Covering the Gap: Learning from experts in the fields of economics, political science and urban policy.


In Ferguson, Missouri, a gathering of concerned citizens and business owners on the main business strip in August, 2016.

By Lillian Williams

Why is an October “Covering the Gap: The Impact of Economic Inequality” workshop, sponsored by the McCormick Foundation, so important?

Because the workshop is designed to help reporters better cover thorny issues facing the nation’s urban areas.

Let’s face it. As a society, we have tremendous social and economic tensions, above and below the surface.  And, news media play an important watchdog role, as well as other key functions.

Take a look at the picture above.

This 2016 photo shows concerned citizens once again gathered in Ferguson, Missouri, an urban hot spot that captured the nation’s attention following the 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown.  The people gathered there (including my brother who lives in the metropolitan area) are still looking for answers.

To assist reporters in coverage of such issues, this McCormick-sponsored workshop will explore the following issues and others:

  • Where to find data that can provide rigor and direction for reporters’ coverage
  • How to explain the impact of globalization on people in local communities
  • How to use the power of storytelling to help the audience empathize with subjects
  • How economic inequality is contributing to big changes in America’s politics
  • How social class impacts a community’s institutions and residents
  • What communities and groups within them are doing to fight inequality

The workshop seminars will be held Oct. 11 to 13 in Chicago at Northwestern University ‘s Pritzker School of Law.

McCormick Foundation will pay the costs of tuition, housing and travel for journalists. The application deadline is Sept. 16. Apply here

The faculty includes Butch Ward, senior faculty, The Poynter Institute; Kevin M. Murphy, professor of economics at the University of Chicago; Teresa Córdova, director of the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois, Chicago; Alex Kotlowitz, journalist and author; Susan Smith Richardson, editor and publisher, The Chicago Reporter; Natalie Moore, WBEZ reporter and author; Ben Casselman, senior editor and chief economics writer, FiveThirtyEight, and others.

For more information, e-mail


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