Home > J-Lab Announces Three Awards for New Media Women Entrepreneurs
July 15, 2009
For immediate release
For more information, contact:
Jan Schaffer 202-885-8100
Washington, D.C. - Three entrepreneurial news ideas - including franchises for community news sites, a food policy and strategies start-up, and a health Web site for women ages 18 to 27 - each won a $10,000 award to launch their projects in a robust competition that showcased keen energy and ideas for the future of news.
The award winners were selected from a whopping 435 proposals received in the second year of the McCormick Foundation New Media Women Entrepreneurs initiative. The number of proposals increased 129 percent from last year’s total of 190.
“There was an incredibly competitive field of creative ideas to address specific issues proposed by women who have a great deal of optimism about the future of news and information,” said Jan Schaffer, director of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, which administers the program. J-Lab is a center of American University’s School of Communication in Washington, D.C.
The Chicago-based McCormick Foundation funds the New Media Women Entrepreneurs initiative. “We are elated about the number and quality of the proposals,” said Clark Bell, the foundation’s journalism program director. “This initiative showcases the energy, creativity and innovation of media entrepreneurs. These women are not waiting for the next big thing. They are determined to create it.”
Each project will receive $10,000 to launch within a year and project leaders will blog about their experience at www.newmediawomen.org. Three runners-up were also announced. The winners are:
“It’s encouraging to see all the outpouring of talent and interest,” said Advisory Board member Vivian Vahlberg. “There is a lot of pent-up creativity this [awards program] has tapped.”
“Everyone wants a hand in defining what’s next,” added board member Chhayal Parikh.
The Advisory Board of judges also cited three runners up.
Winning proposals had prospects for scaling larger and had clear ideas of how to use the funds, how to update content frequently and how to market their projects, Schaffer said.
This year, the largest cluster proposals, 77, focused on new ideas for geographic communities; the second largest cluster focused on racial and ethnic issues. Proposals to cover health and environmental issues were also well represented this year. To see the topic areas and last year’s winners, go to www.newmediawomen.org.
Participating in this year’s judging were: Vivian Vahlberg, former managing director, Northwestern University’s Media Management Center; Chhayal Parikh, Web editor at the World Bank; Cynthia Miller, managing partner, Newsroom Leadership Group; Lee Becker, director of the Cox Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, University of Georgia; Maria Ivancin, assistant professor and Amy Eisman, director of writing programs, American University School of Communication; Maurine Beasley, professor emeritus, University of Maryland’s Merrill College of Journalism and author of “Taking Their Place: A Documentary History of Women and Journalism”; Amy Lee, consultant for the McCormick Foundation, and J-Lab’s Jan Schaffer.
The McCormick Foundation New Media Women Entrepreneurs (NMWE) is a unique initiative addressing opportunity and innovation, recruitment and retention for women in journalism by spotlighting their ingenuity and entrepreneurial abilities. Pilot projects will show what can be done. Coming soon is a new research report looking at women news consumers and news creators. A summit will be held this fall showcasing women’s creative ideas. To receive more information about the research and the summit e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The McCormick Foundation advances the ideals of a free, democratic society by investing in children, communities and country.
J-Lab helps journalists and citizens use digital technologies to develop new ways for people to participate in public life with projects on innovations in journalism, citizen media, interactive news stories, entrepreneurship, training and research and publications.
American University’s School of Communication is a laboratory for professional education, communication research and innovative production in the fields of journalism, film and media arts and public communication, working across media platforms and with a focus on public affairs and public service.
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