Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Announcing Why News Matters, A New Grantmaking Initiative

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Today is the formal launch of our Why News Matters initiative. We are excited and curious about response to this new request for ideas (RFI), designed to enhance news literacy in Chicago. We expect to invest about $6 million over the next three years in Why News Matters grants. 

The initiative will build on the strong student and teacher training programs at the core of McCormick Foundation's news literacy funding since 2009. We now intend to expand news literacy training in more ways and engage broader audiences throughout the Chicago area.

News literacy is the ability to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports and information sources. It enables citizens to become smarter consumers and creators of fact-based information. It helps them develop informed perspectives and the navigational skills to become effective citizens in a digitally connected society. News literacy programs also emphasize the importance of news and information, the value of reliable sources and appreciation of First Amendment freedoms.

The goal of this RFI is to significantly expand news literacy efforts throughout Chicago. We will solicit ideas and later fund a portfolio of high-impact projects.

Details about the RFI can be found on the Journalism Program section of the McCormick Foundation web site and on the Why News Matters section of the McCormick Media Matters blog.

Apply online through our online grant application system. Note: If you are a new user of the system, you'll need to enter your e-mail address and create a password. If  you already are registered with us, you can use your existing McCormick Grant Request log in and password. (Current grantees: This is the same log in and password you used to complete your year-end grant reports). 

We also have included a list of 20 Frequently Asked Questions about the RFI. In addition, we will conduct one webinar and two in-person informational sessions for those interested in learning more about this new initiative. You must register to attend these informational sessions.

Depending on the yield of the RFI harvest (remember the April 2 deadline), we expect to invest about $2 million in 2013 in Why News Matters projects. In addition, we anticipate investing another $4 million in the following two years.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Clark Bell
Journalism Program Director

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