billboard image Initiative to Strengthen Inclusive Journalism in Chicago, Honor Jack Fuller

MacArthur today announced the launch of the Jack Fuller Legacy Initiative, which aims to strengthen journalism and media in Chicago by investing in the production and dissemination of accurate, just, and inclusive news and narratives. An initial $2.4 million in grants will support four local organizations.

The initiative is named after the late Jack Fuller, former Editor and Publisher of The Chicago Tribune and MacArthur Trustee. The values and priorities of the Initiative are rooted in Fuller’s strong belief that good journalism and civic engagement are inextricably linked, and his enthusiasm for new ideas and institutions made possible by both new technologies and the imagination of a generation of young people growing up in a digital world.

“The Jack Fuller Legacy Initiative will support local journalism organizations that live the values Jack held dear: accuracy, justice, and inclusion,” said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. “The initiative is not just about good reporting, but about creating and disseminating news and narratives that support honest public discourse and meaningful civic engagement.”

The Initiative has several aims:

  • to support and strengthen news- and media-making organizations that represent and reflect the views and lived experiences of Chicago’s diverse communities;
  • to provide professional development and leadership opportunities for a diverse set of reporters, editors, and media-makers; and
  • to facilitate collaborations that add value and develop competencies inside the participating organizations and bring more nuanced and thorough coverage to their audiences.



“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.”

An initial $2.4 million in grants will go to four organizations to launch this multi-year initiative:

  • City Bureau – $1 million to support general operations for the nonprofit journalism lab that brings journalists and community members together in collaborative environments to promote responsible media coverage, increase civic engagement, and hold powerful forces to account.
  • Free Spirit Media – $650,000 to expand its young adult journalism program, The Real Chi, an experimental “learning newsroom” for teens and young adults in communities of color on Chicago’s West and South sides to produce high-quality, solutions-oriented, community journalism.
  • Chicago Public Media - $650,000 for expanded reporting, audience engagement, and collaboration between WBEZ and Vocalo Radio, the organization's alternative  platform, to amplify the stories of Chicago's diverse, multiracial communities.
  • Field Foundation – $100,000 to design a new grantmaking program, which will be funded by MacArthur and implemented by the Field Foundation, to support community-based journalism and media organizations in Chicago with a focus on organizations led by people of color.

In addition to these grants, MacArthur, in partnership with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, where Jack Fuller also served as a Trustee, will host a series of convenings over the next 18 months to encourage greater collaboration, peer learning, and professional development for newsroom leaders, reporters, and mediamakers in Chicago. The convenings will also address and seek solutions for the ongoing challenges facing Chicago’s journalism and media institutions in serving the diverse communities of Chicago. The Democracy Fund, Public Narrative, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University will also collaborate on these events.

MacArthur’s Journalism and Media Program works to strengthen American democracy by informing, engaging, and activating Americans through deep investments in independent journalism and media. In addition to support for nonfiction multimedia storytelling, the program also funds professional nonprofit reporting on critical and under-reported areas disseminated in imaginative ways, as well as participatory civic media that enables individuals and groups to express and organize themselves for social change.

Learn more about Jack Fuller.