Sunday, February 28, 2010

Director's Notes: Changing News

Sunday, February 28, 2010

  • Best of the Lot. J-Lab Executive Director Jan Schaffer says that most successful citizen journalism projects "have developed a reputation for being not just good community news outlets, but also good community stewards." Schaffer, who manages the McCormick Foundation New Media Women Entrepreneurs awards competition, was in Los Angeles recently to address the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. "As I look at how the media ecosystem is evolving in communities large and small across the United States, I am more optimistic than pessimistic that citizens will get their information needs met. I also think that traditional journalists will play a smaller---albeit still important---role as the gatherers and disseminators of news." Schaffer lauded "the growing appetite" by philanthropic foundations for supporting community information needs. "Foundations once worried about funding projects that might compete with fragile news organizations. In the last two years, however, they have become so alarmed at the diminishing news coming from downsized local news outlets that they are seeking ways to intervene."
  • New Newsroom. AOL is building a newsroom of the future, according to Business Week. The AOL software model determines audience interest in particular stories and then gives journalists detailed data on the level of readership traffic and advertising revenue the articles generate. More than 500 full-time journalists now work for AOL. Business Week says 150 of them were added last year.
  • Blog folds. Connecticut Local Politics, a well regarded citizen blog site, has folded its tent. The New York Times speculates that the the political news and views publication died because "it became too much for the creator to handle and because it got sued twice---something a corporation can battle but few individuals can."
  • Quote of the Week. "I fear three newspapers more than a hundred thousand bayonets." -Napolean

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Training for the Expanding Ethnic Media Newsroom

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Want to learn more about how to work in an ethnic media newsroom? Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) is hosting a series of training workshops for ethnic media newsrooms in April. These Ethnic Media Watchdog Workshops will help journalists “sharpen their skills, learn new approaches and add depth to their reporting.” Award-winning journalists from around the country volunteer their time to provide training on topics such as the 2010 census, criminal justice, the economy, education, health care, immigration and local government. Hands-on spreadsheet software training also will be offered.

Upcoming Ethnic Media Watchdog Workshops:
April 9-10, 2010 in Los Angeles, Calif.
April 10-11, 2010 in Chicago, Ill.
April 16-17, 2010 in New York, N.Y.

For more information about the workshops and registration, click here.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Director's Notes: Ups and Downs of Journalism

Monday, February 22, 2010

  • Let News Be News. Jeff Jarvis, a digital media guru and MF grantee, believes Google News has taken "editors to school on content presentation in our new world." The BuzzMachine blogger says Google's open-sourced Living Stories is outmoded as the building block of news. The new order of journalism, Jarvis says, needs to reflect the transition from a product to a process. "It needs to gather updates and corrections on a story. It needs to put that story in context and history. It needs to link to other versions of the story from other stories."
  • Where is the hope? Where is the transparency? The White House continues to show that President Obama's chest-thumping rhetoric about transparency in government is about as hollow as his vow to throttle the explosion in legislative earmarks. The latest swipe at the press involved the President's recent private meeting with the Dalai Lama. As Poynter Institute ethicist Kelly McBride noted, it's hard for the Obama administration to square its pledges of openness with the efforts to control coverage of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader. "Government controlled coverage is not acceptable in societies that promote freedom," said Associate Press Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll. "And that is why we do not distribute government handouts of events that we believe should be open to the press and therefore to the public at large."
  • ICFJ Award Opportunity. The International Center for Journalists, a MF grantee, is seeking nominations of professional or citizen journalists whose reporting has made a significant difference. The deadline for Knight International Journalism Fellowships nominations is April 2. The fellowships aim to produce tangible changes that improve the quality and free flow of news in the public interest around the world. Winners will be honored at ICFJ's Nov. 9 awards dinner.
  • Quote of the Week: "Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters' gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all." -Thomas Carlyle

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Challenge Fund for Journalism Awards 13 New Grants

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NEW YORK – The Challenge Fund for Journalism (CFJ), a consortium of the Ford, McCormick, and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundations, today announced that 13 nonprofit journalism organizations working in youth media, ethnic media, and investigative reporting will receive $875,819 in grants.  The winners, listed below, are a broad mix of organizations from across the United States active in local and national news and information projects.

Piloted in 2004, CFJ was introduced amid extraordinary and difficult changes in the news media profession.  Not only have journalism organizations seen a significant decline in financial support from corporate and philanthropic sources, but also a severe contraction in the industry as a whole.  The current economic crisis has only exacerbated these difficulties, demonstrating more than ever the need to build the capacity of organizations to expand and diversify their financial base of support.

The Challenge Fund initiative addresses this need by providing a combination of grants and customized coaching, technical assistance, and peer networking opportunities to ensure that journalism groups have the leadership, infrastructure, and financial resources needed to increase their adaptability and promote long-term sustainability.  Grantees are chosen through a competitive process that utilizes criteria such as readiness for capacity building, commitment to organizational change, commitment to revenue diversification, and potential impact of CFJ on organizational development and sustainability.

In the first five cycles of the program, a total of 44 media organizations participated, generating almost $8 million for the field.  The current round, CFJ VI, has two groups of grantees:  Cohort 1 will receive two-year grants, complemented by technical assistance and participation in grantee networking and collaboration.  Cohort 2 will receive one-year grants only.  All of the awards are challenge grants and must be matched by the organization.  The new grantees met in New York City on January 21-22 to kick off the Challenge Fund for Journalism VI.

Cohort 1
Chicago Reporter

Columbia Journalism Review

Investigative Reporting Workshop

Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism

New York Community Media Alliance

Street-Level Youth Media$100,000

Twin Cities Media Alliance

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Youth News Service – LA Youth

Cohort 2
Asian American Journalists Association

National Association of Black Journalists

National Association of Hispanic Journalists

Native American Journalists Association

Calvin Sims, Program Officer, Media, Arts, and Culture, at the Ford Foundation noted that “The Challenge Fund for Journalism has been very successful in building essential organizational and fund development capacity among a broad range of journalism organizations.  Many of these groups are responsible for bringing diverse voices, perspectives, and stories into the media space.  CFJ not only serves to bolster the financial sustainability of these critical organizations, but also ultimately strengthens the entire journalism profession.”

“This innovative collaboration has been a rewarding experience for us,” said Clark Bell, the McCormick Foundation’s Journalism Program Director.  “As the journalism field continues to experience seismic shifts, the organizational and financial tools and resources this program provides is needed now more than ever.  By enhancing the ability of nonprofit journalism organizations to fundraise from a diverse range of sources and develop earned income strategies, CFJ VI will serve to sustain their bottom lines far into the future.”

Bob Ross, President and CEO of the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, further commented that “Participation in CFJ has proven transformational for many grantees, helping them make important organizational changes and implement innovative capacity-building and fund development strategies.  After CFJ, we have found that most organizations do not return to ‘business as usual’ but instead incorporate the new structures and frameworks learned into their organizational DNA.”

The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation ( was founded in 1982 by Edith Kinney Gaylord to support local and national efforts to improve the quality of journalism practices among various media. The Foundation provides funding for projects that promote excellence and instill high ethical standards in journalism.

The Ford Foundation ( is an independent, nonprofit grantmaking organization.  For more than half a century it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

The McCormick Foundation ( is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening our free, democratic society by investing in children, communities and country. Through its grantmaking programs, Cantigny Park and Golf, museums, and civic outreach program the Foundation helps build a more active and engaged citizenry. It 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 New York office of TCC Group (, a 30 year-old management consulting firm that works with funders and nonprofit organizations, manages The Challenge Fund for Journalism and provides technical assistance to the grantees.

Contact:  Alice Hill, TCC Group, 212-949-3186

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Director's Notes: Journalism Growth

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

  • Rally 'Round Liberty.' The AEJMC Law and Policy Division's Media Law Notes has a nice story on the Liberty Tree Initiative First Amendment festivals. The McCormick Foundation-funded program assists colleges and universities in organizing First Amendment on-campus events. The Liberty Tree initiative is an advocacy partnership founded by McCormick, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Knight Foundation and Vanderbilt University's First Amendment Center. The $100,000 grant was designed to build awareness by bringing thought-provoking First Amendment programs and speakers to campuses nationwide. Among the schools selected were UNC-Chapel Hill, Yale, Berry College, Winthrop University, Eastern Kentucky University, Elon, Lehigh and Cal State Fullerton. Sandra Chance of the University of Florida coordinates the Liberty Tree campus program, which builds on the tradition of constructive conversations about freedom by America's earliest patriots under an elm tree near the Boston Common in 1665.
  • Journalism Fellowships Adapt. MediaShift reports that economic and digital challenges are forcing changes in journalism fellowship programs. McCormick and other foundations sponsor nearly 40 of these golden opportunities for young and mid-career journalists to hone their skills. However, the current tumult in the industry has caused editors and publishers to ask whether it's worth losing reporters, even on a temporary basis, to fellowships. Fellowship program directors have responded by adding creative features and reaching out to independent journalists.
  • News Literacy Projects Expands in Chicago. The McCormick-funded News Literacy Project has completed its pilot program in Chicago and expanded into two additional middle schools. All three schools are working with LISC-Chicago, the News Literacy Project's local partner. The Chicago Tribune Foundation also provides financial support.

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First Amendment Revival: Update on McCormick’s Liberty Tree Initiative

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In the past year, we've seen a number of cases where student journalists face prior restraint and censorship. For example, at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois, student editors chose to resign rather than be censored, when administration pulled a controversial story. In light of these cases, it's apparent that First Amendment education is becoming an even more necessary part of a journalist’s training.

Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina, carried out a series of events as part of the Liberty Tree Initiative this past fall. Both students and faculty gave an interdisciplinary effort to “bring awareness to the campus and local community about the five freedoms embedded within the First Amendment,” as mentioned in AEJMC’s Media Law Notes newsletter.

Winthrop University held several presentations, panels and discussions that focused on sharing the history of the First Amendment and how to responsibly exercise those rights today. One of the discussions was about the “particular challenges facing newspapers in light of digital technology, such as the Internet and social media… [encouraging] students to use these tools to exercise and preserve their range of First Amendment rights.”

To learn more about how you can bring the Liberty Tree Initiative to your campus, click here.

Join the Liberty Tree Initiative’s Facebook group to learn more about conferences held.

The Liberty Tree Initiative is a program that gives select schools $5,000 to build awareness of the First Amendment through education and information. It was founded in partnership with the McCormick Foundation, American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Knight Foundation, and the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Student Journalism Programs Receive Funding From Dow Jones

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dow Jones Newspaper Fund gave $459,000 in grants for high school and college students and high school journalism teachers to support:
  • Multimedia training programs for professors;
  • Operation of six Centers for Editing Excellence and a business reporting training center for college students; 75 internships to college students for news; multimedia, sports editing and business reporting training;
  • Free circulation of Adviser Update to high school journalism teachers and reprinting other journalism teaching guides;
  • The National High School Journalism Teacher of the Year scholarships that award both the best journalism teachers and students; and
  • Summer High School Journalism Workshops and Workshops Writing and Photography Competitions

About the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, Inc.
The Dow Jones Newspaper Fund is a nonprofit organization supported by the Dow Jones Foundation, Dow Jones and Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and other media companies. Its mission is to encourage high school and college students to pursue journalism careers by sponsoring workshops and providing internships.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Students, Administrators Discuss Free and Responsible Student News Media

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Student journalists and administrators stepped up the plate at the Protocol for Free and Responsible Student News Media conference held by the McCormick Freedom Project and the Illinois Press Foundation early this week at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois.

The goal of the conference was to craft a protocol addressing the tensions inherent to scholastic journalism. Participants had discussions about the role of the First Amendment in student journalism, especially how both students and administrators can collaborate without compromising journalistic or pedagogical values. Approximately 50 student journalists, advisors, educators, school board members and journalism organization leaders were in attendance.

The need for the protocol was highlighted by student journalist Pam Selman, former editor, and Evan Ribot, former managing editor, of the Statesman student newspaper of Stevenson High School. They described how the school administrators forced them to censor articles that put the school in a negative light, compromising their journalistic rights. The Stevenson editors' resignation is a prime example of how students are being forced to give up their First Amendment rights as journalists because the administration doesn't approve of the stories they wanted to publish, no matter how newsworthy.

Participants also documented the conference on Twitter (using #studentnewsmedia). Check out a sampling of the vibrant conversation and be sure to check back throughout the year for follow-up discussions as the McCormick Freedom Project crafts the final protocol report.

  1. MIPA
    MIPAMSU Prior review is totally un-American, says David Cuillier, SPJ FOIA chair. #studentnewsmedia

  2. Candace PerkinsBowen
    candacepb Biggest slap in a student jlsts' face is to be considered "just" a student journalist. Admins need to be honest and open. #studentnewsmedia

  3. SPLC_org
    SPLC_org Thanks, McCormick Foundation (and some amazing students) for an inspiring 2 days at #studentnewsmedia conference; now comes the hard part.

  4. Jamie Loo
    jloo_mfp thanks to all the fantastic conference participants in Wheaton this week!Let's keep the discussion and links going at #studentnewsmedia

  1. Josh Moore
    joshrmoore Student journalists repeatedly say prior review is biggest hurdle to good #studentnewsmedia

  2. McCormick Journalism
    McCormickJrnlsm Discussing the legal aspect of censorship in #studentnewsmedia cases. What constitutes arbitrary censorship? Is it legal?
-- this quote was brought to you by quoteurl

Keep the discussion going at the Five Freedoms Project's Ning network.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

McCormick Journalism Calendar of Events

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Check out the Journalism Program's calendar of events for activities and programs that may be of interest to you.

If you have events to suggest or add to the calendar, please send us an email with your information and we will post it as soon as possible.

We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event!

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ICFJ Releases Two Guides on Coverage of Disaster

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Just weeks after a 7.0 earthquake rocked the island nation of Haiti, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) has produced two guides to help reporters better cover disaster and deal with traumatic situations. Please share these guides with colleagues. They come in both English and Spanish.

Some features:
  • Practical guidelines for delivering news responsibly while staying safe;
  • Tips for creating a disaster preparedness plan for your newsroom;
  • Ethical suggestions for journalists working with grief-stricken survivors;
  • Tips for journalists dealing with post-traumatic stress; and
  • Links to other online resources for journalists.

These two guides, sponsored by McCormick, build on ICFJ’s crisis reporting program for U.S. Hispanic and Latin American journalists. To view them, see links below:

“Disaster and Crisis Coverage”

“Journalism and Trauma”

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Director's Notes: Government help?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

  • Bailing Out. Government has always subsidized the press in this country. A Columbia Journalism Review editorial reminds us that the process started with 1792 legislation that established below-cost mail rates for newspapers. With the near collapse of the traditional advertising-supported media model, an increasing number of news producers now are looking for an Uncle Whisers-funded stimulus plan they can call their own. The fires were stoked after President Obama's recent offhand remark that he would be "happy to look" at congressional proposals to boost the fortunes of ailing publishers. CJR concluded that "if we don't get beyond the rational but outdated fear of government help for accountability journalism---if we just let the market sort it out---this vital public good will continue to decline.
  • Necessary? David Westphal and Geoffrey Cowan of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism take a pragmatic and innovative look at public subsidies for news organizations, as reported in the CBC article "Government cash for the US media business? It's already there but shrinking fast." Their recent paper on government assistance for the news media poses perhaps the key question in the debate: Is a new form of government intervention prudent and necessary to ensure that Americans have access to the kind of information they need in a democracy?

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Join the Discussion: Protocol for Free & Responsible Student News Media

Friday, February 05, 2010

On February 8-9, 2010, the McCormick Freedom Project and the Illinois Press Foundation will convene a group of crucial stakeholders from across the state and country with the goal of creating a protocol that will serve as a national model for scholastic journalism. The conference will bring together more than 50 representatives from local and national organizations specializing in the First Amendment, scholastic journalism, and school governance, including students, teachers and principals, who are the first to encounter these often tense situations inherent to scholastic journalism, along with superintendents, school board members, and other affected parties.

The Freedom Project hopes that you will join in the discussion through the Twitter hash tag #studentnewsmedia and through the Ning group on the Five Freedoms Network.

Freedom Project and Journalism Program staff will be tweeting and posting some questions this week to get the discussion going and will live tweet periodically from the conference. Some of the discussion posts and tweets may become part of the final conference report.

Look for Journalism Program staff who will be moderating discussions. Director Clark Bell will give remarks at Monday's dinner.

Thanks and we hope to hear from you on the Web or see you there!

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"NUF Said" Youth Polling & Reporting Project Begins

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Chicago Youth Voices Network (CYVN) kicked off its first collaborative project this past weekend at Columbia College. Some 40 Chicago-area youth representing Beyondmedia Education, Community TV Network, Columbia Links, Free Spirit Media, North Lawndale Community News, Open Youth Networks, Radio Arte, Street-Level Youth Media, True Star Foundation, Young Chicago Authors and We the People Media attended the two-day social media training workshop and project orientation event. CYVN's project, the Youth 2.0 Recovery Reporting Project, later was renamed NUF Said (Network, Unity, Future) by Beyondmedia Education youth leader Crystal Jackson, who won a Flip video camera  for coming up with the creative title.

      On day one, youth engaged in brainstorming sessions with local issue experts. Together, they developed polling questions on crime, housing, environment/health, education and employment, that will later be used to gather data reflecting the real-life experiences of Chicago youth during the economic recovery. On day two of the training, youth participants learned new social media skills, such as how to engage their friends and classmates in a survey, the online polling application that will be used to poll Chicago youth.  The event also included speakers Natalie Moore of WBEZ, Alex Moffett-Bateau of the University of Chicago’s Black Youth Project and Jacob Colker, Co-Founder and CEO of The Extraordinaries.

      Congratulations to CYVN on a great start and kudos to Tom Bailey, NUF Said project coordinator, and Mindy Faber, CYVN project coordinator, for their hard work in the past months. Stay tuned for news about the first wave of polling and resulting reports, articles and online media projects for analysis of the results.

There are many ways to follow the progress of NUF Said over the next year:
  • See NUF Said’s photos on Flickr.

About CYVN
The Chicago Youth Voices Network is a collaborative of youth media programs, professionals and organizations working together to strengthen the youth media sector in Chicago. By gathering leaders together for peer learning, advocacy and joint projects, the Chicago Youth Voices Network works to strengthen the organizations that amplify the voices of our city’s young people, their families and communities. Founding members of CYVN were all McCormick Foundation Journalism program grantees.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Director's Notes: Defending Press Freedoms in a New Media Environment

Monday, February 01, 2010

  • First Amendment defense. "The First Amendment is a wonderful and powerful thing," Associated Press president Tom Curley said in a recent speech to the Kentucky Press Association, "but it doesn't enforce itself. Perhaps the reluctance of journalists to fight openly for laws that better reflect the spirit and intent of the First Amendment was partly responsible in the years following 9-11 for easing the way for new laws that allowed government to put more and more of its activities behind closed doors." Curley also noted a topic that concerns the McCormick Foundation Journalism Program. With the severe cutbacks in news organizations, there are fewer resources to defend freedom of the press. "Whoever the angels of the First Amendment are destined to be in the Digital Age, they aren't likely to be showing up in significant force for a while."
  • The Public Sector. The Northwest Herald scolds Illinois politicians for messing with the state's new Freedom of Information Act. The General Assembly's passage of a bill that exempts teacher, principal and superintendent evaluations from public scrutiny is a slap for anyone interested in open government. The teachers' union-friendly bill was quickly signed by Gov. Pat Quinn barely two weeks after the new FOIA became law.
  • Boom in New Media Research Tools. An overwhelming majority of reporters and editors now depend on social media for their research, according to a study released by George Washington University's Program in Strategic Public Relations. Nearly 90 percent of the journalists surveyed use blogs for story research, according to a report in the Columbia Journalism Review. About two-thirds of the journalists used social media sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. About half use microblogging services like Twitter. The biggest surprise was that only 61 percent admit to using Wikipedia.

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