McCormick Foundation gives $1m grant to Medill for local journalism
The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications received a $1 million grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation to support local news.
The money will be used to:
- Launch the Metro Media Lab, an organization that will examine how to better create and deliver local news. The lab will also train local journalists starting new media outlets.
- Encourage students in Chicago Public Schools to become journalists.
“Local news has been on a downward spiral for over a decade,” Medill Dean Charles Whitaker said. “News outlets are popping up to fill this void but they need support and guidance. This grant is seed money to get us going.”
“It’s important for Medill not just to be a training ground for bright, young journalists,” Whitaker added. “We must also be of service to the industry that we are training those students for, particularly at this time when digital disruption has upended journalism and marketing.”
However, one of the obstacles the lab faces is getting the public to engage with local news that is often negative, Whitaker said. He aims to tackle this with “solutions journalism,” a style of journalism that lets journalists include possible solutions to the problems they write about, hence leaving a hopeful impact on readers.
“We have conditioned the public to believe that journalism is like air, that it should be free,” Whitaker concluded. “Part of what we want to do is engage with the public, to change their mindset about the value of journalism.”