Medill to address newspaper readership with grant

Marc Zarefsky

Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism recently received more than $1.2 million in journalism grants from the McCormick Tribune Foundation, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

“The McCormick Tribune Foundation’s journalism program is determined to support a robust future for the news media,” said Vivian Vahlberg, director of the foundation’s journalism program.

“Through these grants, we hope to ensure that the news media reflects the diversity of our country and remains knowledgeable about national security issues,” she said.

Of the $1.2 million, more than $1 million were awarded to the Media Management Center, primarily for programs aimed to address declining newspaper readership.

The remainder of the money was designated for the McCormick Tribune Fellows Brain Trust, “a program that taps the insights and recommendations of executives of color in the news business,” according to the foundation’s June 15 press release.

The press release also explained that more than $100,000, the remainder of the $1.2 million grant, was allocated to Medill “for courses to deepen the expertise of the news media in covering national security issues.”

Established as a charitable trust after the death of Col. Robert R. McCormick, longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, the foundation has grown to become one of the nation’s largest charitable organizations.

Over the past 50 years, the foundation has awarded about $32 million to NU, including more than $14 million toward the development of the McCormick Tribune Center. The foundation was the leading donor for that project.

At the same time the Medill grant was announced, the foundation donated more than $7 million to organizations throughout the country as part of their communities program. Examples of these groups are the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida, Los Angeles’ I Have a Dream Foundation, and Chicago’s Misericordia Home/Heart of Mercy Center.

The grant issued to Medill was part of more than $2.6 million issued by the foundation for local, national and international grants.

The foundation’s journalism program, along with being committed to Medill, aims to enhance leadership, freedom of expression and diversity within the journalism profession, as well as strengthening U.S. military-media relations, the foundation’s Web site states.

Reach Marc Zarefsky at [email protected].