NPF Newsletter


… and announcing journalism prizes for the best reporting on poverty and inequality.

How do families facing poverty and inequality navigate the complex web of federal and state policies that can help or hinder them? What do the data show about what works — and what doesn’t?

“In the richest society in human history,” says Rev. William J. Barber II, “nearly half of the population lives in poverty or is struggling to make ends meet.” Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach and a longtime social justice leader, will speak online at a National Press Foundation briefing on September 2 with a call to action to address growing inequality in the United States. Register here.

As COVID-19 derails the economy, worsens poverty and exposes long-standing inequalities, the National Press Foundation is launching a four-month series of online briefings to help journalists cover the crisis of poverty and its effects on children and families.

In the first briefing of a four-month series, Barber will deliver the keynote address and take questions in an online event on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 12-1:30 p.m. Eastern time (9-10:30 a.m. Pacific).

Future briefings will cover poverty, trauma and the developing brain, including new research into the neurological effects of deprivation; the U.S. child care system; paid family leave programs on the federal and state level, and proposals to reform them; education inequality; how the pandemic is affecting the opportunity gap; health care and poverty; and nutrition and hunger.

This series of briefings will be accompanied by nine new journalism prizes of $4,000 each to be awarded for the best reporting on poverty and inequality for work published in fall 2020. Journalists must attend at least two of the online trainings to qualify for the awards. Details of the prizes will be announced during the Sept. 2 program.

Both the briefings and the prizes are sponsored by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation; The National Press Foundation (NPF) retains sole responsibility for programming and content.

Do most Americans want to quit the World Trade Organization? Do Americans understand what the WTO does, and what it fails to do? How are Joe Biden’s and Donald Trump’s trade positions likely to play out during the presidential campaign, and how will the winner’s views translate into policy? What’s the latest on the leadership contest, now under way in Geneva, to be the next head of the embattled WTO?

In short: What do journalists need to know about this under-covered institution now that U.S. membership in the WTO could become a 2020 election issue? Sign up here for our briefing on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

This program is sponsored by the Hinrich Foundation. NPF retains sole responsibility for programming and content.

Our Latest Online Resources

NPF just completed a 2-week training program on vaccine development. It’s all here:

The economic disaster resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic led Congress to pass — and President Donald Trump to sign — the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which includes the Paycheck Protection Program and other coronavirus relief funds. This is more than double (in inflation-adjusted dollars) what the U.S. government spent on the New Deal during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

NPF’s training on tracking these funds gave 25 journalists the tools to discover how these funds were disbursed and spent. Now, these resources are available to everyone.

This program was sponsored by the Evelyn Y. Davis Foundation. NPF retains sole responsibility for programming and content.

The worsening conflict between the United States and China has some characteristics of a new Cold War – and could prove just as dangerous, experts warned in a National Press Foundation briefing.

This program was sponsored by the Hinrich Foundation. NPF retains sole responsibility for programming and content.

Related: “Once a Source of U.S.-China Tension, Trade Emerges as an Area of Calm” (Ana Swanson and Keith Bradsher, The New York Times, July 25, 2020)

Register For 2020 Election Trainings

Referenda and initiatives on topics such as marijuana legalization, limits on abortion, tax increases, sex education in schools and affirmative action  will clutter city, county and state ballots on Nov. 3 — and such issues, which often have a potentially outsize impact on citizens, are woefully under-covered by the media. In this briefing on Thursday, Sept. 10, NPF will offer reporters guidance on how to spot similar ballot initiatives in multiple states (possibly indicating the involvement of outside groups), explain the archaic ballot language in lay terms to voters and follow the big money behind the issues.


John G. Matsusaka, executive director, Initiative and Referendum Institute, University of Southern California
Ryan Byrne, team lead for ballot measures, Ballotpedia
Denise Roth Barber, managing director, National Institute on Money and Politics

This program is sponsored by Arnold Ventures. NPF retains sole responsibility for programming and content.

Laws that make it harder for people to vote can undermine a citizen’s fundamental right to vote — and, in the worst cases, amount to voter suppression. In a briefing on Thursday, Oct. 1, NPF will help reporters cover changes to their state’s voting laws and rules, including voter ID laws, purges of voter registration rolls, restoration of voting rights to felons, polling place closures or consolidation, electioneering intimidation and more — including advice on what to do if a voter is refused a ballot.

This program is sponsored by Arnold Ventures. NPF retains sole responsibility for programming and content.

NPF Fellows’ Work

Fellows from the “tracking the stimulus” program have been breaking stories on what happened to the federal cash. Some examples:

“The government said these companies got millions in PPP loans. They didn’t,” Jay Cridlin, Tampa Bay Times, July 13, 2020

“Fraudsters cutting in on funds meant to save small businesses, feds report,” Johnny Edwards, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Aug 5, 2020

“COVID relief program exposed billions of taxpayer dollars to fraud,” Johnny Edwards, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 17, 2020

“State employment agency hit in nationwide fraud scheme,” Peter Hancock, Capitol News Illinois, July 22, 2020

“CT public charter schools secured millions in PPP small business loans,” Emilie Munson, Hearst Newspapers, Aug 1, 2020

“In New York, taxpayer-funded charter schools secure hundreds of PPP loans,” Emilie Munson, Hearst Newspapers, Aug 2, 2020

“Data on multi-billion business loan program riddled with errors obscuring recipients, jobs,” Emilie Munson, Hearst Newspapers, July 17, 2020

“For all its faults, the Paycheck Protection Program provided a lifeline in Colorado,” Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, July 15, 2020

NPF Vaccine Bootcamp fellows hit the ground running. Here are some of their stories:

These Covid-19 vaccine candidates could change the way we make vaccines — if they work,” Umair Irfan, Vox,  Aug 13, 2020

Coronavirus update: U.S. cases trending down as flu and back-to-school seasons loom,” Anjalee Khemlani, Yahoo Finance, August 13, 2020

Does new school year mean measles or flu outbreaks? Doctors worry as kids miss scheduled vaccinations,” Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, August 12, 2020

Parents and Children Didn’t Get Other Vaccines During the COVID-19 Pandemic. That Risks Future Outbreaks of Preventable Diseases, Rachael Monahan, WilliametteWeek, August, 12, 2020

Coronavirus update: Russia approves world’s first vaccine amid skepticism, Trump weighs travel ban on Americans, Anjalee Khemlani, Yahoo Finance, August 11, 2020

Vladimir Putin says Russia has registered a coronavirus vaccine, and his daughter has been given it, Adrianna Rodriguez, US Today, August 11, 2020

Vaccine nationalism: Experts warn countries against taking ‘me-first’ approach,” Laith Alexander and Sony Salzman, ABC News Radio, August 9, 2020.

What happens when COVID-19 and flu converge? We’ll soon find out,” Mary Hynes Las, Vegas Review-Journal, August 9, 2020

Public health experts, scientists confident in vaccine process, despite criticism of ‘Warp Speed,” Stephanie Ebbs and Sony Salzman, ABC News Radio, August 7, 2020

COVID-19 Vaccine Ethics: Who Gets It First and Other Issues,” W. Wayt Gibbs, Scientific America, August 6, 2020

Mimi Luther Dreads the Prospect of Flu Season Mixed With a Pandemic. She Begs You to Get a Flu Shot,” Rachel Monahan, WilliametteWeek, August 5, 2020

Coronavirus update: Sun Belt shows signs of leveling off as NYC announces travel checkpoints, Anjalee Khemlani, Yahoo Finance, August 5, 2020

As vaccines move into phase 3 trials, diversity must be at top of agenda,” Laith Alexander And Sony Salzman, ABC News Radio, August 2, 2020

Vaccine companies searching for 1-shot dose of COVID-19 vaccine,” Laith Alexander and Sony Salzman August 1, 2020, 2:42 AM

Coronavirus: Why don’t people get sick despite being infected?” Lisa M. Krieger, The Mercury News, ABC News Radio, August 2, 2020

Coronavirus update: Fauci, CDC face Congress as US coronavirus cases spiral higher,” Anjalee Khemlani, Yahoo Finance, July 31, 2020

Johnson & Johnson sees promising COVID-19 vaccine results after testing on monkeys,” Sony Salzman, ABC News, July 31, 2020

Meet a Seattle scientist racing toward a coronavirus vaccine,” Hannah Weinberger, Crosscut, March 18, 2020