Login Search    

Youth Voices Initiative Encourages Promotes Development of Future Journalists

Kristin Gallagher

CHICAGO, September 28, 2006

The McCormick Tribune Foundation board of directors officially launched the Foundation’s Youth Voices initiative, which aims to strengthen high school journalism and encourage youth expression. The initiative’s 2007 projects, concentrated primarily in Chicago, will reach more than 250 teachers, thousands of high school students at nearly every public high school in Chicago, a print audience of more than 50,000 and broadcast audiences totaling more than 100,000.

"The McCormick Tribune Foundation is making a significant investment to support teen journalism in the Chicago area as a way to ensure the future of a vibrant news media," said David L. Grange, president and chief executive officer of the McCormick Tribune Foundation. "The journalism program’s support in this pivotal area reflects the foundation’s continuing commitment to our children, communities and country, and doing whatever we can to strengthen our free, democratic society."

More than $525,000 in funding will be distributed in 2007 to projects that encourage teen inquiry and engagement, promote knowledge of the First Amendment and provide practical journalism training in reporting and production. High school students will create bilingual radio broadcast news shows, broadcast documentaries on their communities and publish hundreds of articles in newspapers and magazines. The goals of the initiative are to strengthen high school journalism and nurture future journalists; encourage teen inquiry, civic engagement and expression; and increase young people’s awareness of the First Amendment.

A substantial portion of the grants will target journalism and English instructors. Columbia Links, based at Columbia College, will serve as a journalism training center and clearinghouse for Chicago Public School teachers. The Illinois First Amendment Center will provide hundreds of curriculum guides, flashcards, posters and videos to teachers statewide.

Other approved grants include:

  • Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum – for Primera Voz/First Voice, a daily youth-produced radio newscast;
  • Radio, Television & News Directors Foundation – for a summer broadcast journalism training workshop for 15 Chicago Public School teachers; and
  • Student Press Law Center – for a Publications Fellowship for a recent journalism school graduate. The initiative originally started with several pilot projects in 2005 that focused on teaching and exercising the First Amendment. The programs helped guide the Foundation as it crafted its Youth Voices strategy. Support will continue for many of these projects in 2007, which include:
  • Albany Park Theater Project - for a First Amendment rights teen theater project exploring the First Amendment from the point of view of teens and immigrants;
  • Alcorn State University Foundation - to develop a McCormick Tribune Distinguished Speakers series for journalism students;
  • Columbia College Chicago - for a study on high school journalism in the Chicago area examining the creation of a city-wide youth newspaper in the Chicago area;
  • Community Media Workshop at Columbia College - to support neighborhood bus tours for student journalists;
  • Free Spirit Media - for a First Amendment rights video project creating short documentaries and public service announcements;
  • Illinois Press Foundation - for a First Amendment awareness campaign for young people consisting of posters, curriculums, online materials and PSAs;
  • Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum - for a First Amendment Spanish-language radio project by teens;
  • Roosevelt University - for a study assessing the state of high school journalism;
  • Society for News Design Foundation, Inc., - to fund scholarships for minority journalism students to attend its 2006 national convention in Orlando, Fla.;
  • Strategic Human Services - for support of a journalism training program for at least 20 high school and elementary students in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood;
  • Street Level Youth Media - for a youth First Amendment project exploring the First Amendment in the lives of youth;
  • Strive Media Institute - to help establish a Chicago news bureau for GUMBO magazine, a national magazine produced by high school students;
  • WBEZ Alliance Inc. - for the creation of a paid public radio internship program for recent local college graduates;
  • We the People Media - for support of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program that trains high school-aged youth in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood;
  • Young Chicago Authors - for a First Amendment Youth Rights Project, a creative writing program exploring how the First Amendment affects young people’s lives, communities and future; and
  • Youth News Service LA Bureau - for a First Amendment Rights Project including surveys, special student publications and a town hall series.

The McCormick Tribune Foundation’s board of directors has awarded more than $50 million in journalism grants since 2000.

About the McCormick Tribune Foundation The McCormick Tribune Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to making life better for our children, communities and country. Through its charitable grantmaking programs, Cantigny Park and Golf, Cantigny First Division Foundation and the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum, the Foundation is able to positively impact people’s lives and stay true to its mission of advancing the ideals of a free, democratic society. The Foundation is an independent nonprofit, separate from Tribune Co., with substantial holdings in Tribune Co. For more information about the foundation and its efforts, please visit www.McCormickTribune.org.