Regional television watchdog workshops, data bootcamp fellowships for local TV journalists and a digital TV watchdog portal will be part of a three-year project of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The $390,000 grant to IRE is part of $2.6 million in new funding from Knight Foundation to five organizations. In today’s announcement, Knight Foundation said the initiative would “help strengthen quality journalism and innovation in local television newsrooms across the country.” Other partners include Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, Emma Bowen Foundation, Radio Television News Directors Foundation and The Carole Kneeland Project for Responsible Television Journalism. Read the full announcement here.

“With the changes in the media landscape, local television news is positioned to play a key role in supporting the future of informed and engaged communities,” said Jennifer Preston, vice president of journalism at Knight Foundation. “By increasing diversity and promoting innovation and investigative reporting, these projects will create a strong future for local television news.”

IRE Executive Director Doug Haddix lauded Knight Foundation for its commitment to bolstering watchdog reporting and innovation in local TV newsrooms across America. “IRE is grateful for financial support that will help us train even more local TV journalists,” Haddix said. “TV journalists in a variety of roles — reporters, producers, online editors, news directors and others — will benefit from this major initiative. Communities also will benefit from more TV watchdog stories that make a positive difference.”

Through the initiative, IRE during the next three years will:

  • Conduct a total of nine regional watchdog workshops designed for local TV journalists. The one-day workshops will focus on improving use of public records, data, social media and storytelling tools for breaking news as well as enterprise stories.
  • Create six Knight TV Data Fellowships each year. Through a competitive application process, six local TV journalists will be selected annually to attend a weeklong data bootcamp. Fellows also will receive 20 hours of IRE data services, such as analysis and visualization, to enhance that training. They also will receive funding to attend the national Computer-Assisted Reporting conference.
  • Build and maintain a new digital TV Watchdog Network. The site will include tipsheets, resources, tools, success stories, podcasts, video tutorials and other materials to help local TV journalists improve accountability reporting.
  • Launch a monthly e-newsletter for TV journalists to showcase new technology, tools, tipsheets, data and other resources available to strengthen watchdog stories in local TV markets.

Stay tuned for details about the regional workshops, fellowships and digital TV watchdog portal.