The GroundTruth Project, Inc.

Restoring journalism from the ground up

Boston, MA   |  www.thegroundtruthproject.org

Mission

The GroundTruth Project is an award-winning, independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization dedicated to supporting the next generation of journalists in the U.S. and around the world. In 2017, GroundTruth launched Report for America, an ambitious movement in national service which aims to place 1,000 emerging reporters in local newsrooms across the country by 2024.

Notes from the nonprofit

To view our latest annual report, please visit annualreport.thegroundtruthproject.org

Ruling year info

2014

Founder and CEO

Charles M Sennott

Main address

10 Guest St

Boston, MA 02135 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

46-0908502

NTEE code info

Media, Communications Organizations (A30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The GroundTruth Project is an award-winning, independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization dedicated to supporting the next generation of journalists in the U.S. and around the world at a time when the free press faces significant challenges worldwide. Based at WGBH in Boston, GroundTruth focuses on issues of social justice including human rights, freedom of expression, emerging democracies, the environment, religious affairs and global health. We work to foster dialogue and engagement about these issues, with the aim of finding solutions, as well as exposing injustice. Since launching, GroundTruth has supported more than 300 emerging journalists, across more than 50 countries—places as far away as Myanmar, Egypt and Somalia, and as close to home as Kentucky, Minnesota and Montana. Our most notable initiative, Report for America, seeks to address a crisis in local journalism in the United States that has become a crisis for our democracy.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Report for America

Report for America is a national service program that enables emerging journalists’ in-depth reporting across the United States to strengthen and improve communities. Report for America matches talented, diverse journalists with local newsrooms from coast to coast for one to three years of service, reporting on under-covered themes, such as local government and economies, environment, education, agriculture, inequality, and health, or under-covered communities, from people of color to veterans, the elderly, and working families.

Our “corps members” are full-time employees of the news organizations they are matched with — daily newspapers, radio stations, nonprofit newsrooms, and weeklies — and receive training, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Our corps is also incredibly diverse - 48% are journalists of color (nearly double the industry average) and over 70% are women. Additionally, corps members are required to design and lead a media-focused service project in their communities, and the large majority of them will impact young people.

Report for America leverages a three-to-one regional funding match model, paying half of a corps members’ salary, while encouraging and supporting its local news organization partners to contribute one-quarter, and local and regional funders to contribute the final quarter.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The collapse in local news is a global crisis. The dramatic economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted news organizations that were already under great stress.

Report for the World is a global service program that matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe. Leveraging an innovative match model, Report for the World partners with local newsrooms to grow philanthropic support by the community, for the community.

The GroundTruth Project launched Report for the World in April 2021 with two partner newsrooms —Scroll.in in India and TheCable in Nigeria. Support from the MacArthur Foundation will help us grow in India and Nigeria, and also expand to Latin America this year. We aim to field and support 50 corps members next year, and 500 corps members worldwide by 2026, making a tangible impact on the global crisis in local news.

Population(s) Served
People of African descent
People of Southeast Asian descent
Economically disadvantaged people
Immigrants and migrants
Young adults

Where we work

Awards

Online Journalism Award for Excellence in Audio Digital Storytelling for “The New American Songbook“ 2018

Online News Association

People’s Voice Award & the Webby Award for “Best Use of Interactive Video” for “The Last Generation" 2019

International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences

The Best of Nonprofit News, for “A Man-Made War Paid for by Women and Children” 2019

Institute for Nonprofit News

Emmy in the category of “Outstanding New Approaches: Documentary” for “The Last Generation.” 2019

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

Top Six Finalist 2020

MacArthur Foundation 100&Change

Chairman's Citation 2020

National Press Foundation

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of organizational partners

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Report for America

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The number of partners supported by Report for America and Report for the World (total)

Number of people trained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Report for America

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The number of emerging journalists we have trained and supported

Number of corps members placed in local news organizations

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Report for America

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We seek to enlighten and inform the public about the world’s biggest stories while providing an industry-leading level of support for our reporting fellows and corps members. The GroundTruth Project is working to strengthen the profession of journalism by helping reporters and newsrooms produce journalism they otherwise wouldn’t have the capacity to support.

We work closely with media organizations including FRONTLINE, ABC News, Foreign Policy, PRI’s The World, The Center for Investigative Reporting/Reveal and other top publishers to produce in-depth multimedia projects that capture attention amid a noisy media landscape. The awards that we have won, including the National Edward R. Murrow, Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award and Online Journalism Award, help increase the visibility of our work and attract talented journalists.

We want to provide decision makers working on climate change, education for women and girls, economic inequality, election reform and other issues we cover with insightful information and human stories to help them make the best possible decisions.

We also aim to help freelance and full-time reporters take steps in their careers as they head on to full-time positions with The New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, Vice and NPR among many others, and we also aim to help them work more safely in the field through our membership in the ACOS (A Culture of Safety) Alliance and through policies that provide all our reporters with travel insurance and risk assessment, as well as hostile environment training wherever needed.

We have selected editorial areas that target some of the most important stories of our time. By providing essential coverage of democracies in transition, religious issues, climate change, global health and women’s rights we can proceed with confidence that there will always be demand for our work even as the media landscape evolves.

GroundTruth has found that partnerships are key to our success. We reach hundreds of millions of people each year through our media partnerships, and bring additional expertise and skills to our work through collaborations with Solutions Journalism Network, Institute for Nonprofit News, Maynard Institute, Native American Journalists Association and Society of Professional Journalists as well as leading colleges and universities across the country and around the world. We also produce the GroundTruth podcast, a popular offering now going into its ninth season, reaching tens of thousands of people across over 100 countries.

We have a veteran leadership team with expertise in feature writing, film, photography, radio/podcasting and data reporting. We also have a seasoned team of operations, logistics, development, human capital and technology professionals. We bring together philanthropic support from leading organizations including the MacArthur Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, Packard Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Knight Foundation as well as family trusts, corporations, and individual donors to make it possible for early-career journalists to produce immersive, multimedia journalism edited by award-winning editors.

Because The GroundTruth Project is based at WGBH in Boston, we are part of a community of public media professionals with whom we partner on editorial, technical and public outreach initiatives. We have staff across the country from Chicago, IL to Charlotte, NC as well as editorial partnerships across 46 states and globally, from India to Brazil to Egypt to Kenya to Myanmar.

Our GroundTruth fellows work closely with our editorial team, receiving valuable mentorship and guidance from our team. Our Report for America corps members are each paired with a Regional Manager, veteran journalists who collectively have over 125 years of newsroom experience, to mentor these emerging reporters.

Since its founding in 2014, the GroundTruth Project has worked with some of the best journalists in the world to produce multimedia collaborations with organizations including the International Center for Investigative Journalism, FRONTLINE, Foreign Policy and WGBH. We've produced thousands of enterprise stories with the world's leading news outlets and built a brand that is synonymous with quality in journalism.

We have won a News Emmy and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award along with two National Edward R. Murrow Awards and two Online Journalism Awards among several others, working with more than 300 reporting fellows around the world, two-thirds of whom are women and two-thirds of whom are people of color. We have built a top-tier staff and presented our work at the United Nations, New America, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Nieman Foundation, MIT Media Lab, London's Frontline Club, Local Independent Online News Publishers, People-Powered Publishing and Web Summit's Collision conference as well as leading colleges and universities around the world.

Since the launch of Report for America in 2017, the program has grown astronomically, from 13 reporters starting in 2018 to more than 50 in 2019, and most recently, 225 reporters in 2020. By 2024, we hope to place 1,000 Report for America corps members across the country to serve their community and report on under-covered issues.
We are now in the process of expanding our offerings in the U.S. and worldwide, with the concept of "ground truth" — that being there is everything — at the core.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,

Financials

The GroundTruth Project, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

The GroundTruth Project, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 7/20/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Robin D'Alessandro

Robin D'Alessandro

Charles Sennott

Steve Waldman

Alan Khazei

Ann Vaughan

Calvin Sims

Chris Bake

David Feinberg

Jim Bildner

Joanne Heyman

Susie Trees

Vivian Schiller

Karen Toulon

Bill Whitaker

Robert Zeaske

Mark Contreras

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 07/19/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/19/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.