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SOURCE McCormick Foundation
"Why News Matters" Grants Encourage Citizen Engagement
CHICAGO, Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Robert R. McCormick Foundation has approved nearly $7.4 million in new grants to 22 nonprofit organizations supporting quality journalism and First Amendment freedoms. More than $2 million of the grants will support Why News Matters, a dynamic initiative designed to enhance news literacy skills and civic engagement in Chicago.
The changing news media landscape has resulted in an explosion of information sources. Content from bloggers, citizen and niche journalists, and the proliferation of the 24-hour news cycle have the potential to interlace fact, opinion, rumor and spin. The McCormick Foundation is dedicated to helping citizens, especially youth, access resources and methods for navigating the complicated and fragmented news ecosystem.
In remarks to the American Society of News Editors, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "The work the McCormick Foundation is doing to help the next generation become more sophisticated in understanding news is absolutely vital. To have full power over their lives, young people must understand the world they live in. They have to read, they have to follow the news and they have to vote."
Among the new Why News Matters grantees is the Big Shoulders Fund, which will revitalize student journalism and launch news literacy curriculum in four Catholic high schools in Chicago. McCormick's Journalism Program also is funding Youth Guidance to introduce weekly news literacy workshops as part of an after-school program for at-risk youth who attend 12 partnering schools. The Chicago Public Library Foundation's grant will provide news literacy training to librarians, institutions and youth attending summer learning programs.
"By the beginning of 2014, more than 30 Chicago organizations will be participating in Why News Matters," said Journalism Program Director Clark Bell. "Next fall we will showcase the work of our grantees at a National News Literacy Summit in Chicago."
In addition to news literacy, the Foundation is committed to supporting journalism education and training opportunities. More than $4 million in grants will be given to organizations including Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism , which will receive funding for the National Security Journalism Initiative and a new Social Justice Reporting Institute. Both of these programs provide classroom training, research and workshops for professional and community journalists.
The McCormick Foundation also continues to invest in initiatives that defend First Amendment freedoms and promote civic engagement through access to information. Grantees such as the Investigative News Network and Better Government Association are among the watchdog journalism groups addressing government transparency and accountability.
The McCormick Foundation Journalism Program has invested more than $107 million since its inception in 1994.
"Our work in journalism builds on the legacy of our founder, Col. Robert R. McCormick," said David Hiller, the Foundation's president and chief executive officer. "The need for citizen access to information, watchdog journalism and savvy news consumers has never been greater."
Journalism grants recently approved by the board include:
GRAND TOTAL - $7,390,000
About the Robert R. McCormick Foundation
The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is committed to fostering communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens. Through philanthropic programs, Cantigny Park and museums, the Foundation helps develop citizen leaders and works to 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 Robert R. McCormick Foundation is one of the nation's largest foundations, with more than $1.4 billion in assets. To learn more, visit McCormickFoundation.org, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/McCormick_Fdn, or like us on Facebook at facebook.com/McCormickFoundation.
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