Initiative Spotlights Innovative Women-Led News Startups
Ruth J. Morrison, Founder, What's The 411 Networks, a digital media company(http://www.whatsthe411.com), is counting herself among 400 women vying for entry into the Robert McCormick Foundation's New Media Women Entrepreneurs Program. Ruth Morrison is among a new class of women digital media entrepreneurs seeking to join the ranks of Arianna Huffington, Candice Carpenter, and Nancy Evans.
The McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneurs (NMWE) initiative is part of a unique effort to address issues of opportunity and innovation, recruitment and retention for women in journalism. To date, 14 projects have been funded since the program started in 2008. See them at www.newmediawomen.org.
NMWE grant funding is available for news websites, mobile news services, apps or other ideas that offer interactive opportunities to provide news and information locally, nationally or among a community of interest. These can be solo ideas or team projects spearheaded by women.
"I am delighted to be a contender for the Robert McCormick Foundation's New Media Women Entrepreneurs Program," said Ruth J. Morrison. "It is a competitive opportunity, as J-Lab, the administrator for the program, will only select four women. The application process was a powerful exercise."
"The re-launch of whatsthe411.com is a very exciting time," Ruth J. Morrison added. "We were video streaming pioneers experimenting with online video in the 1990s when most people didn't have 56k modems let alone broadband connections. Today, we are coming full circle, as market forces are ripe for a new era of digital entertainment and lifestyle products."
"We have a celebrity-infused catalog of original video content including throwback interviews with stars such as Beyonce, Halle Berry, Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle, Anita Baker, Phylicia Rashad, Lisa Nicole Carson, Boyz II Men, Andre Harrell, Dick Wolf, and many others. We also have interview footage featuring the late Don Corneliusthat was gathered backstage at the Soul Train Awards," she continued.
More recent original video packages include: pop singer Gloria Estefan discussing her latest album produced by Pharrell Williams; NBA legend Walt "Clyde" Frazier; New York Yankees second baseman and home run derby king, Robinson Cano; and Harlem Week festivities featuring New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor David Dinkins, former Governor David Paterson, and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
About Ruth J. Morrison
Ruth J. Morrison is the Founder of What's The 411 Networks, a digital media/news, marketing, and entertainment company redefining entertainment news and lifestyle. Ms. Morrison is not one to color inside the lines. She is a person of firsts. Ms. Morrison is the first African American leased time producer to distribute a weekly television show on WNYC-TV. She is the first African-American woman beat reporter to cover the NY Knicks and she became a video streaming pioneer in the mid-1990s. She was the first Executive Director of the Brooklyn International Trade Development Center, the first small business development center in New York City whose sole responsibility was to help small businesses export their products and services. Ms. Morrison also developed and launched from conception the City of New York's multi-channel cable television network.
Ms. Morrison was a Communications Fellow at the Annenberg Washington Program of Northwestern University; a Communications Director for a member of the U.S. Congress, and she earned a master's degree in Interactive Telecommunications from the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
The McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneurs initiative is a project of J-Lab, a center of American University's School of Communication. J-Lab is a journalism catalyst that funds new approaches to journalism, rewards innovations, researches what works and shares practical insights with news creators and news gatherers.
ABOUT the Robert R. McCormick Foundation
The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is committed to fostering communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens. Through philanthropic programs, Cantigny Park and museums, the Foundation helps develop citizen leaders and works to make life better in our communities. The Foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is one of the nation's largest foundations, with more than $1 billion in assets. For more information, please visit www.McCormickFoundation.org.
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