The Robert R. McCormick Foundation has announced the launch of a three-year, $6 million initiative to expand innovative approaches to improving news literacy.
Initial grants awarded by the Chicago-based foundation through the Why News Matters initiative total more than $1 million, including $200,000 over two years to City Colleges of Chicago to develop an intergenerational news and information literacy curriculum; $150,000 over two years to the Newspaper in Education Foundation to include news literacy activities in youth journalism programming; $100,000 to the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana for experiential, hands-on news literacy workshops targeting youth between the ages of 9 and 13; and $60,000 to the New York City-based Futuro Media Group in support of a local public forum and programs on news literacy targeting Latino audiences.
In addition, the foundation announced $2.85 million in grants through its journalism program to organizations working to increase quality news content and provide media programs for youth. Grant recipients include Columbia College, which was awarded $375,000 over two years for its Columbia LINKS youth journalism program and town halls on news literacy; the Illinois First Amendment Center, which received $200,000 over two years in support of a First Amendment educational program, student journalism camps, and a community news literacy outreach initiative; and New America Media, which was awarded $150,000 over two years to expand its community and ethnic media work.
"'Why News Matters' grantees will bring an entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit as we expand the reach and impact of news literacy," said McCormick Foundation president and CEO David Hiller. "Together, we can foster a healthy, twenty-first century democracy grounded in a free press and informed, active citizenry. By harnessing our community's ideas and commitment, Chicago can become a model city for civic engagement."