Request for Reporting Proposals

Hey all – help spread the word about this LA-based project, based on an award-winning story reported out of Oakland last year. This from one of the producers:

The basics: is teaming up with Spot.Us to iterate the production and funding formula that won us an SPJ SDX award for our pollution and public-health reporting in Oakland. This time, we're taking it to Los Angeles, and welcome proposals from reporting teams looking to do new coverage of pollution and public health in the region.

Details follow.


Request for Reporting Proposals: The Los Angeles Toxic Tour

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Would you like to bring the award-winning "Toxic Tour" reporting project to Los Angeles? and Spot.Us welcome proposals from journalists interested in developing new coverage of pollution and environmental health in Los Angeles communities.  

  • Proposals are due Nov. 12 for short-term projects using text and multimedia to document pollution and communities in greater Los Angeles. Topics include neighborhoods, economics, industry, land use, transportation, politics, activism, environment and health.
  • Spot.Us is seeding the LA Toxic Tour with a $1,000 mini-grant; the rest of the budget will be crowdfunded from local, regional and national communities. 
  • Finished work will be published and promoted by Newsdesk and Spot.Us, and shared with regional and national media partners, including the Investigative News Network.
Proposal Requirements: Budget & Personnel
  • The maximum proposed budget we can accept is $6,000. The majority of project funding will come from individual donors, so be realistic when budgeting. 
  • Project must include two or more journalists with complementary skills (i.e., reporter, editor, multimedia producer), who can collaborate to finalize reporting for publication. 
Project Goals
  • Produce quality coverage serving overlooked Los Angeles communities
  • Strengthen crowdfunding as a tool to finance independent journalism
  • Create a replicable model for funding, producing and publishing coverage by small, independent reporting teams in underserved communities
To Apply (Deadline Nov. 12) 
Proposals can be modeled on the first Toxic Tour (see below), or can take an entirely fresh approach. Send an email to with the following details pasted in as text only: 
  • Proposal title & primary contact information
  • Production timeline and number of proposed reports
  • 100-word summary outlining: pollution issue/s, geographic region, community impacts and responses, links to previous coverage of issue/s (if any)
  • 30-word bios of reporters (minimum two reporters) with links to published work
  • Are you willing to help promote the crowdfunding campaign to your networks? 
  • Line-item project budget (maximum: $6,000)
Proposal evaluation criteria 
  • Relevance to underserved L.A. communities
  • Quality of the producing team's work
  • Viability of the project budget for crowdfunding. 
Background's 2009 series "The Bay Area Toxic Tour: West Oakland" covered the impacts of pollution from the Port of Oakland on adjacent communities. The project was produced by three independent journalists, financed by Spot.Us, and won the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism. 

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