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WTTW Receives a $250,000 Grant from The Joyce Foundation

Grant to fund enhanced coverage of the Great Lakes region by WTTW's Chicago Tonight and PBS NewsHour.

For immediate release
- June 8, 2011

WTTW, Chicago’s premier public television station, has been awarded a $250,000 one-year grant from The Joyce Foundation to fund a mutually beneficial media partnership with the national nightly series PBS NewsHour. The goals are to provide more in-depth coverage of important issues affecting the Great Lakes region; coordinate and jointly produce relevant stories for local and national audiences; bolster the newsgathering and reporting resources of WTTW’s nightly newsmagazine Chicago Tonight; and enable the media, arts, and culture arm of PBS NewsHour to continue to provide distinctive broadcast and digital reporting of the visual, performing, oral and written arts.

The partnership is intended to produce a collection of segments for the national PBS NewsHour audience focusing on significant stories from the Great Lakes region; expand local reporting of important Chicago-based stories for air on Chicago Tonight and its digital platforms; and to create national arts reports on PBS NewsHour along with related arts and culture content for the Online NewsHour.

“We are grateful to the Joyce Foundation for their generous gift and for making this valuable collaboration possible,” said Dan Schmidt, President and CEO of WTTW. “The partnership will provide an excellent opportunity to increase the reporting capacity and impact of both our organizations. Together, we will work to develop more efficient and engaging ways of reporting and producing that will inform production models of the future,” he added.

“Public affairs programs such as Chicago Tonight are important, credible platforms for informing the public on policy issues that most local television news programs would not cover,” said Joyce Foundation President Ellen S. Alberding. “And by partnering with PBS NewsHour, we know these regional issues will receive national attention,” she added.

About The Joyce Foundation

The Joyce Foundation supports efforts to protect the natural environment of the Great Lakes, to reduce poverty and violence in the region, and to ensure that its people have access to good schools, decent jobs, and a diverse and thriving culture. We are especially interested in improving public policies, because public systems such as education and welfare directly affect the lives of so many people, and because public policies help shape private sector decisions about jobs, the environment, and the health of our communities. To ensure that public policies truly reflect public rather than private interests, we support efforts to reform the system of financing election campaigns.

About WTTW

For more than 55 years, audiences have turned to WTTW for distinctive programming that informs, inspires, educates, and entertains. WTTW reaches 1.5 million weekly households over a four-state area, making it the most-watched public television affiliate in America. Recognized for its award-winning local and national productions, WTTW is committed to presenting the very best in cultural, nature, science, public affairs, and children's programming across its four distinct television channels: WTTW11, WTTW Prime, its Spanish-language channel WTTW V-me, and WTTW Create, its “how-to” channel. For more information, please visit

About Chicago Tonight

Chicago Tonight is the only local news magazine of its kind on public television, making it uniquely poised to build a partnership with the PBS NewsHour to bring an additional “outside the beltway” perspective to stories of national interest. Hosted by Phil Ponce and featuring correspondents Carol Marin, Eddie Arruza, Elizabeth Brackett, and Ash-har Quraishi, Chicago Tonight has given viewers a deeper understanding of critical issues with more than 25 years of trusted reporting and nuanced analysis. It covers a wide variety of issues in politics and government, education, arts and culture, and the environment.

About PBS NewsHour

PBS NewsHour, successor to The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, continues to provide in-depth analysis of current events with a team of seasoned and highly regarded journalists. The nightly broadcast features a two-anchor format, with Jim Lehrer accompanied by a rotation of senior correspondents Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff and Jeffrey Brown. Senior correspondents Margaret Warner and Ray Suarez deliver compelling original reporting and newsmaker interviews from the field. New correspondent Hari Sreenivasan delivers news to the digital world and anchors the news summary on the television broadcasts.