The underlying issue
Stories about natural and manmade disasters have become, sadly, an all-too-familiar element of the news. While there is ample coverage of them while the disaster is unfolding—Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, mass shootings, and the Gulf oil spill are just a few examples—in most cases coverage fades when the immediate disaster is past.
With funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, which has a long-standing commitment to support work on the issue of resilience, the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research will sponsor a 9-month Fellowship in which a journalist will receive special training and a significant opportunity to do high-impact journalism on issues related to economic, psychological, and social resilience.
The Fellowship is designed to provide time to explore community resilience in all its forms. The daily workflow of most newsrooms often prevents reporters from taking the time they need to acquire the skills and background needed to synthesize and interpret the scope of the story, how it ties one community to another, and what might be learned so that policy makers can take action.
In addition, there is a wealth of cutting edge information about resilience and recovery that is being collected and analyzed at research institutions around the world on resilience and its definition and measurement that is never delivered into the public domain. Journalists too often lack the time and the tools to uncover these sources for stories that illuminate what is known about resilience.
The AP-NORC Journalism Fellowship on Community Resilience will train a person in the skills needed to do research-based enterprise journalism about community resilience in all its forms. The Fellowship will have an impact that will reach far beyond the fellowship term. The journalist will return to the newsroom with new skills and background to continue to report on resilience and recovery issues, and share that knowledge with colleagues. It is anticipated that over time other journalists will receive the same training, leading to a cadre of experts skilled in the use of research to tell some of the most important stories of the day.