As the fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forces publishers to reevaluate their economic outlooks and, in many cases, restrict their budgets, freelance journalists across the country are suffering from lost commissions, reduced rates and delayed payments, often without financial safety nets of their own.
To help support this community, we’ve assembled a directory of grants and other free resources aimed at helping journalists navigate and cover the crisis. If we’ve missed anything, please feel free to contact us here and let us know.
Grants and Financial Assistance
Rory Peck Trust
Professional journalists without other sources of income, and in particular those who have lost commissions as a result of the pandemic, can apply for a grant from the Rory Peck Trust’s COVID-19 Hardship Fund. More info here.
National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is accepting applications for grants ranging from $1,000 to $8,000 to journalists covering the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing those delivering news to underserved communities. Apply here.
PEN America is distributing grants of $500 to $1,000 to journalists, authors and other professional writers who can “demonstrate an inability to meet an acute financial need, especially one resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.” Apply here.
Fund for Investigative Journalism
The Fund for Investigative Journalism is offering grants of up to $10,000 to U.S.-based freelance investigative journalists for stories that “break new ground and expose wrongdoing in the public or private sector,” it says. Apply here.
The newsletter platform Substack is offering grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 for independent writers facing economic hardship due to the pandemic. Applications are being accepted through Tuesday, April 7. Apply here.
The International Women’s Media Foundation’s Journalism Relief Fund is open to female journalists who are in urgent need of assistance, including freelancers with no other sources of income or those who have been recently laid off, providing grants of up to $2,000 on a case-by-case basis. Those who are not in urgent need of assistance are discouraged from applying. More info can be found here.
Though not specifically for journalists, the Freelancers Union has established a Freelancers Relief Fund offering assistance of up to $1,000 for independent contractors who have “experienced a recent, sudden, and unforeseen hardship or loss of income as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Applications are expected to open on April 2. More info here.
Finally, one stipulation in the federal stimulus bill, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law in late March, involves extending additional unemployment benefits to certain self-employed freelancers and independent contractors who previously would not have been eligible for such coverage, though some restrictions apply. Those interested in determining whether they’re eligible should check the website of their state government’s Department of Labor.
This Twitter account from the Society for Professional Journalists regularly retweets editors or publications that are currently accepting pitches.
The subscription newsletter Study Hall posted an un-paywalled list of publications that were soliciting pitches from freelancers as of March 31, and it’s also maintaining a Google Doc of publications that writers say are or are not currently taking pitches.
Center for Health Journalism
The Center for Health Journalism is holding a series of free webinars for journalists seeking tips or insights on how to cover the COVID-19 pandemic. The first, on Wednesday, April 8, will feature Lisa Krieger, science and medicine reporter for the San Jose Mercury News. Register for free here.
International Center for Journalists
The ICFJ has also launched a series of free webinars. The next one, “Frontline Lessons from International News Organizations Reporting the Pandemic,” will be held on Friday, April 3. Register for free and access recordings of past webinars here.
Investigative Reporters & Editors
IRE has a series of upcoming and previously recorded webinars offering training to journalists covering COVID-19, freely accessible to members and non-members alike. View them all here.
In addition to the Journalism Relief Fund, the International Women’s Media Foundation has uploaded recordings of two recent webinars, “Lessons Learned from Journalists Covering Global Pandemics” and “Making the World Hurt Less: Enhancing Wellbeing During a Time of Stress,” featuring clinical psychologist Dr. Katherine Porterfield. Watch them both here.
Journalist’s Resource has published five tips from a Harvard University epidemiology professor for journalists covering COVID-19.
Ed Gandia, host of the podcast, “The High-Income Business Writer,” is offering free access to his three-hour course, “Hidden Gold: 39 Proven (Yet Overlooked!) Ideas for Landing Profitable Work Quickly.” Download it here.