CatchLight Local

We are now accepting applications for the 2019 CatchLight Local Bay Area pilot program. Apply here.

CatchLight Local is a place-based program that seeks to reseed visual storytelling at the local level by connecting powerful visual storytellers directly with local newsrooms and community members. The visual stories created and collaboration will establish a common ground for diverse insights and possible solutions to critical social issues facing local communities today. It launches in 2019 with a pilot in the Bay Area, focusing on the topic of economic inclusion.

What can you expect as a CatchLight Local Fellow?

In addition to a $15,000 stipend, the initiative offers personalized project development and distribution opportunities from CatchLight, GroundTruth, and local newsroom partners. CatchLight Local Fellows will work on their proposed projects from September 30, 2019, to December 31, 2019, with the support of their designated local newsroom partner. During this time period, the fellows will host one “town hall” event to engage local audiences in the creation of their work and spark meaningful dialogue with community members. These events will be tailored by the fellow, in consultation with CatchLight and community partners, to best serve local audiences and can range from informal community potlucks to pop up screenings while leveraging creative placemaking best practices.  

Following the completion of projects, CatchLight will offer continued amplification and engagement support for an additional three months from February-April 2020. The nature of the awarded visual storytellers’ work will determine the appropriate model for distribution and community engagement. CL Local Fellows will be expected to participate in person at two key CatchLight programs in San Francisco including a Visual Storytelling Summit in the Spring 2020. Additionally, representatives from the CatchLight Local Initiative will be invited to at the annual CatchLight Leadership Retreat in November 2019.


Eligibility: We are looking for exceptional talent, willingness to collaborate across newsrooms and communities, commitment to community engagement throughout project production and distribution, as well as a drive to shed light on diverse perspectives and issues of economic inequality in a local context.

The program is open to all people of all ages and levels of career experience who work with visual communication, including videographers and photographers working with lens-led technology for the purposes of visual storytelling, and a specific commitment to effecting change. Applicants may work in a broad range of visual formats including photography, video, audio, motion or VR. Applicants must be based in the Bay Area and proposals can outline the continuation of existing work or the creation of a new project keeping in mind the three-month deliverable timeline.

Preference will be given to applicants with an existing community connection to the geographic region for which they are applying; applicants with relevant projects already in progress are welcome to apply. People of color and others whose perspectives are underrepresented in media are highly encouraged to apply.

Application Process: The application portal opens on June 6 at 9am PST and the deadline to apply is July 10 at noon PST. Selected Fellows will be announced in September 2019. The CatchLight Local Initiative staff and program advisors will review applications, creating a short list of 2-4 finalists for each available position. Finalists will be notified by early August and scheduled for an interview with their potential host newsrooms, CatchLight and GroundTruth staff. Selected Fellows will be announced in September 2019.


About CALmatters
CALmatters is a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. They work with more than 180 media partners throughout the state that have long, deep relationships with their local audiences. CALmatters is committed to meaningfully informing Californians about the players, politics, and interests that shape the issues that affect their lives.

About The Salinas Californian
The Salinas Californian has served Salinas Valley readers for 148 years and is the oldest continuously published newspaper in California. It publishes online daily and in print three days a week: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The editorial staff includes one editor, three news reporters and one sports reporter. The Salinas Californian also produces two weekly publications, the Spanish-language El Sol as well as Off 68, which serves the Highway 68 corridor.

Banner image: © 2017 CatchLight Fellow Brian L. Frank