McCormick Foundation Invests Nearly $5 Million in Youth Journalism, Quality News Content and News Literacy

Oct 15, 2010, 16:30 ET from McCormick Foundation

CHICAGO, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The McCormick Foundation board of directors has approved nearly $5 million in new grants to 32 organizations committed to strengthening quality journalism and news literacy. These grants support the new direction of the Foundation's journalism program, focusing on improving content, educating audiences and protecting press freedoms.

"Our benefactor, Robert R. McCormick, dedicated his life to bringing news and information to the people of Chicago," said David Hiller, President and CEO, McCormick Foundation. "We are committed to building on his legacy and that is why journalism will always be one of our primary areas of focus."

At the core of the Foundation's journalism program is news literacy, an emerging movement for developing the critical thinking skills in citizens of all ages so they can judge the reliability and credibility of information.

"In light of the dramatic changes in the news media, the McCormick Foundation is supporting new approaches to enhancing the free flow of dependable, relevant news and information," said Hiller.

To promote transparency and accountability in government, the McCormick Foundation has granted $450,000 over two years to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism for the launch of a new watchdog unit, which will examine irregularities in government spending and management, primarily in the Chicago area. In addition, the Chicago Reporter was granted $175,000 over two years to analyze urban social and economic issues.

In line with its efforts to improve news literacy among young people, the Foundation awarded $300,000 to Columbia College Chicago's LINKS program. The two-year grant will build on the success of Columbia's quality journalism education and hands-on media production opportunities for high school students and teachers.

The Foundation also granted $200,000 over two years to Harvard University's Berkman Center to unite youth, teachers, lawyers and researchers to explore the opportunities and challenges of digital media. Another $150,000 was granted to After School Matters to support technology upgrades and inclusion of news literacy training for their media arts instructors over the next two years.

"We have forged a strategy that emphasizes increased grantmaking in Chicago and stronger support for youth journalism, audience building and news literacy," said Journalism Program Director Clark Bell.

The following are illustrative of the new grants:

Grants Supporting Quality Content

1. Center for Public Integrity, Washington, D.C.

$150,000 over two years

For collaborative regional and national investigative stories

2. Chicago Community Trust, Chicago, IL


To support the Community News Matters initiative

3. City Colleges of Chicago Foundation, Chicago, IL


To assist in producing a youth voices segment on a new PBS public affairs show

4. Community Media Workshop, Chicago, IL

$160,000 over two years

In support of its community news initiative and for the production of their annual media guide

5. Community Renewal Society, Chicago, IL

$175,000 over two years

For continued support of The Chicago Reporter's investigative news, public policy analysis and

community engagement work

6. International Center for Journalists, Washington, D.C.

$200,000 over two years

To support the training of U.S. ethnic journalists on digital media skills

7. Investigative News Network, Washington, D.C.


For administrative, legal and technology support for the Investigative News Network

8. Kansas University Endowment Association, Lawrence, KS

$200,000 over two years

For continued support of the Military and Media Project

9. The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, Oakland, CA

$160,000 over two years

For support of a media diversity assessment study

10. New America Media (Pacific News Service), San Francisco, CA

$200,000 over two years

In support of expanding news partnerships and regional online news hubs

11. Northwestern University – Medill School of Journalism, Evanston, IL

$450,000 over two years

For the Watchdog Initiative and Center for Innovation in Technology/Media

12. Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, FL


For administration and hosting of McCormick Foundation's Specialized Reporting Institutes

13. The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Urbana, IL


To support a consortium of Midwest university journalism professors for public service reporting

14. WBEZ Alliance, Inc., Chicago, IL


For to partner with media that serve youth and community audiences

TOTAL - $2,385,000

Grants Supporting Youth Media and News Literacy

15. After School Matters, Chicago, IL

$150,000 over two years

For support of technology improvements at Gallery 37 Center for the Arts and inclusion of news for

literacy training ASM media arts instructors

16. Beyondmedia Education, Chicago, IL

$120,000 over two years

To support the reportage of youth violence in Chicago

17. Columbia College, Chicago, IL

$300,000 over two years

For continued support of the Columbia LINKS journalism program for Chicago teens

18. Community Television Network, Chicago, IL

$120,000 over two years

To expand the Youth News for You news literacy program

19. Educational Development Center, Boston, MA

$300,000 over two years

In support of its Chicago office to manage the Youth Media Technology Fund

20. President and Fellows of Harvard College, Cambridge, MA

$200,000 over two years

To establish a Youth & Media Lab at the Berkman Center

21. One Economy, Washington, D.C.


To support the expansion of youth journalism training in Chicago and the Teen Reporter

22. Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Washington, D.C.

$100,000 over two years

To expand the Pulitzer Center's Global Gateway project in Chicago schools

23. Research Foundation of the State University of New York, Albany, NY


For a National News Literacy Summit on best practices in news literacy education at Stony Brook University

24. True Star Foundation, Chicago, IL

$100,000 over two years

For support of youth media, broadcast training and True Star magazine

25. USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, Los Angeles, CA

$135,000 over two years

To support the Intersections youth reporting project and High School Journalism Days

26. We the People Media, Chicago, IL

$120,000 over two years

To expand a journalism training program for Chicago's inner city youth

27. Young Chicago Authors, Chicago, IL

$130,000 over two years

For the continuing support of Say What magazine and youth media training

TOTAL - $1,900,000

Grants Supporting Press Freedoms

28. American Society of Newspaper Editors Foundation, Reston, VA

$150,000 over two years

For the continued support and expansion of the Liberty Tree Initiative's college First Amendment festivals

29. American University, Washington, D.C.

$150,000 over two years

To support research and a summit on copyright policies and journalism in the digital age

30. First Amendment Coalition, San Francisco, CA

$80,000 over two years

For the First Amendment Legal Defense Initiative

31. Illinois First Amendment Center, Springfield, IL

$150,000 over two years

For First Amendment education materials, teacher support and conference

32. Radio & Television News Directors Foundation, Washington, D.C.

$100,000 over two years

To support press freedoms for journalists

TOTAL - $630,000

GRAND TOTAL - $4,915,000

About the McCormick Foundation

The McCormick Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening our nation's civic health by fostering educated, informed and engaged citizens. Through its grantmaking programs, Cantigny Park and Golf, and museums, the Foundation helps build citizen leaders and make life better in our communities. The Foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The McCormick Foundation is one of the nation's largest charities, with more than $1 billion in assets. For more information, please visit

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