CTLatinoNews.com Named McCormick Foundation 2013 National Award Winner


CTLatinoNews.com’s parent company Latino News Network LLC is one of four innovative news ideas from around the country to receive a highly competitive national grant from the McCormick Foundation’s New Media Women Entrepreneurs initiative (NMWE), to assist in expanding its coverage of Latinos into Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
The publisher of the nine-month old English language online news site and news service, Diane Alverio said, “Receiving this national recognition is an incredible affirmation of our work by national journalists and a prestigious foundation. Our goal has been to offer quality coverage of Latinos, a void that had to be filled and was much needed. We look forward to re-creating this same effort in our neighboring states.”
The Latino News Network was founded by Alverio and her partners Donna Elkinson Miller and Jay Sloves of Elkinson + Sloves Inc. The award winners were selected from 205 proposals received in the sixth year of the McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneurs initiative. They join 18 other awardees selected from 2,011 applicants since 2008.
“To date, 100 percent of our winners have launched and 72 percent are still going strong,” said Jan Schaffer, executive director J-Lab, which administers the program with McCormick Foundation funding, in the announcement. “These awesome women have established significant track records with their eye on niche opportunities.”
Added Lisa Williams, Placeblogger.com founder and a NMWE Advisory Board member: “NMWE’s track record in producing businesses that launch a product, attract an audience, and are still in business at the (one) year mark is far better than that of my high-tech angel network, and better than any VC I know.”
The three other awardees are:
AmericanFoodRoots.com  – A StoryCorps-meets-James Beard initiative to tell the nation’s cultural, historical and personal food stories in video, audio and text. It is the brainchild of NPR commentator and food writer Bonny Wolf, Associated Press food and cultural writer Michele Kayal, cookbook author Domenica Marchetti, and former food editor Carol Guensburg. They are close to announcing partnerships with national institutions and media to publicize expand and preserve the canon of American food stories.
•First Person Female – An e-publishing, profit-sharing platform to be developed for quality, long-form journalism, memoir and fiction by women writers. Founders are Peggy Northrop, former Reader’s Digest editor-in-chief, and best-selling author Laura Fraser.
Boxx Magazine  – A newly launched site to cover women artists who are shaping the music industry. Launching Boxx are Jordan Young of the Knight Lab at Northwestern University and Selena Fragassi, Chicago Magazine’s pop/rock critic.
“The great ideas just keep on coming,” said Clark Bell, journalism director of the Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundation. “The new winners are in very select company – 22 out of more than 2,000 applicants.  As in previous years, the judges had to make some very difficult decisions.”
Each of the four projects will receive $12,000 over the next year and an additional $2,000 upon raising a match of $2,000. A total of $56,000 will be awarded to the four.
Participating in this year’s judging were: Lisa Williams, founder and CEO, Placeblogger.com; Cory Haik, executive producer for digital news, Washington Post; Ju-Don Roberts, general manager and senior vice president, Everyday Health; Vivian Vahlberg, President, Vahlberg & Associates; Ellen Warren, senior correspondent, Chicago Tribune; Maria Ivancin, assistant professor, American University’s School of Communication; Erin Polgreen, founder, Symbolia Magazine; Jennifer Choi, journalism program officer, McCormick Foundation, and J-Lab’s Jan Schaffer.
J-Lab is a journalism catalyst for igniting news ideas that work by funding pilot projects, awarding innovations and sharing practical insights from years of working with news creators. J-Lab is a center of American University’s School of Communication, 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.