Northwestern's Medill School Of Journalism Awarded $1 Million By McCormick Foundation To Improve Local News

Northwestern campus
Photo credit (Getty Images)

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago news is getting a needed financial boost.

Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications has been awarded $1 million by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation for a new program to help bolster local news.

Northwestern said that with McCormick’s support, Medill will launch the "Metro Media Lab," a comprehensive series of initiatives aimed at improving the local news ecosystem in Chicago.

Northwestern President Morton Schapiro said the foundation has advanced the efforts of the Medill School, the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering, the Kellogg School of Management and Northwestern Memorial Hospital in the past.

"The Metro Media Lab at Medill will now play a crucial role in revitalizing local and community-based journalism," Schapiro said in a statement.

i start teaching a 5-week class next week for incoming @MedillSchool grad students. it's called understanding chicago for journalists. the three books they'll read are boss, the south side and @kevincoval's latest poetry book 'everything must go.'

— Natalie Y Moore (@natalieymoore) June 20, 2020

Northwestern said the lab is designed to help local news organizations better engage with citizens; provide quality, solutions-oriented journalism; and strengthen the sustainability of local news organizations through research, training and student-produced storytelling in partnerships with Chicago outlets.

“By pairing our research, our faculty and our students with journalists and future journalists, we can make a difference in helping people understand the importance of local news and establishing successful news organizations to provide this essential service,” said Medill Dean Charles Whitaker in a statement.

Two years ago, the school launched the Medill Local News Initiative, a research and development project designed to improve audience engagement and strengthen business models. To date, Medill researchers have partnered with major media companies to analyze more than 13 terabytes of local digital reader behaviors across nearly 20 U.S. markets. That work was recently awarded a Google Innovation Challenge grant, and it has been featured at major media conferences across North America.

The Local News Initiative is supported with more than $1.3 million in gifts and grants, including support from the McCormick Foundation.