The [Thursday] Papers
By Steve Rhodes
Terrific news today for the Beachwood and other similar projects around town. We would like to express our gratitude to the Chicago Community Trust. From the CCT:
The Chicago Community Trust Announces Community News Matters Award Recipients
Innovative program to spur the growth of new sources of high quality local news and information about the Chicago region selects 12 award winners
November 5, 2009, Chicago - The Chicago Community Trust, our region's community foundation, today announced 12 recipients of $500,000 in awards under an innovative new program, Community News Matters, to spur the growth of new sources of quality local news and information about the Chicago region.
The award winners were selected from among 86 requests, totaling $5.7 million.
"The response to this program demonstrates without a doubt that the Chicago region is loaded with talented people and smart organizations determined to find new ways to serve the public's information needs in these times of enormous change in the media landscape," said Terry Mazany, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Trust. "The Chicago area has become a real laboratory for development of the future for community news and information."
Mazany noted that given changes in traditional media, there is a growing need for the philanthropic sector to help develop new and different ways to provide communities the information they need. As a result, the Trust has begun expanding its support of news and information projects.
"These award recipients are outstanding examples of the rich mix of imaginative solutions and different types of innovators at work in our region," he said.
The Community News Matters program was spurred by a lead grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight Community Information Challenge and is jointly funded by The Chicago Community Trust, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. It seeks to increase the flow of truthful, accurate and insightful news and information in the region and spur development of new business models for news.
The Knight Community Information Challenge is a five-year, $24 million effort to help community and place-based foundations find creative ways to use new media and technology to keep residents informed and engaged. The Trust received one of the Challenge's first matching grants.
"Projects like these have the power to engage communities around pressing issues and spark the conversations and actions that move communities forward," said Trabian Shorters, Knight Foundation's vice president for communities.
The following are the 2009 Community News Matters award recipients:
Projects designed to improve the flow of information in high-need communities
Columbia College Chicago
Gapers Block Media, LLC
Loyola University Chicago (School of Communication)
South Suburban Publishing LLC
Projects designed to strengthen information sharing, learning and unique perspectives by and for specific groups
Chicago Association of Hispanic Journalists
Chicago Youth Voices Network
Community Media Workshop
2. $30,000 to launch (in collaboration with Northwestern University Medill School professor Jack Doppelt) a reporting, story sharing and translation service for ethnic media and their audiences, building on CMW's ethnic media work and Medill's "Immigrant Connect Chicago" program
Projects designed to create and build new business models
Chicago News Cooperative
Northwestern University (Medill School)
Project designed to support investigative journalism and civic engagement
Better Government Association
Projects designed to improve technology platforms and aggregation of news and information
Beachwood Media Company
The proposals were screened by a diverse group of Trust program staff and consultants with extensive community and media experience. Then an expert advisory board reviewed the proposals and made recommendations to the Trust's Executive Committee, which made the final selection. Advisory board members from institutions seeking funding were not allowed to vote on their organization's proposal.
The Trust received requests for more than ten times the funds available from a broad group of applicants - from community organizations and individual entrepreneurs to traditional, ethnic, nonprofit and new media ventures; youth programs; universities and colleges; and public broadcasting outlets.
"This shows just how much need and opportunity there is to support all the very promising innovation going on in Chicago right now," said Ngoan Le, vice president of programs, who commissioned The New News: Journalism We Want and Need, a study assessing the state of Internet-based news in Chicago.
To support this growing community of innovators, the Trust will offer educational, information-sharing and networking sessions throughout the coming year for all interested Chicago-area media innovators, including all Community News Matters applicants.
The New News report found that while the Chicago area is full of media experiments, the many online news sites, blogs or e-newsletters serving the Chicago area have not yet filled the gap created by a decrease in the amount of local news coverage by traditional media. It found that nonprofit leaders are concerned about the lack of quality news coverage on local issues. Not only have the leaders interviewed seen a decrease in reporting on issues they care about, they worry that less of the information they see is vetted, edited and fact checked; that it's getting harder to get a balanced diet of news and a sense of shared community; and that it has gotten harder to determine what's important amidst a deluge of information.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
About The Chicago Community Trust
The Trust has a longstanding commitment to community information with its support, for 19 years, of Chicago Matters, a multimedia public affairs series featuring the work of WTTW 11, Chicago Public Radio, the Chicago Public Library and The Chicago Reporter, a publication of the Community Renewal Society.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Operators standing by.
Posted on November 5, 2009
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