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McCormick Foundation Awards $20,000 Grant to The Red Line Project and Data/Chicago Initiative

Data Visualization Training, Projects to be Yearlong Program’s Focus


Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The McCormick Foundation Journalism Program has awarded a $20,000 grant to The Red Line Project and its Data/Chicago initiative to provide training and produce data visualization projects with DePaul University journalism students, Chicago media outlets and civic hackers.

The yearlong project, which begins in Fall 2014, will provide in-person training in basic data visualization tools, public records research, and development for web and mobile platforms. Journalism students in DePaul’s College of Communication will team with media outlets to build data visualizations and stories on issues in Chicago neighborhoods.

“This is the type of innovation that must take place in journalism education,” said Clark Bell, Director of the Journalism Program at the McCormick Foundation. “It combines the expertise of DePaul faculty, the knowledge of students and assets of community media to tell the story of neighborhoods in Chicago. This is public service journalism at its best.”

McCormick Foundation Logo

The projects will be featured on The Red Line Project, its microsites such as Data/Chicago and The Chicago Stumbler, as well as any partner mainstream media outlets. The Red Line Project, founded in 2011 by DePaul instructor Mike Reilley and his students, covers news and urban issues in neighborhoods located near Chicago’s Red Line El stops.

“We’ve done projects like this in the past on a smaller scale,” said Reilley, who developed the grant proposal. “Last year, we teamed with NBC 5 Investigates on a two-part series examining costs of Chicago’s crumbling sidewalks.

“This grant gives us the opportunity to weave more training for our students as well as mid-career professionals looking to expand into data, mobile and online journalism. Data analysis and visualization skills are among the most sought-after in the industry right now.”

Reilley said the College of Communication’s classrooms in the South Loop provides an ideal place to bring media, civic hackers and students together. Students regularly use the Red Line to move between the South Loop and Lincoln Park campuses, and the downtown location is just blocks away from civic hubs such as 1871 and many media outlets.

“One of the goals our College has is to make Chicago a classroom for our students,” Reilley said. “This grant helps us do just that.”


 About the Robert R. McCormick Foundation
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 $1.5 billion in assets. For more information, please visit McCormickFoundation.org, follow us on Twitter, and “Like” us on Facebook.

About The Red Line Project
The Red Line Project covers news and urban issues in Chicago neighborhoods near Red Line El stops. Staffed by DePaul University College of Communication journalism students, the site has won more than 40 national, regional and local awards since it was launched in January 2011. Read more about the site at RedLineProject.org.

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