Esserman family, Knight Foundation pledge $2.5M to support investigative journalism

MIAMI – The Esserman family and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation pledged a $2.5 million investment in accountability journalism.

During a Monday night ceremony in downtown Miami, Ron and Charlene Esserman’s daughter Laura Esserman said the investment includes a $50,000 fellowship at the Miami Herald and The Esserman-Knight Journalism Prize.

“Journalism is under attack," Esserman said, adding that “it’s really important that new business models be found and established to support local journalism" because "if we don’t have an educated electorate, we’re going to lose our democracy.”

The Knight Foundation is contributing $250,000 to the Esserman-Knight Journalism Prize, which will reward work that “has had a major impact” in the lives of residents in South Florida’s Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties. There is a $10,000 top prize and two $1,000 honorable mentions.

“Esserman family is encouraging others to join them in helping ensure that the practice of journalism remains strong here in South Florida,” said Jennifer Preston, vice president of journalism at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.