Daily News announces major expansion

ChiTownDailyNews.org has been awarded $150,000 in grant funding to hire four full-time staff reporters to cover local government in Chicago.

The Daily News will use the money to build upon its existing coverage of higher education and public housing issues, and to launch new beats focused on public health and labor.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provided $100,000 of the funds. The Abra Prentice Foundation provided $50,000.

"The past few days have provided eye-opening reminders about the importance of watchdog reporting, and of the declining ability of traditional news organizations to provide it," said Daily News editor Geoff Dougherty.

Tribune Co., publisher of the Chicago Tribune, has shed hundreds of journalism jobs in the past year, and sought bankruptcy protection last Monday. The following morning, federal agents arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in connection with a public corruption investigation.

"We're immensely grateful to the Knight and Prentice foundations for recognizing the importance of supporting local journalism at this critical time, and we hope their gifts will set an example for other foundations and individual funders," Dougherty said.

ChiTownDailyNews.org is Chicago's leading online source for local news. Launched three years ago, the Daily News serves 40,000 unique visitors a month. It is operated by PublicMedia, Inc., a 501(c)(3) public charity.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invests in journalism excellence worldwide and in the vitality of U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has granted more than $400 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression. Knight Foundation focuses on projects with the potential to create transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.