well as longer take-outs; investigative series; mobile-friendly content; TV news segments or public affairs programming; radio pieces and podcasts; data visualizations and interactive maps.
The Los Angeles Press Club and A-Mark Foundation should be recognized when the finished work is published or broadcast.
About A-Mark Foundation: Founded in 1997, A-Mark Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to supporting and disseminating research and research-based solutions on critical social issues. Its founder, Steven Markoff, also created procon.org to enable students, journalists and others to learn all sides of hot-button issues. The foundation also funds an annual Los Angeles Press Club journalism award for reporting on misinformation and disinformation.
Ready to Apply?
The fund is open for applications. EXTENDED DEADLINE: 11:59 P.M. THURSDAY, JUNE 1, 2023
The total amount available in this round of grants is $5,000. Grant recipients will be awarded up to $2,000. Half of the grant will be paid upfront and the rest when the project is published.