McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneurs Program


J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism and the McCormick Foundation are seeking to fund four women-led projects that will rock the world of journalism.

The foundation will fund individuals who have original ideas to create new Web sites, mobile news services or other entrepreneurial initiatives that offer interactive opportunities to engage, inspire and improve news and information in a geographic community or a community of interest.

What is your juicy idea? What’s been stirring in your mind? What work do you feel compelled to do? How can you improve or redefine journalism? What new project would give people the information they need to make decisions or help make the world a better place? Whose voice isn’t being heard?

The McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneurs program will give one-time funding of $12,000 to women who have the vision, skills and experience to launch a new venture. These can be solo ideas or team projects spearheaded by women.


Funding is available for start-ups only.

  1. Projects must launch (at least a live beta) within 10 months.
  2. Projects must have a plan for continuing after initial funding has ended.
  3. Projects must have journalistic value.
  4. Projects may be independent or housed within traditional media.
  5. Personal blogs or one-time documentaries will not be funded.
  6. Awardees will receive funding through a subcontract if they are an individual or affiliated with a business; and through a grant if they are affiliated with a non-profit institution.

Strong applicants would:

  1. Provide information to help people live their lives or make informed civic choices.
  2. Adhere to principles of accuracy, truth and fairness.
  3. Advance women in the news industry.
  4. Show promise of being replicable or scalable.

Recipients must agree to post brief weekly blog updates to the Web site sharing their process and experience during the development stage. Recipients agree to participate and share lessons learned at a conference of new media women entrepreneurs in Spring 2011.

NOTE: Funding may not be used to cover indirect or overhead costs. Fiscal sponsors may not take a percentage of New Media Women funding.

Why women?

Connection. Women are natural networkers. They know how to initiate and maintain relationships. This is the essence of the digital world.

Conversation. Women are listeners. And talkers. They ask the tough questions. This is the starting point for good journalism.

Creativity. Women give birth to new people and new ideas. They are resourceful and make things happen.

Change. Women are on the move. They adapt to new realities, seize opportunities and take risks to improve themselves and society.