The Fresno Bee to add reporter to cover poverty, related issues

Watch Fresno’s blight line move north over the decades

A map of Fresno over the decades shows that as the city's development sprawled northward, concentrated poverty grew with it.
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A map of Fresno over the decades shows that as the city's development sprawled northward, concentrated poverty grew with it.

The Fresno Bee has been awarded a grant from the Report for America program to fund an additional reporter in the newsroom.

The grant will help pay for a reporter to work as part of a groundbreaking effort focused on California’s worst-in-the-nation poverty rate and the growing divide between the state’s rich and poor. The ambitious reporting project on poverty is part of a cohort led by CALmatters in Sacramento and includes The Mercury News in San Jose and The Bee. A Report for America reporter will be based in each of the three newsrooms.

“We are absolutely thrilled that we were chosen and are excited to work with CALmatters as we pursue this important reporting,” said Joe Kieta, editor of The Fresno Bee. “Poverty and related issues are of central importance to Fresno and the region, and this important journalism will delve deeply into the root causes not just here but statewide. Anytime we can add reporting resources, The Bee’s audience is well served.”

Report for America is a nationwide service program that places young journalists in newsrooms to report on undercovered topics in local communities. The program started a year ago with 13 reporters and is assigning 60 more this year with plans to have more than 1,000 working across the country by 2023.

Two other McClatchy newsrooms in California will host Report for America reporters: The Modesto Bee and The Sacramento Bee. Modesto’s reporter will focus on the physical and emotional health and well-being of children in that community and throughout the Central Valley. The Sacramento reporter will focus on Asian-American issues.

Report for America is an initiative of the GroundTruth Project, an award-wining nonprofit news organization dedicated to supporting young journalists around the world. It is funded in part by the Knight Foundation, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the Google News Initiative and Facebook, among other key donors.

Report for America says a crisis in journalism has become a crisis for our democracy. The group is calling on a new generation of journalists to serve in community news organizations across the country. Here's a look at how it will work.