Regional

The Heinz Endowments Gifts $250,000 to Support Center for Media Innovation’s Next Generation Newsroom

Olivia Valyo
May 20, 2024
02 min

The Heinz Endowments has approved a $250,000 grant to the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University in support of its latest initiative, the Next Generation Newsroom. In addition, the Posner Foundation of Pittsburgh is donating $25,000 to the same project.

“The Next Generation Newsroom is an important step in the Center’s initiative to support local journalism, and we are absolutely honored that the Heinz Endowments and the Posner Foundation believe in the project, too,” said Andrew Conte, assistant vice president and managing director of the Center for Media Innovation.

The Next Generation Newsroom is a teaching program designed to support local news outlets and early-career journalists. The content developed from the Newsroom will be shared across the 29 members of the Center’s Pittsburgh Media Partnership, which has a combined reach of 6 million.

“Our goals are to support the overall media ecosystem, fill gaps in local reporting and create pathways for young journalists,” Conte said. “There is a role that all of us must play now in creating and sustaining local journalism. Everyone is a content creator now, and that comes with enormous responsibility.”

“The Heinz Endowments is proud to support the Next Generation Newsroom initiative as part of our ongoing partnership with Point Park University's Center for Media Innovation,” said Matt Barron, program director for sustainability at the Heinz Endowments. “Robust local journalism is crucial to a healthy and thriving community, and we appreciate the Center for Media Innovation's commitment to equipping young journalists with the tools they need to navigate a rapidly changing sector.”

The Center will formally debut the Next Generation Newsroom at Newsapalooza, a first-of-its-kind event for Pittsburgh in celebration and support of journalism, which will be held September 26-28, at Point Park University and its Pittsburgh Playhouse.

“As we prepare to present our vision for the Next Generation Newsroom to the Greater Pittsburgh Region, we continue to seek additional support from funders with the same vision to protect and support local journalism,” Conte said. “We welcome anyone who wants to be a part of that conversation and initiative.”

Presented by the University’s Center for Media Innovation, Newsapalooza will include national and local experts, sessions, discussions and hands-on media-making activities.

“Newsapalooza is an investment in the Pittsburgh story – the people who tell it and the stories they tell,” Conte said. “True stories are challenged across America due to the loss of key storytellers – trained journalists. We need to protect this vital civic function, and Newsapalooza is another great way to highlight that mission.”

The Center has long been a champion and supporter for journalism, and both its Pittsburgh Media Partnership and Downtown Pittsburgh Media Hub serve to provide resources to regional news outlets. Its McKeesport Community Newsroom continues to support citizen journalism and storytelling in the Mon Valley, an area where residents are filling gaps left by traditional news outlets.

The Center also is currently recruiting a second cohort of its Citizen Reporting Academy, presented in cooperation with Point Park’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The Academy was developed with Neighborhood News Network and Trib Total Media. Classes for the second cohort begin in October.

Additional Information

Tickets for Newsapalooza are available online. Any person or organization interested in inquiring about a sponsorship can email Kim Palmiero at kim.palmiero@pointpark.edu.

Press release provided by Lou Corsaro / lcorsaro@pointpark.edu, 412.392.6190 / 704.860.6186 (cell)