How The VPR Journalism Fund Supports Innovative Reporting

Jan 18, 2016

What helped send Steve Zind to Afghanistan to report on the deployment of the Vermont National Guard, launched Outdoor Radio, created VPR’s smartphone apps, and built a remote studio in Brattleboro? Gifts made to the VPR Journalism Fund.

Established in 2010, this special fund enables reporters and producers to innovate, take risks, and respond to opportunities. The Journalism Fund is designed to support a range of initiatives and is administered by an in-house committee of VPR staff. Designed to be flexible and timely, the fund accepts and reviews proposals from staff on an ongoing basis. Funded projects are held to the same high level of independence and integrity you expect from VPR, thanks to the firewall between donors and decisions about news projects, reporting, and editorial standards.

“One of the unique aspects of the VPR Journalism Fund is its flexibility,” says Brendan Kinney, Vice President of Development and Marketing. “Having this resource at the ready allows us to respond when opportunities arise that weren’t included as part of our annual budgeting process. The Fund allows us to be nimble and innovative, providing the best possible public service for our audience.”

The VPR Journalism Fund supports initiatives as diverse as our audience:

There are times when the story is so big, VPR must recruit freelance reporters to ensure our communities get the information they need. Tropical Storm Irene is one of those stories that required additional resources. The Fund enabled VPR to report on recovery efforts long after the storm passed.

In addition to special projects, The Journalism Fund helps VPR respond to the ever changing media landscape while improving and expanding our ability to provide an essential statewide public service. 

"One of the unique aspects of the VPR Journalism Fund is its flexibility: Having this resource at the ready allows us to respond when opportunities arise that weren't included as part of our annual budgeting process." — Brendan Kinney, Vice President of Development and Marketing

In 2012 the Fund enabled VPR to realize a long-held desire-to better serve the Brattleboro area with a full-power news and information station. Working with the Marlboro Graduate Center, VPR constructed a self-contained, video and remote recording studio which helps to bring voices and opinions of this region into statewide conversation. The Fund also enables Vermont Edition to hire interns to help with production of the program and train the next generation of public radio journalists.

As more people turn to digital sources for news, information and music, VPR turns to the Fund for resources to enhance access and develop content for online and mobile platforms. Public Post and VPR’s smartphone apps are examples of how The VPR Journalism Fund supports the evolution of public media in Vermont.

None of these services would have been possible without the vision and generosity of donors who designate gifts to the VPR Journalism Fund each year.

For information on how you can support the fund, please contact Leanne Klyza Linck at lklyzalinck@vpr.net or call (802) 654-4375.