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Forming the New England News Council & Forum

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the University of Massachusetts announced June 30 that UMass Amherst will host starting this fall the formation of the New England News Council & Forum. The forum's alpha website is expected to launch during November. In the meantime, here are links to some relevant materials, and an excerpt of the news release. Contact the council at (413) 577-4370 or mail (at) newenglandnews.org.


NEWS RELEASE: Excerpt

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The Washington News Council and the Minnesota News Council announced that Southern California and New England are the winners in a national contest to create two new local news councils. The Southern California News Council and the New England News Council/Forum now become the fourth and fifth such councils in the United States, joining those in Minnesota, Washington and Hawaii. Dozens of other such councils exist in nations around the world.

News councils are independent, nonprofit organizations that promote trusted journalism by investigating accuracy and fairness complaints against news outlets. They help determine the facts involved in these disputes, and provide open forums where citizens and journalists can discuss media ethics, standards and performance.

The new news councils will each receive a $75,000 start-up grant, given by Washington and Minnesota from funds provided by the Knight Foundation in Miami, Fla. The WNC and MNC received a joint grant last year from Knight to design the national contest, advertise it nationwide, review applications and select two winners.

The New England News Council & Forum will reside in the Journalism Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and cover the six New England states. Organizing committees for the two new councils include journalists, academics and members of the public. Both councils will invite the participation of a broad and diverse range of citizens who care deeply about the vital role of news media in a democracy.An informal advisory board for the project included national journalism leaders Merrill Brown, Fabrice Florin, Dan Gillmor, Loren Ghiglione, Cyrus Krohn, Phil Meyer, Bill Moyers, Jay Rosen, and Jan Schaefer.

CONTACTS:
Bill Babcock, Cal State Long Beach, wbabcock@csulb.edu (562.985.4981)
Norman Sims, UMass Amherst, sims@newenglandnews.org (413.577-4370)
Bill Densmore, UMass Amherst, densmore@journ.umass.edu (413.458.8001)
John Hamer, Executive Director, WNC, jhamer@wanewscouncil.org (206.262.9793)
Gary Gilson, Executive Director, MNC, gary@news-council.org (612.341.9357)
Eric Newton, Director of Journalism Initiatives, enewton@knightfdn.org (305.908.2600)

Clips and news about the launch

* Knight Foundation news release

OPINION and ANALYSIS

INITIAL LINKS: Journalism coverage issues