2020 Grants Challenge

Los Angeles Investigative Reporting

Idea by Mother Jones

Mother Jones will expand our coverage and reporting resources in Los Angeles, going deep on the biggest stories--around Affordable Housing, Homelessness, Access to Healthy Food, Immigration, and other important issues--of the moment that impact Angelenos.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Applying a proven model or solution to a new issue or sector (e.g, using a job recruiting software or strategy to match clients to supportive housing sites, applying demonstrated strategies from advocating for college affordability to advocating for housing affordability and homelessness, etc.)

What is the need you’re responding to?

Across the country and in Los Angeles, dailies and magazines are disappearing, victims of venture capital takeovers, consolidation, and unsustainable business models. Nearly 8,000 Journalism jobs were lost in 2019 (and Covd-19 is looking to add to that toll). Alternative papers are also struggling (or have already died) in L.A. and with them, a lost depth of investigative reporting.

Meanwhile, we are experiencing a humanitarian crisis across the globe and this crisis is playing out--and will continue to--in many ways in Los Angeles. There is a growing need to provide deep-dive reporting; people need actionable information to make a better world.

Mother Jones intends to provide new investigative journalism resources to explore and provide visibility to many important issues within Los Angeles, addressed within the “LIVE” goal and metrics of Affordable Housing, Homelessness, and Access to Healthy Food.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

From our inception Mother Jones has prioritized exposing abuses of power; we look at social systems excessively weighted in favor of the individual gain of the few.

The most impactful journalism happens at the intersection of traditional reporting verticals – this is one of the great assets that a general-purpose journalism organization like Mother Jones brings to the story, along with a DNA baked into magazine reporting and not just breaking news – both character driven but also systems-focused. We will produce stories that grab the reader’s attention but also point to the structural sources of problems and solutions that work. The reporting in Los Angeles will help bring to light the solutions currently being explored across NGOs, policy institutes, and government.

We are the oldest investigative journalism organization in the country and we are excited to leverage our experience and extensive editorial and media resources to make a significant impact for those who live here.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 3,000,000

Indirect Impact: -

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Mother Jones' reporting often has impact on policy decisions, either directly through policy-makers or through an energized and activated readership.Historically, Mother Jones' has successfully engaged and mobilized its' community. Mother Jones makes readers feel like they are part of a community and pulling together for good.

The number of 3,000,000 above represents the goal rate of people reached in Los Angeles (annually) by Mother Jones. Measuring direct or indirect impact is challenging when measuring the impact of journalism but the value of providing fact-based reporting in a time when we have a crisis of information is indisputable.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Success will be defined by having impact on the public understanding and conversation surrounding the big issues. We can roughly measure success by an increase in the Mother Jones' readership in Los Angeles as well as tracking the activity/penetration for specific articles related to the GOAL and Metrics.

We can also measure success through event participation and by tracking the relationships with event attendees and their involvement in polls and surveys related to the GOAL and Metrics.

Our vision of success includes increasing our readership by 50% in Los Angeles (by the first year). In March of 2020 we had nearly 200,000 unique digital users in L.A. and close to 10M nationwide.

Above all, the reporting in Los Angeles will explore how the issues we face are shaping communities as we make all of these transitions--especially in the new reality of Covid-19-- and find solutions to Homelessness, Food Quality, Transit, Gun Violence, Immigration, etc. Los Angeles can be a bellwether around the many issues/challenges that are facing us and the nation.

Which of the LIVE metrics will your submission impact?​

Access to healthy food

Housing affordability


Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?​

LA is the best place to PLAY

LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Host public events or gatherings

Office space for meetings, events, or for staff