View this email in your browser
PITCH US: SpotlightDC invites proposals for funding to investigate why a mob of insurrectionists was able to breach the U.S. Capitol, purported to be one of the most well-protected buildings in DC.
“In these uncertain and dangerous times, investigative journalism becomes even more crucial. Washington, D.C. is one of the most policed cities in the world, yet well-organized and openly-violent groups were able to attack and occupy the U.S. Capitol. Why?

The answers will require journalists capable of digging for answers; SpotlightDC stands ready to provide financial support to projects investigating how all the police forces in the capital allowed insurrectionists to achieve their violent goals. It fulfills our mission. Please apply and spread the word:”

 - Harry Jaffe, President, SpotlightDC
Please also consider making a tax deductible donation to support our funding of worthy local investigative projects; we accept contributions on our web site or by check.
BREAKING NEWS: SpotlightDC Grants Its First Award for Podcasting

With its new Media Partner, WTOP News, SpotlightDC is eager to award funds to proposals for investigative or explanatory journalism projects created for podcasting.

In partnership with WTOP, DC’s preeminent AM radio station, SpotlightDC has agreed to fund Paul Wagner’s six-part series exploring an unsolved murder in Prince Georges County, Maryland; the investigation explores the use of DNA to create genetic leads, with the chance of breaking the case but also treading on privacy to ferret out suspects.
WTOP’s collaboration with PodcastOne opens up the potential for podcasts supported by SpotlightDC reaching a national audience.
Kudos for Josh Kaplan’s Investigation of Fraud in DC’s Eviction System

Longform noted Kaplan's work in its "Best of 2020 Investigative Reporting," saying:
Josh Kaplan’s incredible investigation into a fraudulent and rigged evictions process in Washington D.C. is local journalism at its best. In D.C.’s eviction system, tenants are supposed to be notified of eviction proceedings via private process servers — people who are typically hired by landlords to deliver notices and can charge between $60 to $100 a case. However, “there is no mechanism in place in D.C. to check whether these process servers were truthful in their affidavits and actually delivered the summonses.” Kaplan’s reporting uncovers that many residents have had no idea they were going to be evicted: They never received a summons. Two process servers, Karl Stephens and Matthew Buck, have “played an outsized role” here, lying about serving tenants with papers about their initial court dates. It’s an astounding read on the eviction process, tenants’ rights and safety, and corruption, one that led to a swift response from the D.C. Council and an amendment to legislation.

has nominated Kaplan’s piece for a number of investigative awards, including Polk; Investigative Reporters and Editors; Goldsmith; Livingston; Society of Professional Journalists; and Online Journalism Awards.
We are excited to announce that Katharine Weymouth, who chairs the Greater Washington Community Foundation, has become the fifth member of SpotlightDC’s Board of Directors, joining Colbert I. King, Margaret “Peggy” Engel, Kojo Nnamdi and Harry Jaffe. Here's what she has to say about SpotlightDC:

When I was invited to join the Board of SpotlightDC, I did not hesitate.  With the challenges that newsrooms around the world face in their business models, we have all read and seen too many stories about newsrooms decimated by drastic cuts, with some being forced to fold altogether.  It is local reporting, and particularly local investigative journalism, that has really been eviscerated as newsroom staffs are forced to focus fewer resources to try to produce the same number of stories on multiple platforms.  

Despite the dearth of resources, local reporting, and especially local investigative reporting, is more important than ever:  to ensure that state and municipal officials are being held accountable; to ensure an informed and engaged citizenry; and to tell stories that would otherwise not see the light of day.  Local investigative journalism, in particular, is at real risk of being lost as it requires patience, resources, and expertise.  Whether it is digging through reams of data or paperwork, or studying a local budget and following the trail of where money has been spent and the impact of those funds, a good investigative story can take weeks, months or even years.

SpotlightDC is a small organization with a mighty mission -- to support investigative and explanatory journalism focused on the District and its region -- and I look forward to seeing the impact of the journalism that we can help fund.                                                    
Did someone forward this email to you? If so, we're glad you made it this far! Please consider taking a moment to subscribe for our monthly updates at the button below.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Why SpotlightDC?

For decades since journalists exposed the Watergate scandal, Washingtonians could depend on investigative reporting teams to probe deeply into the actions of our local politicians, public officials, and business community. No more. As the District’s population pushes past 800,000, new residents are changing the city’s demographics, the government’s budget has reached $16.5 billion, and construction cranes dominate the skyline, yet we have lost the most powerful journalistic tool to inform and educate citizens.
With a mission to fill that void, SpotlightDC will support journalists who expose betrayals of public trust, abuses of power and inequities in public services by people in government, business or other institutions. To achieve its goals, SpotlightDC will:
  • Seek proposals for investigative and explanatory projects.
  • Award grants up to $10,000 to worthy projects.
  • Assist reporters in completing the assignments with mentoring from our Advisory Board of investigative journalists.
  • Collaborate with media partners – including WAMU, DCist, Washington City Paper, Washington Informer and Washingtonian – to publish and amplify work by our awardees.
SpotlightDC is a nonprofit under IRS 501(c)(3) regulations. Your charitable contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Copyright © 2021 SpotlightDC, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp