Building Your Brand: Training and Grants for U.S. Journalists of Color

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)  are pleased to partner on a program to help underrepresented journalists across the United States build up their portfolio, strengthen their brand, and engage wider audiences. The goal: To help journalists of color build their personal brands into a product or business.


About the Program 

It’s not enough for journalists to know how to report, write, shoot and tweet. They must also know how to use personal branding to reach audiences. Leaders in the news industry know how to explain what they bring to the industry and to audiences, define their personal brand, and even build a business around that brand.

Are you ready to become that leader, and to possibly qualify for an investment of $10,000 to build your personal brand into a product or business? Join this program to become that leader.

Phase 1: Webinar Series on Personal Branding

U.S. journalists of color may apply to participate in a three-week series of six interactive webinars where they will learn to develop their personal brand. Each webinar will last about 1.5  hours. Webinar topics may include: 

  • Building your profile as a public figure: Consider and plan how you want to represent yourself to your followers. 
  • Digital security: How to be proactive about protecting yourself online. How to build up and defend your online presence from trolls, hackers, and malicious actors. 
  • Developing new digital habits: How to reach and engage audiences in dialogues around your reporting.
  • Social media foundations: How best to use different platforms to reach different audiences. 
  • Digital media tools and products: What products are most effective for delivering your content (newsletters, podcasts, social media, etc)?

Phase 2: Applying for the Grant 

Participants who successfully complete the webinar series by participating in all six sessions will be invited to a special session on how to write a grant proposal and create a project budget and will then be eligible to apply for project funding. Up to 10 journalists will receive $10,000 each to develop unique news projects and products that promote their brand and engage audiences. These may include newsletters, podcasts, online events, town hall series, crowdsourcing campaigns, etc. 

Phase 3: Project or Product Development 

Successful grantees will not only receive funding, but they’ll also benefit from one-on-one mentorship to help make their project a success. Starting in September, grantees should expect to spend between several hours per week on their projects over the course of three months. 


How to Apply 

Applications are now open, and close on August 23. Apply now. 



Who should apply to this program?

Professional U.S. journalists of color should apply. Freelancers are especially encouraged to apply. 


Can I apply if I live outside of the U.S.?

No, this program is intended for underrepresented journalists in the U.S. (and its territories).


So, this is a training program?

The ultimate goal is to provide funding to help BIPOC journalists create a new product to cover critical issues in their communities. It begins with training to strengthen their portfolios and expand audience reach and engagement. After the training, participants will receive guidance and support to  apply for funding for their project. The group of journalists who are chosen for a grant will be matched with a mentor to help with getting their product launched.


What time commitment will be involved?

About five hours per week for three weeks in September. Participants who receive a grant will need to spend several hours per week building their project or product and working with a mentor for three months beginning in late September. 


Do I have to attend all the webinars to be eligible? 

You need to attend at least five of the sessions. 


What type of news product can I produce?

Up to 10 number journalists will receive $10,000 each to develop unique news projects and products that promote their brand and engage audiences. These may include newsletters, podcasts, online events, town hall series, crowdsourcing campaigns, etc. 


I have never written a grant proposal before. How will I know what to do? 

You’ll attend a session to learn how to describe your project, set goals and create a budget. 


How will the mentor support me?

They will meet with you regularly to support project development, help you reach goals and manage unforeseen challenges.



Program Dates:
9/1/2021 - 12/15/2021
Program Type
In-Country Program

More about this program

Contact Info

Jennifer Dorroh
Senior Program Director 

Chanté Russell
Program Assistant 


News about this program