Friday, April 1, 2011

What We Fund (and Why)

Friday, April 01, 2011

Content, Audience and Rights
The News Literacy emphasis is supported by grantmaking initiatives in Content, Audience and Rights (CAR). Staff research and board guidance agree that the current supply of quality journalists is not the problem. There are enough highly trained and experienced professional journalists, many of them under-employed or working in other professions.

Our refined strategy bolsters an informed citizenry by investing in quality news content and educating people—especially students—to better appreciate the importance of news and protecting journalistic rights. Last year, we announced our intention to fund fewer international projects, general support grants for media trade associations, new business model investments and management training projects. In 2011, our grantmaking strategy includes more Chicago investment and increased support for youth media and news literacy activities.

We recognize the competitive nature of seeking grants to fund journalism projects. In fact, we are able to invest in only a fraction of the interesting requests received each year. In 2010, for instance, we received more than 200 formal letters of inquiry requesting about $17 million in support. Furthermore, with a slightly reduced 2011 budget of $5.5 million, it’s imperative that we find efficiencies and focus on quality implementation and impact of programs.

That’s why we’re putting stronger emphasis on performance measurement in 2011-2012 and adding rigor to existing evaluation work to provide a pathway for the Journalism Program going forward. We’re also coordinating and funding more field-building collaborations and partnerships to maximize the impact of our work.

For more information on our program strategy, please visit the Journalism Program Strategy page of the McCormick Foundation website.

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