Industry Updates

GroundTruth Project Supports In-Depth International Reporting

June 5, 2017

By David Walker

Foreign news bureaus once trained emerging correspondents, including photographers. But most of those bureaus have closed, leaving emerging journalists on their own in a more dangerous world. Enter The GroundTruth Project, a non-profit with a mission to support emerging journalists in pursuit of stories all over the world about social justice issues such as the environment, global health, human rights, emerging democracies, freedom of expression and religious affairs.

Co-founders of the Boston-based Project are Charles Sennott, who also co-founded the international news site GlobalPost, photojournalist Gary Knight and Kevin Douglas Grant, who was previously a GlobalPost editor. They started fundraising in 2011, gained 501(c)3 status for GlobalTruth in 2014, and now operate with support from the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation and other philanthropies.

“Our thinking in going non-profit was that we were tired of the clipped, low-quality assignments that take advantage of talented young people,” Grant says. “We’re focused on the next generation of storytellers, and we’re focused on opportunities that are now difficult for professional journalists to find.” Mindful of the tragic murder of GlobalPost correspondent James Foley in 2014, GroundTruth is also dedicated to providing journalists with the resources to work safely and minimize risks on dangerous foreign assignments.

GroundTruth has a fellowship program to support journalists in all media, including photographers, documentary filmmakers, radio reporters and podcasters. To date, the project has granted about 150 fellowships of varying durations and dollar amounts. About 30 so far have gone to photographers through GroundTruth’s various project initiatives, says Grant. Among the stories “we’re really proud of,” he says, are “Foreverstan,” about the protracted war in Afghanistan, which includes photographs by Ben Brody; Brittany Greeson’s “We Fear the Water” project about the Flint lead crisis; and Camilla Andersen’s project about the psychological toll of climate change on Sami and Inuit communities in the Arctic. Outlets that published those stories included The Atlantic, ABC News and, a science and medicine news site.

Grant says that in addition to covering stories around the globe, The GroundTruth Project is “doing more and more domestic work,” and will soon launch a new initiative called Crossing the Divide, which will provide fellowships for reporting journeys across the United States to report on the nation’s economic, social and political divisions. “We strongly encourage photographers to apply for this,” Grant says.

This article is part of a larger series of trends and challenges in the photo industry. To read more articles in the series, check out The Ups/Downs of the Year Past and Year Ahead.