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Funding Resources for Journalists and the Media Industry

The pressing need for good reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged a growing list of donors to offer grants to journalists. In addition, offers of aid to publishers are also being made available in light of the increased financial pressures on small businesses.

A number of funding deadlines have passed but please see below for those that are open.

  • The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is partnering with the Facebook Journalism Project (FJP) to administer nine grants to independent local news organizations in South Africa that are producing quality journalism amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

This grant program will provide urgent financial support for independent publishers with a special focus on investigative journalism and local news organizations that are providing trustworthy information about COVID-19.

Applications opened on 5 May 2020.

Please click on the links below for more information and how to apply:



  • The National Geographic Society has launched an emergency fund for journalists around the world who wish to cover COVID-19 within their communities. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis.

Grants ranging from $1,000 to $8,000 will be given “for local coverage of the preparation, response, and impact of this global pandemic as seen through evidence-based reporting.”

The National Geographic fund “will place particular emphasis on delivering news to underserved populations”. The fund is interested in “local and even hyper-local distribution models,” and wants to see stories “of inequities that COVID-19 has brought to light.”

Writers, photographers, videographers, audio journalists, cartographers, filmmakers, and data visualization experts may apply for this funding.

  • International Women’s Media Foundation (Global)– The IWMF’s Journalism Relief Fund is open to women-identifying journalists in dire straits — journalists who have faced significant financial hardship, lost work, were recently laid off or who urgently need assistance to avoid severe, irreversible outcomes. This fund will provide small grants of up to $2,000 per request. Note: Special consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis to those who have greater financial need.
  • Writers Emergency Assistance Fund (Global) – Funds are only available to those who cannot work because they are currently ill or caring for someone who is ill, not those who have lost work, according to the sponsor, the American Society of Journalists and Authors. “Writers who apply do not have to live in the United States but must submit books or articles written in English.”
  • The Unemployed Insurance Fund – the UIF has introduced a special new coronavirus benefit, aimed at workers affected by the pandemic.

Employers need to apply for the coronavirus benefit if they can’t afford to pay their workers. The maximum amount recipients will get is R6 730 a month. If you have lost your job, you can claim an unemployment benefit from the UIF – and if your company reduced your working hours, you can also put in a claim.

If your company put you on unpaid leave during this time, or if you have been laid off temporarily – or if a company can only afford to pay a part of your salary – you can get  a special payout from the UIF, as part of the Covid-19 Temporary Relief scheme, also known as the special Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS). A business has to apply to the UIF to get money to pay workers. It will have to prove that it suffered a severe knock from the lockdown. If approved, the UIF will pay out money per worker for up to three months. The UIF offices are closed, but you can register online at https://www.ufiling.co.za/ . From the home page, click on the ‘Activate my uFiling account’ button and follow the on-screen instructions. You will receive a case number to track your progress. Alternatively, you can email [email protected] for guidance.

For the coronavirus benefit, you can’t apply – your employer has to. Businesses need to mail [email protected] to register their companies for the payout. The UIF hotline for the coronavirus benefit is 012 337 1997.

SANEF will be updating this list regularly.

Please notify us at [email protected] if there are any further funds or funding that you know is available.

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