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NII invests in EducationNC: Weaving civic dialogue and engagement into our reporting

Today the News Integrity Initiative at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism announces $1.8 million in grants that aim to improve people’s lives by fostering trust between newsrooms and the public, and nurturing constructive, inclusive community conversations.

We are honored and humbled for EducationNC and our Reach NC Voices initiative to be included, receiving a grant of $155,000.

“NII made a grant to the Reach NC Voices project because we see valuable opportunities,” says Molly de Aguiar, Managing Director for the Initiative, “to gain a deeper understanding of how to weave civic dialogue and engagement tools into reporting, particularly on a statewide level, to respond directly to the public’s information needs, and to develop a blueprint for newsrooms collaborating with nonpartisan think tanks and other respected sources of information to provide well-researched, trusted, and in-depth information that the public has said it wants.”

Launched in the spring of this year, the Initiative is a $14 million fund to investigate the roots of mistrust in news and invest in solutions for building public support for quality journalism through grants, applied research, events and training.

“It’s never been easier to widely distribute trustworthy news and information, yet it’s never been easier to spread and amplify disinformation too,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and a member of NII’s executive committee. “We have to seek new approaches to build trust in our communities, and serve the public’s news and information needs. That’s what NII and these organizations stand for.”

Reach NC Voices builds upon EducationNC’s existing architecture for participation, providing trusted information, starting in-depth conversations, and encouraging civic engagement. We developed Reach NC Voices because we believe our communities are stronger when all voices are included in discussions and debates about the critical issues affecting our state and our communities. 

The Reach NC Voices technology suite includes an array of messaging tools, including texting. Since we launched the initiative in January 2017, 1.75 million people have viewed EducationNC’s content via Reach 2.75 million times. About 45,000 North Carolinians have taken deeper action. They have cast 217,000 votes across our surveys and shared over 11,000 comments and stories.

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EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.