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Racine County Eye is among 18 recipients of a $1,500 investigative journalism grant from the Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION) and the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation.

The Impact-Designed Investigative Grants range from $500 to $1,500. The winning online publications serve an array of audiences, including those in California, Wisconsin, Rhode Island and North Carolina. The awards were made possible with a grant to LION Publishers from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

“As the name of the grant suggests, the stories produced are expected to have an impact — on both the communities and the publishers. The stories will be beyond the typical, strong news reporting already done by these newsrooms, shining a light on local issues that otherwise would not be reported. The publishers will then highlight the effects and benefits of such reporting as they undertake fundraising efforts based on these stories,” said Steve Beatty, of LION.

“This grant dovetails in with our mission to help our readers and our advertisers navigate the employability issues that face our community,” Lockwood said. “And with Foxconn, their suppliers and other companies experiencing so much growth, shining the light on employability is more important than ever.”

Racine County Eye is a free news website that serves eastern Racine County. The site features stories written by professional journalists that have more than 15 years of experience covering southeast Wisconsin. The topics RCE has covered include mental health, the We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant, Foxconn, development, and the Black Men Speak project.

Denise Lockwood, the owner of the Racine County Eye, said receiving the $1,500 grant will help them deliver the best stories about employment that will help our community thrive.  The project: an in-depth look at the barriers to employment in Racine.

The Racine County Eye news website already features Eye on Employment, which offers resources on training and education, employment news, and job listings. This information is important because the City of Racine has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state at the same time thousands of jobs are expected to flood the area.

“Newsrooms play a key role in a healthy democracy, holding public and private officials accountable and exposing instances of danger, waste, fraud, and abuse. This series of grants makes possible such reporting where it most directly affects audiences — in their hometowns,” Beatty said.

To help further fund the cost of the investigative journalism project, Racine County Eye is asking the community to match the grant by becoming paid members of the site. At memberships of $5, $10 or $20/month, these are great ways to make sure investigative journalism thrives. Becoming a member is optional.

“We will continue to keep the site free, but this is a way that members of the community can help continue supporting strong local journalism in Racine,” Lockwood said.

To become a member, please click on the membership link.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.