Washington City Paper, D.C.’s weekly newspaper of 39 years, is the recipient of two grants from the Facebook Journalism Project that will support its work on D.C.’s maternal health crisis as well as the further development of City Paper’s recently launched reader membership program.

“Facebook’s investments in our impactful local journalism and our burgeoning community-supported business model are a powerful validation of the importance of our institution. Their support also proves that we are early leaders in an exciting trend of news organizations finding new ways to support their community journalism in an era of transformation across our industry,” says Mark Ein, City Paper’s owner since 2018. “With these grants and the continued growing support of our community, we will be doubling down on our important and award-winning local news coverage of the District.”

City Paper’s arts editor, Kayla Randall, whose work elevated the conversation on maternal health in the District, has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Facebook Journalism Project Community Network to further her reporting amplifying mothers’ voices through community-driven discussions on maternal and infant health outcomes.

“When it comes to maternal care, there are huge racial, geographic, and socioeconomic disparities,” Randall says of this timely work. “Getting to the bottom of these issues means speaking with mothers and really listening to their stories and experiences. I’ve been reporting on the issues impacting D.C.’s moms since 2018, and I moderated a City Papercommunity conversation in 2019 that brought together mothers and maternal health experts to raise awareness about how our community can better support our moms.” 

Randall adds, “I believe listening is the only way to ultimately create change, and that’s what I’m hoping to do much more of with this additional support.” To that end, Facebook’s support will enableCity Paper to host free community events, produce features on maternal health, and launch a podcast series that incorporates D.C.’s moms and their support network. 

This crucial work is one example of the impact of City Paperwith the support of its most valuable asset: its community of readers. In November 2019, the paper launched a new membership program to engage its readers, including opportunities to interact with the journalists of City Paper in community forums. 

Hundreds of readers have pledged to support local journalism through City Paper to date, and the second grant from the Facebook Journalism Project will give City Paper new tools, best practices, and access to a network of community-supported news organizations from across the country to develop its membership strategy as a part of the Facebook Membership Accelerator program. The Accelerator program, which begins in March, will involve three months of intense, hands-on training and, subsequently, a grant for implementation. 

“As we enter our 40th year, we remain dedicated to bringing D.C. high-quality writing, reporting, and photography, and look forward to accessing new tools and bringing best practices to our membership model that will help propel City Paper into its fifth decade and beyond,” City Paper’s interim editor, Caroline Jones, says of the opportunity. “We are thrilled to be a part of these two programs that will allow our paper to grow and thrive.”

Update: As members of the Facebook Membership Accelerator program, City Paper has also been awarded COVID-19 Relief Funding from the Facebook Journalism Project. We are grateful for this much needed support that will help make up for losses in event and ad revenue.

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