5 Vital Organizations Working To Improve Journalism

As today's media landscape continues to evolve, there are several organizations dedicated to providing journalists with tools to help them navigate changes in the industry. From training aspiring reporters on digital technology to offering guidance on investigative journalism, here, in no particular order, are some groups working to maintain the integrity of the profession.

Starting off the list at #1 is ClearHealthCosts, a company located in New York City focused on bringing transparency to the health care marketplace. In partnership with such media outlets as CBS News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Times-Picayune, it conducts investigative projects that reveal health costs to consumers in their local communities. It is the recipient of multiple grants from such organizations as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University.

CEO Jeanne Pinder worked at The New York Times for over two decades as an editor, reporter, and human resources executive. She previously worked for The Des Moines Register and The Associated Press. ClearHealthCosts has been recognized with an Edward R. Murrow award, a Suncoast Emmy, and was a finalist for a Peabody.

At #2 is The Dow Jones News Fund, a private foundation established in 1958 by editors of The Wall Street Journal. It promotes careers in journalism by providing paid professional summer internships for college students at newspapers, news services, websites, and broadcast outlets. It also funds high school workshops and publishes career literature.

The Dow Jones News Fund sponsors the Multimedia Training Academy, a hands-on digital media training program for college instructors and students from Hispanic-serving institutions to help them develop competitive skills. Participants go out on assignment in the El Paso community and work in teams to produce multimedia stories that are published in Borderzine. Among the organization's media partners are USA TODAY, the Marshall Project, and the Houston Chronicle.

Joining the list at #3 is ExposeFacts. Launched by the Institute for Public Accuracy in June 2014, the organization encourages whistleblowers to disclose information to citizens with regard to human rights, corporate malfeasance, the environment, civil liberties, and war. Its advisory board consists of journalists and past government officials, as well as former military analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers, a study of the American government's decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War.

ExposeFacts is assisted by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and its SecureDrop submission system, which utilizes up to date technology to allow anyone to anonymously submit materials. All information is evaluated by the editorial board and, when deemed in the public interest, released to applicable news outlets. The group has worked with people such as former National Security Agency subcontractor Edward Snowden and retired Central Intelligence Agency analyst and counterterrorism operations officer John Kiriakou.

Entering the list at #4 is Hostwriter, an open network that helps journalists collaborate across borders. It supports members at all career levels by providing local contacts around the world. The organization's Ambassador Network consists of featured members who act as local representatives in their country or area of expertise. Ambassadors are located across the globe in such cities as Cairo, Paris, and Warsaw.

The group receives support from a number of foundations and programs, including Tandem Europe and Social Impact Start. Through its blog, Hostwriter shares tipsheets for journalists covering such topics as how to build a team for a cross-border project, best practices for pitching stories to newsrooms, and reporting on scandals. Hostwriter has been covered by media outlets like The Fix and Portal Imprensa, which covers journalism and communication in Brazil.

Finishing things up at #5 is Report for America, a national service program that places reporters into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. Founded by veteran journalists Steven Waldman and Charles Sennott, it is an initiative of nonprofit media organization The GroundTruth Project, which supports field reporting around the world. The group has received numerous honors including an Emmy, a Webby, and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.

Members of Report for America engage in a service project typically related to youth media in order to help them connect to the community. Participants have taught podcasting workshops, trained students in writing, reporting, and interviewing techniques, and helped produce plays and documentaries. The Atlantic, Time magazine, FRONTLINE, and South China Morning Post are among the group's editorial partners.