July 27, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C.—PRB announced today it has been awarded a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to encourage and support the work of journalists covering public health system challenges and inequities revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic and to build up diverse and independent media coverage of public health.
PRB’s new Public Health Reporting Corps will launch in India and Nigeria, two of the world’s fastest growing nations in terms of population. The corps will focus on building media capacity by facilitating collaboration among journalists, connecting reporters and editors with health experts and data, and providing mentorship, funding, and coaching for independent media. Inaugural corps journalists will focus on vaccine hesitancy and health misinformation.
“We are pleased the MacArthur Foundation shares our belief in the critical role of news media in safeguarding public health—something that was made even more evident during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said PRB President and CEO Jeffrey Jordan. “PRB has supported journalists around the world in understanding and elevating critical data on health issues for three decades, and we are excited to have this opportunity to extend the breadth and impact of our work during this critical period.”
The grant is part of roughly $80 million in awards MacArthur announced as part of its Equitable Recovery initiative, centered on advancing racial and ethnic justice. The initiative is funded by MacArthur’s social bonds, issued in response to the crises of the pandemic and racial inequity.
“As we emerge from this moment of crisis, we have an opportunity to improve the critical systems that people and places need to thrive. Our systems and structures must be rebuilt,” said MacArthur President John Palfrey. “We are committed to ensuring that our response to the pandemic is focused on supporting the reimagining of systems that create a more just, equitable, and resilient world.”
PRB is one of 35 organizations receiving grants advancing the Public Health Equity and COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery focus area of MacArthur’s initiative. This focus area supports improving access to resources for immediate health challenges while advancing new policies, models, and structures to support a more equitable and resilient public health sector in the future.
“This project is an exciting step forward in the evolution of PRB’s media programs, which have always sought to strengthen coverage of public health stories from and about diverse communities,” said PRB Media Programs Director Alana Barton. “The reporting corps will focus on building diversity and representation among journalists covering pandemic recovery, with a particular commitment to participation from marginalized groups that have long been underserved and disregarded by the systems around them.”
Over the longer term, PRB aims to expand the Public Health Reporting Corps to additional countries, cultivating a community of reporters with strong peer relationships and resource-sharing networks that contributes to a more representative and a nuanced coverage of public health systems.
This is the first grant PRB has received from MacArthur. Almost two-thirds of the awards represent new grantee relationships, and most of the organizations are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led or -serving. The grants also reflect MacArthur’s global reach: 45% of the new funding supports work outside of the U.S., including 12% in India, and 14% in Nigeria, where MacArthur has offices.
Equitable Recovery Initiative
In the fall of 2020, MacArthur established a $125 million Equitable Recovery initiative. The foundation deployed $40 million of bond proceeds through 24 grants. Initial grants focused on strengthening voter mobilization and election protection, addressing anti-Black racism, and supporting Native Americans impacted by COVID-19. Grants also supported Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous arts organizations in Chicago, technology and justice, and a fund for social entrepreneurs advancing racial equity.
PRB promotes and supports evidence-based policies, practices, and decision-making to improve the health and well-being of people throughout the world. Find out more at www.prb.org and follow us on Twitter @PRBdata.
MacArthur media contact: Kristen Mack, firstname.lastname@example.org
PRB media contact: Liselle Yorke, email@example.com, +1-202-939-5463