In June, the Record-Journal welcomed two new reporters to its newsroom through Report for America, a national service organization dedicated to supporting quality local journalism.
The program matches local newsrooms with talented journalists who work to provide in-depth coverage on underreported issues and communities. RFA partially funds the positions with the local news organization providing matching funds.
Joining the Record-Journal are Lau Guzmán, a recent New York University graduate, and Cris Villalonga-Vivoni, a Boston College graduate, who last year received a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.
Guzmán is assigned to cover local Latino communities as part of the Record-Journal’s Latino Communities Reporting Lab. Story topics to date have included a new state-funded scholarship to increase teacher diversity in districts like Meriden, profiles of Caribbean Americans contributing to the local community and expatriate voting among Connecticut and New York residents in the Colombian national elections.
Villalonga-Vivoni covers the newly created health equity beat, with recent stories including the role of recovery coaches in combating opioid addiction, the growing trend of foraging for food and the effect of federal funding cuts on school nutrition programs in Meriden and other communities.
Guzmán and Villalonga-Vivoni are among more than 300 journalists selected for the 2022-23 RFA reporting corps, joining the staffs of more than 200 local news organizations across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam.
“Together, our emerging and experienced corps members will produce tens of thousands of articles on critically under-covered topics — schools, government, healthcare, the environment, communities of color, and more,” said Earl Johnson, director of admissions at Report for America, in a statement.
“The Record-Journal’s participation in Report for America is a tremendous opportunity to further strengthen the local community through high-quality journalism with a particular focus on underserved communities and underreported topics,” said R-J managing editor Eric Cotton. “Lau and Cris are two prime examples of the exceptional talent selected for RFA placements and we are excited to welcome them aboard and support their work.”
RFA is a two-year program. For the first year of a placement, RFA funds half of a journalist’s salary while newsrooms fund the other half through a combination of internal funding and local donors, including individual donations. In the second and optional third year of a placement, RFA requires a larger contribution from local newsrooms.
Visit https://bit.ly/3Pdb0re to support the work of these two journalists in the local community.
Nationally, the 2022-23 cohort of journalists includes a significant number of corps members returning for a second or third year, according to the program.
This is the Record-Journal’s first year participating in RFA.
RFA is an effort by The GroundTruth Project, a Boston-based nonprofit news organization.
Funding comes from many sources including the Knight Foundation, Meta Journalism Project, Google News Initiative, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
To learn more about Report for America visit www.reportforamerica.org.