Last August, The Huffington Post announced it was starting a crowdfunding effort so that its selected fellow, Ferguson local Mariah Stewart, could extend the half-life of the Ferguson story through sustained on-the-ground reporting.
The work in Ferguson, according to Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim, is far from over, which is why Huffington Post has partnered once again with the Beacon Reader to raise funds to extend Stewart’s fellowship by another year.
In his announcement, Grim also indirectly addressed some of the efforts’ critics, who at the outset questioned why Huffington Post chose to raise funds instead of paying for a fellow itself. Grim painted it as a necessary effort that, because it was outside of the traditional purview of national publications, required a different approach.
The reality of on-the-ground local reporting is that it is a long, hard slog. Weeks can go by without a story that resonates with a national audience, which is why national publications hire reporters to cover national events, rather than local meetings, movements and politicians. Most public meetings don’t yield the kind of news that resonates across the country. Public records requests are hindered at every step, and when information is finally provided, it’s often redacted to the point of uselessness.
That, in short, is why national publications don’t have reporters staking out every meeting of the Ferguson police or town council. It’s also why HuffPost doesn’t have someone based in West Baltimore, Staten Island, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Dallas or countless other towns and counties. And it’s why local leaders can get away with as much as they do.
The deadline by which to raise the $40,000 is the morning of Oct. 25. Currently $6,105 has been raised. To check out the contribution page, go here.