Nonprofit dedicated to supporting new generation of journalists

Human rights, freedom of expression, emerging democracies, the environment, religious affairs and global health are all issues focused on by the GroundTruth Project, a nonprofit media organization.

GroundTruth supports emerging journalists by offering fellowships and enabling world travel to report on these social justice issues, according to its website. Past projects have sent journalists to Egypt, Burma, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other international locations.

Charles Sennott, an award-winning foreign correspondent for the Boston Globe, is the founder and executive director of GroundTruth.

“What we’ve realized in America is we need to do a better job covering our own struggling democracy,” he said.

The GroundTruth Project now partners with five universities across the nation to create a team of journalists to cover social issues in the United States, offering a fellowship called “Crossing the Divide.”

Recent graduates of Western Kentucky University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Montana, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst are eligible to apply for the fellowship.

Five selected journalists will take a three-month cross-country trip, beginning in August and ending in November, from Massachusetts to California, stopping for three weeks in each of the college areas to report on the current social, economic and political divisions.

Every GroundTruth Project supports at least one local journalist with an understanding of the issues in the community to go along with the journalists who are foreign to the area.

Sennott said each school was chosen based on its outstanding journalism program, and WKU specifically for its photojournalism program, though it will not necessarily be a photojournalist chosen to represent WKU.

“It’s important to keep an open mind to build the best team we can,” Sennott said.

Whether it’s writing, photography, video or audio, applicants must convince GroundTruth they are deeply committed to a specific medium and should be confident about sharing their knowledge of their own communities to be an asset to the team. GroundTruth is looking for journalists who have received a degree within the past three years who they believe will work well together.

One of the questions on the application asks, “At a time of great divisions and inequality in America, what are the issues or divides you see in your community?”

Nick Wagner, a WKU student graduating this month, applied for the fellowship and said he wrote about the immigration and refugee issues in Bowling Green. He is currently working on two separate multimedia projects, including written stories, photos and a video about immigrants in the community for a feature writing class.

Sennott said GroundTruth is “very excited to be working with WKU,” and he’s impressed with what he’s seen of the students’ work.

The deadline to apply has been pushed back to Sunday, May 7.

Reporter Callie Miller can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].