MacArthur grant supports reporting, audience engagement at Chicago Public Media

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Chicago Public Media has received a $650,000 grant as part of a larger initiative to “strengthen inclusive journalism,” the MacArthur Foundation announced Thursday.

The grant is part of the foundation’s Jack Fuller Legacy Initiative, which seeks to “strengthen journalism and media in Chicago by investing in the production and dissemination of accurate, just, and inclusive news and narratives,” according to a press release.

The release said CPM will use the grant to expand its reporting, audience engagement and “collaboration between WBEZ and Vocalo Radio,” its station that airs hip-hop, R&B, dance and indie rock.

CEO Goli Sheikholeslami said last year that the station planned to hire 22 new reporters, editors and producers by 2020.

CPM is one of four organizations receiving funds. MacArthur gave $1 million to City Bureau, a nonprofit journalism lab that aims to bring journalists and community members together to promote civic participation. The grant will support City Bureau’s general operations.

Free Spirit Media, a journalism program for teens on Chicago’s South and West sides, received $650,000.

And the Field Foundation received $100,000 to develop a grantmaking program to support community journalism, with a focus on supporting organizations run by people of color.

“All around the edges of Chicago’s journalism and media landscape, we see tremendous creativity and a sense of urgency around how news and narratives need to better represent a wider array of perspectives and voices,” said Kathy Im, MacArthur’s director of journalism and media. “Our goal is to connect the dots among these activities and between established and younger media organizations to create a fuller, more connected media ecosystem in Chicago.”

Over the next 18 months, the foundation will also hold a series of meetings to encourage collaboration and professional development for reporters and newsroom leaders in Chicago.

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