The Chicago Community Trust has announced the next step in the evolution of its Community Information Challenge project. Matching the $250,000 in funding it received from Knight, the CCT will distribute $500,000 to 12 local organizations to transform the news and information landscape in the Chicago region.
According to the official release, the grants fall into five broad categories:
- Projects designed to improve the flow of information in high-need communities: This includes $45,000 to sponsor a student journalism collaboration between Columbia College and the Chicago Tribune, $35,000 to expand neighborhood coverage on the local site Gapers Block, $45,000 to train high school and college journalists to provide coverage for a new Spanish-language news site,' and $35,000 in training and equipment for citizen journalists - all targeted to underserved areas.
- Projects designed to strengthen information sharing, learning and unique perspectives by and for specific groups: This includes $30,000 to boost the Chicago-area community of Latino journalists, $60,000 to engage hundreds of young journalists to report on how youth are faring in the current economic climate, and $45,000 to fund a community media workshop to support local community and ethnic media.
- Projects designed to create and build new business models: This includes $50,000 to support one of the nation's first L3C journalism co-ops and a $30,000 grant for Northwestern University grad students to help two local community news ventures develop sustainable business models.
- A project designed to support investigative journalism and civic engagement: $60,000 will go to train "reporter monitors" to cover local municipal meetings.
- Projects designed to improve technology platforms and aggregation of news and information: This includes $35,000 to help the Beachwood Reporter develop its business model and $35,000 to enable Brad Flora to improve and expand his Windy Citizen news aggregator.
'The response to this program demonstrates without a doubt that the Chicago region is loaded with talented people and smart organizations determined to find new ways to serve the public's information needs in these times of enormous change in the media landscape,' said CCT President and CEO Terry Mazany, according to the official release.' 'The Chicago area has become a real laboratory for development of the future for community news and information.'