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New Funding for Women Media Entrepreneurs

For immediate release
Nov. 15, 2011
Contact: Jan Schaffer

Washington, D.C.J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at American University has been awarded $250,000 from the McCormick Foundation to fund eight innovative women-led news startups over the next two years.

Under the grant, eight winners (four in 2012 and four in 2013) will each be given an initial $12,000 to launch their ideas. The winners will receive an additional $2,000 in the second year if they match it with $2,000 from other sources.

The deadline for 2012 proposals is Jan. 27. See the proposal guidelines and apply here:

The McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneurs initiative is part of a unique effort to address issues of opportunity and innovation, recruitment and retention for women in journalism.  To date, 14 projects have been funded since the program started in 2008. See them at

Next year’s awardees will be the first group required to raise a small match. The change is designed to encourage women entrepreneurs to reach out for advertising, donations, sponsorships, events and other revenue streams that can help make their ventures sustainable, said Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab, which administers the project. The matching dollars will be awarded as soon as winners document the match.

“Sustainability is the lifeblood of innovation,” said Clark Bell, McCormick’s Journalism Program Director. “We look forward to seeing more of our women media entrepreneurs survive and thrive.”

NMWE grant funding is available for news websites, mobile news services, apps or other ideas that offer interactive opportunities to provide news and information locally, nationally or among a community of interest. These can be solo ideas or team projects spearheaded by women. Early beta versions of projects are eligible to apply.

The application fee is $25. Awardees will also be required to blog at least once a month for the website. Under the grant, women media entrepreneurs will showcase their work at a daylong summit.

The McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneurs initiative is a project of J-Lab, a center of American University’s School of Communication. J-Lab is a journalism catalyst that funds new approaches to journalism, rewards innovations, researches what works and shares practical insights with news creators and news gatherers.

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is committed to fostering communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens. Through philanthropic programs, Cantigny Park and museums, the Foundation helps develop citizen leaders and works to make life better in our communities. The Foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is one of the nation’s largest foundations, with more than $1 billion in assets. For more information, please visit


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