Julie Drizin, the center’s director, announced the closure in an email (full email below) Wednesday, citing lack of reinvestment from the foundation as the biggest contributing factor for the closure. The University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, which houses the center, “has concluded that this Center is not sustainable in the current economic climate,” according to the email.
But the center will busy between now and its closure, Drizin told Poynter.
“We are still busy between now and then,” she said. “I can’t even tell you. This has been a very vibrant year for us.”
At the end of October, the center will launch a website containing a series of stories about social work titled “Lifelines: Stories from the Human Safety Net,” Drizin said. The site will also contain resources for journalists looking to report on social work. The center is also working with the Aspen Institute to organize a forum on race and journalism in society, slated for December.
The center is perhaps known for awarding the Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism, which recognize “the past year’s best reporting on children, youth and families in the U.S,” according to its website. In earlier years, the center also held weeklong fellowship programs that allowed journalists to meet and discuss journalism focused on child and family issues.
Dear Friend of JCCF:
With great sadness, I announce that the Journalism Center on Children & Families will close at the end of 2014.
Formerly the Casey Journalism Center, JCCF was founded 20 years ago by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which recognized the crucial role of the news media in shining a spotlight on the lives of children and families in the U.S. The foundation launched the center at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, a school renown for public affairs journalism. For the past two decades, JCCF has helped inspire, support, spread and reward excellent reporting on kids. We’ve trained and assisted hundreds of journalists in every kind of media in every part of the the U.S.
JCCF’s funding will run out at the end of this year. The College has concluded that this Center is not sustainable in the current economic climate. Indeed, these are very challenging times in the worlds of journalism and education.
JCCF thanks the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the College, the University System of Maryland Foundation and other foundations that have contributed to our successful run as the nation’s only journalism center devoted to deepening coverage of children and families. We also wish to thank all of the people who have served on our staff, advisory board and as judges in our annual Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism contests.
I came to JCCF nearly three years ago. During my tenure, I expanded the Casey Medals program, developed and taught a new undergraduate journalism course on covering children, youth and families, launched a new website, shared best practices and other resources on covering child deaths, New American Children, and sex trafficking of minors in the U.S. This year, JCCF administered the Equal Voice Journalism Fellowship and Scholarship competition for the Marguerite Casey Foundation. And we received a grant from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Foundation to create LIFELines: Stories from the Human Safety Net, an original reporting project set to launch in a few weeks. Finally, JCCF is working with the Aspen Institute and the Annie E. Casey Foundation to produce an Aspen Forum on Journalism, Race and Society to be held this December.
This has been a very productive year. It’s been especially rewarding teaching my students that compassion and empathy are as important in journalism as in life. I am particularly proud of having influenced the AP Stylebook to recommend that news outlets no longer use the offensive phrase “illegitimate children.”
It has truly been an honor to serve as the director of JCCF. Keep fighting for the air time, the word count, the column inches and the resources to deliver stellar reporting about children, youth and families. Keep building bridges with youth media in your communities. Keep telling stories that change lives.
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