Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Film on Knight Brothers Wins Emmy

June 30, 2010, 1:40 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Paul R. Jacoway's "Final Edition: Journalism According to Jack and Jim Knight" was presented with a regional Emmy Award on June 19, by the lower Great Lakes Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

The documentary, which first aired on October 26, 2009 in Akron, Ohio, follows the Knight family, from their days of running the Beacon Journal and their national newspaper chain through their generous funding of Knight Foundation.

The project began originally as a paper by Jacoway, written for a history of journalism course at the University of Akron. With the sale of the Knight-Ridder newspaper group in 2006 to the McClatchy Company, Jacoway found he had a very topical subject at hand. Three years later, Jacoway had produced a film about the Knight brothers, with help from the Ohio Humanities Council.

"Final Edition" is narrated by Akron's deputy mayor, David Lieberth, and features interviews with Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibarügen.

 

 

Knight History a Part of Akron Arts Scene

June 24, 2010, 3:17 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

I'm in Akron today, announcing more than $700,000 for arts projects that enrich and engage the community, as part of our national arts program. The largest grant ' for $200,000 ' is to renovate and expand the Summit Artspace, in order to strengthen it as a headquarters for arts and culture.

I love the idea and the space, but there is also an interesting Knight Foundation connection. The Summit Artspace is located in a 1927 Art Deco building once home to the Akron Beacon Journal, a Knight newspaper. On the day the offices opened, President Calvin Coolidge actually pushed a button in the White House, sending pulses across hundreds of miles of telegraph wires to start the presses churning in Akron.

We announced the funding in that very space ' a great convergence.

Here's a look at the other projects we funded in Akron, as part of Knight's new national Arts Program:

  • Greater Akron Musical Association: $150,000 to produce and present a semi-staged performance of Gershwin's Porgy & Bess by the Akron Symphony, along with community engagement activities, in conjunction with the University of Akron and the Gospel Meets Symphony Chorus.
  • Akron Art Museum: $107,500 to digitize the museum's art collection in online archives that will be accessible via the Internet for a wide range of educational purposes.
  • YEPAW ' Youth Excellence Performing Arts Workshop: $100,000 to expand the group's summer programming by creating the YEPAW Institute, a yearlong arts education program for urban high school students.
  • Akron Civic Theatre: $50,000 to enable the theater, founded in 1929, to expand programming opportunities for community-based arts and non-arts groups who otherwise could not afford to use the venue.
  • Cleveland International Film Festival: $30,000 to bring underserved Akron high school students to FilmSlam, the annual student film festival presented as part of the Cleveland International Film Festival.
  • City of Akron: $30,000 to bring entertainment to Akron area residents through Lock 3 Live and to support the Lock 3 Summer Arts Experience for high school students who display an aptitude in the arts.
  • Tuesday Musical Association: $50,000 to support educational outreach that matches the classically trained young musicians and composers of the FUZE! series with school-age and college students to inspire interest in the arts. Clara Knight, mother of Jack and Jim Knight and a Knight Foundation founding donor, was an enthusiastic supporter of the association.

 

Custom Facebook News App Engages Readers and Drives Story to Front Page of Local Paper

June 24, 2010, 12:26 p.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

NewsCloud's Jeff Reifman talks about the new Facebook application 12 media outlets - including the Charlotte Observer - are using to engage readers.

How did this story on a group of atheists putting up a billboard in Charlotte - along Billy Graham Parkway no less - end up on the front page of the Charlotte Observer?

The controversy was first publicized through a post on the Observer's new Facebook application, Insight from the Charlotte Observer, which uses technology developed through a Knight Foundation grant.' Charlotte Insight allows residents to not only comment on the news but also post original stories and blogs. The issue then became a giant local debate with full bore coverage on the Observer's front page and main website, and on local television stations.

While there are more than 400 million Facebook users worldwide, most news organizations lack the knowledge, technical capacity - and often funds - to engage them directly on one of the largest social networks in the world. Jeff Reifman and NewsCloud developed the application to help engage readers in the news. They are now working with 12 outlets to implement it.

Previously, NewsCloud used a Knight grant to test ways to engage youth in news and information through Facebook applications for a student newspaper and an environmental newsmagazine.

We caught up with Reifman at the Future of News and Civic Media conference last week, where he talked about how the'application works.

Citizen Journalists Reporting from India's Isolated Regions with Project by Knight Fellow

June 24, 2010, 10:05 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

 
Shubhranshu Choudhary
As a Knight International Journalism fellow, I am working on a project that uses mobile technology to enable citizens in India's most isolated regions to produce and deliver news. I am sending along a video from a Citizen Journalism Training Workshop we organized in February 2010 in Kunkuri Chhattisgarh. We trained 33 tribal citizens on basics of journalism and on how to report using mobile phones. Elisa Tinsley, Director, Knight International journalism Program in ICFJ and Bill Thies of Microsoft Research Lab in India also took part in the training.

In Chhattisgarh there are no tribal journalists or journalists who understand the tribal languages in the state. A survey showed that mainstream newspapers in the state gave only 2% of their space to news related to stories on tribal communities.

After three days of training,'supported in part by UNICEF, these new citizen journalists have started reporting about important events and happenings in their villages. They are recording two- minute audio reports on their mobile phones. Once their stories get vetted, anyone from the community can simply call a number and get the latest.

A story about our new network ran in prime time on one of the top TV stations in India, so the mainstream press is beginning to notice.

Mapping Tools Increasingly Important to Informed and Engaged Communities

June 23, 2010, 2:44 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

www.openstreetmap.org

In the last few years, mapping has become an increasingly important element among the winners of the Knight News Challenge. Five of the 12 projects which won grants in 2010 involved mapping in some form: TileMapping by DevelopmentSeed of Washington DC; CitySeed by Arizona State University's New Media Innovation Lab in Phoenix; CityTracking by Stamen Design out of San Francisco;'GoMap Riga by two Latvians; and LocalWiki by the founders of Davis Wiki of Davis, California. In addition, a 2009 grantee, Ushahidi also made its reputation through crowd-sourced crisis mapping. Many of the projects out of'MIT's Center for Future Civic Media, a 2007 grantee, involve mapping, including Sourcemap and'Grassroots Mapping

As such, Knight Foundation will be a sponsor at the State of the Map conference in Girona, Spain, which is taking place from July 9 to 11, 2010. Jennifer 8. Lee, the lead Knight News Challenge reviewer, will be available at the conference to explain how to craft an effective proposal and to field questions. The News Challenge is interested in all layers of the map stack, including data gathering, tile rendering and interactive consumer-facing applications.

State of the Map is the largest annual event for Open Street Map, a collaborative project to create an open-source, editable map of the world. The data from Open Street Map is used in Flickr and other commercial applications. In addition, Open Street Map volunteers helped generate maps used by many response and relief organizations in the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

Knight Names Philadelphia Program Director, Director of Business Consulting

June 23, 2010, 2:29 p.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

[gallery]

Knight Foundation has a new Philadelphia program director: Donna Frisby-Greenwood, a social entrepreneur who most recently led Philadelphia Schools' Office of College and Career Awareness.

She also helped create'the country's first online voter registration drive as executive director of Rock the Vote, Los Angeles.

Benoit Wirz, who has helped take companies from start-up to profitability, is also joining Knight in a newly created position: director of business consulting. He'll work'with Knight staff to develop programs based on realistic business plans. Wirz, who recently finished his MBA at INSEAD in France, will also consult with select Knight grantees.

Nieman Reports features Knight grantees in 'The Digital Landscape'

June 23, 2010, 7:01 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

The most recent issue of Nieman Foundation's quarterly publication talked about news and neurology, the future of news, journalism education and news literacy, and bringing journalists and technologists together.

Brant Houston wrote about getting people to analyze and share public data for local reporting. Houston holds the Knight Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois, and said that digital tools can make both journalists and citizens into better community watchdogs.

Michelle McLellan of the Knight Digital Media Center wrote about finding 100 news sites that are creating content and revenue as a fellow at the University of Missouri. She saw that media such as niche and community sites are filling the gaps in the news ecosystem, as described by Knight's V.P. for Journalism Program Eric Newton, and predicted greater partnerships between journalists and community members but fewer sites that charge for access to news.

Burt Herman, a former John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford, talked about launching Hacks and Hackers with the New York Times' Aron Pilhofer and Northwestern professor Richard Gordon. The group is experimenting with ways to connect journalists and technologists around their strong beliefs in the need for freedom of information.

Krissy Clark, a former Knight fellow at Stanford, wrote that good journalism is like a map because it can inform people about where a story is and the best way forward. She said that journalists can filter through the information from sites like EveryBlock and use technology to 'reconnect people to place.'

Andrew Finlayson, another former fellow, talked about the semantic web. The semantic web is a system of linked data in development that are readable to computers, not just humans. An example of this is the WolframAlpha search engine that generates an answer instead of links to pages. Journalists will be able to use this system to organize data and find connections for investigative reporting.

V. Michael Bove, Jr. leads the Center for Future Storytelling at MIT's Media Lab. He studies the combination of shared experiences with media, like watching TV with friends, and personalized experiences, like watching it on an iPhone. He thinks that mobile technology will change the definition of successful media from whether it has a wide reach to whether it reaches a targeted audience. Also at MIT,'Sherry Turkle,'professor of technology and society, 'explained her views on young people, connectivity and deep thought'in interviews with PBS Frontline's 'Digital Nation' and the BBC.' (Knight funds the Center for'Future Civic Media at MIT.')

James Paul Gee, professor of literacy studies at Arizona State University, said that in games we learn by being guided whereas with content-driven media we learn by reflecting on what we are told. He said using games in journalism can help if the games' creators focus on what problems the player has to solve rather than what material the player has to read. Knight funds an entrepreneurial journalism center at ASU.

Nora Paul and Kathleen A. Hansen wrote about their research project called Playing the News. They studied how games could be used to tell 'boring but important' news and found that people wanted to be guided through ongoing stories. Sites with lots of contextual material helped people both see the big picture and get in-depth information. They used their findings in the Convergence Journalism class they teach at the University of Minnesota.' Nora and Kathleen won a Knight News Challenge grant to create the game.

Esther Wojcicki is the current Chair of the Board of Directors of Creative Commons and teaches high school journalism. She thinks all students need journalism skills, and received a Knight Foundation grant to develop a curriculum for high school English classes. Esther says it is important to give teenagers both freedom and recognition.

Alan C. Miller wrote about launching the News Literacy Project, which teaches high school students about the importance of First Amendment and finding valid information. Journalists visit classes to talk about their work and the lessons focus on critical thinking and recognizing quality information. Alan's start-up funds came from Knight Foundation.

Bob Giles, Curator of the Nieman Foundation, said that fairness in journalism is as important as ever. Reporting fairly, like respecting the wishes of the story subjects or looking at a controversial issue from different angles, makes stories more credible and makes them have a greater impact. Knight funds Latin American journalism fellows at Harvard.

American, Chinese journalism students cover World Cup

June 23, 2010, 6:50 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

 

Photograph by Rachel Gadson

Five students and one recent graduate from the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) School of Journalism and Graphic Communication are in Johannesburg this summer reporting on the World Cup and life in South Africa with six students from Shantou University in Guangdong Province, China.

The students will be in South Africa until July 11. FAMU students will produce the English content on the group's web site, and Shantou students will produce the Chinese content.

Professor Joe Ritchie, Knight Chair for Journalism Student Enhancement, is leading the FAMU students in South Africa. Listen to Ritchie and student journalist Anamarie Shreeves discuss the project on NPR.

Knight Foundation Partners with City Leaders to Continue Investing in Macon's Neighborhoods

June 21, 2010, 4:14 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

A photo illustration of one of Historic Macon's properties being restored as part of the Beall's Hill revitalization project.

It has been a whirlwind few weeks in Macon, Georgia and the experience has shown to me again how a private foundation such as Knight can be such a catalyst for community change and growth. Foundations are unique in that we are here to support the common good, and in Knight's case, to fund the big ideas of folks and organizations who are creating informed, engaged communities. We have several such initiatives here in Macon-the College Hill AllianceHistoric Macon Foundation and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia's Knight Neighborhood Challenge. We are fortunate to have strong partners in Mercer University, the City of Macon and the Macon Housing Authority, among others.

One of the greatest pleasures of this work is the partnerships with these visionary, committed leaders. We share ideas, dreams, and frustrations and seem to always come up with common goals. One of these common goals is the revitalization of the Beall's Hill neighborhood with an emerging partnership of the City, Mercer University and the Macon Housing Authority. But of course this work is not easy! If it was, it would already have been done! Beall's Hill is a distressed neighborhood with great opportunity for revitalization. An effort was started some years ago but fell apart when the partners could not agree how to move forward. But we're back at it.

What's different now?

I'd say what is different is that we have visionary leaders with a shared goal and enlightened self interest. And, because of the commitment of all the partners (including'a $5 million grant from Knight), we have the financial resources to make it work.

But since it's never easy, we had a bit of challenge a few weeks back. The Appropriations Committee of City Council met and deleted the City's financial commitment to the project. We found out the following morning as we were reading The Telegraph and macon.com.

Not a good thing. For the partnership is not just about the money - it's about commitment, leadership and cooperation.

We scrambled, attended the Appropriations Committee meeting in the afternoon and with the leadership of the Mayor, we found out what was troubling the committee, the same thing that concerned Knight when we were looking at this opportunity. The concern was that this would become a never ending project that would appear each year for funding - which seems to happen a lot. So we informed the committee that this is a focused, 3 year effort that will propel the revitalization and move the community forward.' The funding was restored.

What Council saw was an organization asking for funding. What I saw was a partnership requesting for an investment. And that is what this funding is - an investment in the future of Macon's neighborhoods, an investment that will pay handsome returns. For example, Historic Macon has been revitalizing homes for over 10 years and the numbers tell the story - the collective market value of the 84 home-owner restoration projects has increased from $4 million to $13 million and produces over $156,000 in annual property taxes. As importantly, every home remains home-owner occupied, code compliant and is worth more than when Historic Macon sold it. This is the goal for Beall's Hill. But the investment will pay greater returns in safer neighborhoods, home ownership and resident engagement in the life of this community.

Knight's financial and thought leadership has been a catalyst to continue the positive momentum. We have the luxury of funding, the luxury of bringing in new ideas and supporting the great ideas that are here, and from time to time, speaking from our bully pulpit. But we also have a great responsibility to the community we serve - to expect great things from our leaders, to catalyze our residents, and to hold ourselves as accountable for success as we do our grantees.

I'm proud that Knight has an important role in this progress to Macon's future. We can't do it alone, nor can government nor the private sector. We need one another and cannot succeed without leadership, partnership and commitment.

My thanks to the Mayor and Macon City Council for making that partnership solid.

Knight Commission Ignites Conversation Over College Athletics Spending

June 18, 2010, 12:20 p.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

Over 40 media outlets published original stories about the new report from the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, released Thursday at the Freedom Forum in Washington, D.C. "Restoring the Balance: Dollars, Values, and the Future of College Sports" warns of accelerating spending on college sports and potential threats to college and university finances. The Commission calls for greater transparency on spending in college sports; new policies for distributing television revenue that value academic performance; and ensuring that college athletes are treated as students, not as professional athletes.

According to The New York Times, "The recommendation... provided a'kind of counterpoint to the seismic tremors that have'shaken the college sports landscape in recent'weeks, moves prompted largely by debates over who should get what share of millions of dollars in'television revenue, and why. 'As Nebraska, Colorado and Utah have announced plans to switch'conferences ' and as others have contemplated following suit ' the discussion has centered on wins'and losses, television markets and brand image.

"Placing a larger emphasis on academic performance was one of several ideas proposed by the'commission'in a report aimed at encouraging colleges'and universities to take a collective deep breath'and slow the rate of spending on athletics."

From the Los Angeles Times:'"There must be a bright line between college and professional sports," said Len Elmore, a commission member and former pro basketball player. "We're'not saying that there cannot be an investment in sports, we're saying the investment needs to be put in perspective."

From the Louisville Courier-Journal: "It's an important message. At least someone is issuing the warning, and clearly. But when the organization overseeing the whole thing, the NCAA, is as rabid in'its pursuit of revenue as any Fortune 500 company, this escalation isn't going to stop.

"I applaud the Knight Commission for trying to inject a note of sanity into this. But I'm afraid they're trying to close the barn door after Bevo is already out grazing'in the field. And that green in his mouth isn't grass. And he's not alone."

 
 
 

 

Thursday Afternoon #FNCM Barcamp Wrapup

June 18, 2010, 11:57 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Thursday's afternoon bar-camp sessions at the 2010 Future of Civic Media conference @ MIT, attendees were talking about how to be stewards of the Internet and support journalism with net neutrality. At one, people with varying degrees of fear of facebook, health care companies, and the U.S. Government discussed from whom information should be private. Compared to academics like'Medill's Rich Gordon, the KF interns' generation isn't too worried about a totalitarian state.

In a later session, participants discussed successes in mobile news and got a neat guide to mobile media from MobileActive. Two attendees who work in sub-Saharan Africa said that local media outlets provide numbers people can text to contact the journalists and learn more. Justin Arenstein, a Knight Fellow at Stanford, said that people reporting their moods onVodacom's platform for social networking in South Africa provided the company with data they could compare to places with ethnic conflict. Now a 'happiness report' follows the daily weather report on T.V.

Shu Choudhary, a Knight International Journalism Fellow, uses Google's free SMS service to'reach rural India. The service allows users to send 140 characters to everyone who signs up on the list. Google, like many major companies, focus on user-generated content rather than employing journalists to vet and report information.


The team at Department of Play, a project by C4FCM students, developed the What's Up neighborhood news system. It connects voicemail and a web site to connect young people in Lawrence, MA who may not have Internet access. Department of Play's'Leo Burd is developing'Voip Drupal, an open-source platform for community information systems.

See Frontline SMS and Mobile Commons for more on mobile news and information.

News Challenge grantee donates to new Knight Media Innovation Fund

June 18, 2010, 11 a.m., Posted by Marc Fest

Dan Pacheco
Dan Pacheco

Knight News Challenge grantee Dan Pacheco announced today that he is going to donate 6% of his new company FeedBrewer Inc. to the newly created Knight Media Innovation Fund. FeedBrewer is an outgrowth of Printcasting, a company that Pacheco created with a News Challenge grant that has run out after two years. "We recognize the unique role that philanthropy played in our development. By donating a percentage of our new company to the Knight Media Innovation Fund, we'll be paying that good fortune forward and helping the Foundation develop other innovative products that meet the ever increasing information needs of communities," said Pacheco.

The Knight Media Innovation Fund at the Dade Community Foundation is a donor-advised fund that will support innovative digital projects that inform and engage geographic communities.' Knight Foundation staff will be the donor advisors to the fund.

Stay tuned for more information about the fund next week.

Click here to read Dan Pacheco's news release.

Info Innovators Discuss 10 Ways Your Project Can Fail

June 17, 2010, 8:26 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Earlier today, in day two of the 2010 Future of Civic Media conference, attendees learned 10 Ways to Fail. Rick Borovy at the C4FCM led an earlier the session and drew a chart showing how to start something from nothing. He said you have to design a trajectory to get people on board and get your project validated.

Jan Schaffer of American University's J-Lab said smaller grants can help with validation, and Dale Peskin of We Media said you have to give up ego and exclusivity at each stage of the game. Amanda Hickman and Eric Umansky of Document Cloud talked about the importance of sustainability. They said it can be as hard to maintain an organization as to succeed as a start-up.

NYU's Jay Rosen has a different approach: he starts by assuming new ideas will fail. Once he comes up with an idea that seems viable and essential, he enlists people, time, and money bit by bit to build the project. But, he says, it only works if you're a tenured professor! ;)

We talked about how to enlist stakeholders, take no for an answer, and discuss failure. Most people agreed that it was a bad idea to make a big investment to test a new idea. Retha Hill, co-founder of CitySeed, talked about how she changed a failed idea after a test run with a sharpie and construction paper.

Follow Knight News Challenge projects' successes and failures at Idea Lab and follow the Future of New and Civic Media Conference @MIT on twitter: #fncm.

Dollars to Data: Online Financial Tools and Civic Media at #FNCM

June 16, 2010, 5:32 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

This morning, at a Future of Civic Media Conference workshop called 'Dollars to Data: Online Financial Tools and Civic Media', C4FCM student Charlie DeTar showed us Sunlight Foundation web sites that track political contributions. We also saw a few individual finance sites, like Mint.com, that can aggregate private financial data for third parties. Others, like Blippy, allow people to tweet their purchases.

Most sites can tell you where you spend your money and some sell this information to big companies. They aren't looking at the serious political and social uses for the information yet. A project called Red Ink by Ryan O'Toole, who led the workshop with DeTar, can track the impact of individual purchases on big businesses like BP.

Video Volunteers' Jessica Mayberry noticed that these sites aren't working together. It is difficult just to correlate the different names of the businesses being tracked, let alone understand their finances. O'Toole noted that a company could outlay $30,000 and count that as creating a new job.

Many of the attendees were most interested in new business models for news, so we looked at hyper-local advertising for hyper-local news, using the Sacramento Press as an example. O'Toole said Perez Hilton's web site is a form of information journalism that reaches out to a community of people with similar interests, but the attendees looked skeptical.

Some video from the workshop is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fungibleconvictions/4706262033/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/fungibleconvictions/4706901172/

Follow the conference on twitter at #fncm and check out this list of online financial tools.

Congratulations to the 2010 Knight News Challenge Winners

June 16, 2010, 12:45 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

The Knight News Challenge is designed to help speed media innovation by field-testing the most promising news technologies and techniques in specific geographic communities. We received 2,364 applications in the latest round of the contest and we are extremely excited to announce and congratulate the 2010 Knight News Challenge winners.

And the winners are...

'Technologists are from Mars, Communities are from Venus': Panelists at MIT discuss interactions of the Two Worlds

June 16, 2010, 11:40 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

At the opening of the Future of News and Civic Media conference at MIT, technologists and community organizers have come together to discuss new ways to communicate and trust one another.

'Technology that exists for people seems to not be very realistic for most people. Nobody's used to technological jargon,' said Leo Burd, explaining that regardless of how much information is out there, it is only available to people who have access to it. Burd co-founded Department of Play, a working group of researchers whose goal is to support youth as active participants in their local communities.

Ingeborg Endter, former program manager at the Computer Clubhouse Network, explains how 'the youth are neither technologists nor community people'they are both. They live in both worlds. They are the creative artists'.

Malia Lazu of The Urban Lab explained how important trust and a common language are in a political and social platform. 'Before you go into a community, go into the local record store. Know your DJs, your barbershops. Find out what their community is about. Show them that you respect them enough to know what's going on.'

More updates from the Future of News & Civic Media Conference @ MIT, including the 2010 Knight News Challenge winners, can be found at www.newschallenge.org. Follow the conversation on twitter at #fncm .

'Virtual Street Corners' Allow for Real Interactions

June 14, 2010, 1:12 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Two adjacent neighborhoods in Boston Roxbury and Brookline now have instant contact with each other via two live, 24-hour, video screen.

Digital media artist John Ewing has installed the two screens, which play a continual view of a street corner in the other neighborhood. They also have a microphone, so residents can speak to one another.

The concept is simple: Give two strangers an easy-to-use mode of communication, and a conversation is bound to erupt. They may even scratch below the surface of small talk and actually interact with each other'at least, this is what John Ewing believes.

'In Boston more than other places it seems people don't get between neighborhoods. I was going to make this a live feed on a website, but I don't want people to just sit in their living rooms. I want them to come down here, to get physically in their neighborhoods,' Ewing told the Boston Globe.

The project, being partially funded by a $40,000 grant from the Knight News Challenge in 2009, will also include six news reports from a team of three staff from each neighborhood, as well as poetry readings and discussions with community leaders. There will even be a community Rock Band game using the screens, which will be up for three weeks.

Jamarhl Crawford, the Roxbury community organizer for Virtual Street Corners, said the two neighborhoods are intertwined, as over the years some residents have moved from working class Roxbury to wealthier Brookline. The project allows former residents to see how their old neighborhood has changed, he said.

'I was interested in the project because of the ability to talk with a community that we really don't get the opportunity to often talk with, even though we're only separated by a couple of miles,' explains Crawford in a video interview. 'This is not a thing where at the end of this we're going to save the world, but I do hope we have some dialogue. We want people to learn a thing or two about each other.''

This year's Knight News Challenge winners will be announced on Wednesday at around 2pm' stay tuned.

Knight Foundation Names Jennifer Thomas as Akron Program Director

June 14, 2010, 8:48 a.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

Jennifer Thomas

Jennifer Thomas, who has helped fund and develop innovative ways to revitalize Northeast Ohio, is Knight Foundation's new Akron program director.

Previously, Thomas headed the Cleveland-based Civic Innovation Lab, which funds civic, social and technology start-ups. In 2008 alone, the lab's investments and activities generated $9.4 million in economic output.

Thomas also founded ClevelandClicks, a social networking group for tech entrepreneurs.

'Jennifer has spent the last decade turning creative business and social ideas into reality. At Knight Foundation, she will find and create opportunities to inform and engage this community in its ongoing transformation,' said Trabian Shorters, Knight Foundation's vice president for communities.

ASNE HSJ program passes quarter-million mark

June 14, 2010, 8:08 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

ASNE's High School Journalism Initiative, a program funded by the Knight Foundation, has far exceeded its predicted unique monthly visitors on its site my.hsj.org'

Check out the chart below.'

'

According to the grantee, there are two keys to this success: heavy promotion of the monthly Got News? Get Clicks. Win Money! contest, which encourages student sites to do their own marketing, and getting indexed by Google News.

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' --Marly Falcon, Knight Foundation contributing blogger

Stop the Presses available on DVD

June 14, 2010, 8:06 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Stop the Presses: The American Newspaper in Peril, a documentary that traces the early history of the American newspaper, outlines what's at stake in the current crisis and peeks into the future of in-depth and investigative reporting.

The documentary includes several interviews from people from the news industry, including Eric Newton, vice president of journalism at the Knight Foundation.

The documentary recently aired on PBS and is available on DVD'.

''''''''''' --Marly Falcon, Knight Foundation contributing blogger

Knight and KaBOOM! Partner to Revamp Playgrounds Around the Country

June 11, 2010, 7:44 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

This Saturday, students at Gulfstream Elementary in Cutler Bay, Fla. will receive the best Christmas-in-June present ever: a completely refurbished, kid-friendly, and wheelchair-accessible playground. About 1,200 miles north, students at Imani Education Circle Charter School in Philadelphia will also be receiving a playground ' something they have never had before.

Hundreds of volunteers will build both ' in just one day.

The projects are two of 13 nationwide that Knight Foundation has funded through a '$1.48 million grant to KaBOOM!, a nonprofit committed to saving play.

'The long-term intention is to get citizens to act in their own interest and get them engaged in their community through building the playground,' said Damian Thorman, national program director for the Knight Foundation.

Look for more throughout the year in Macon, Detroit and Akron.

At Gulfstream Elementary, the once-rickety, rusty playground that has been off-limits to students will be replaced with a shiny new one, equipped with monkey bars, swings, a rock wall, and chutes and ladders.

The Parent-Teacher Association at Gulfstream had raised $30,000 on its own; it would have taken the school three or more years to raise enough money for the playground, Jill Guarino, president of the school's PTA, told the Miami Herald.

Both playgrounds will also include an Imagination Playground in a Box, a breakthrough play space that encourages unstructured free-play, which is critical to social, intellectual and emotional development.

World Wide Workshop Foundation and Sandra Day O'Connor Engage Students with Civics Games Competition

June 10, 2010, 9:50 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation


Students at Randolph Technical Center explain how their games promote education in civics

 

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and the World Wide Workshop Foundation have just announced two West Virginia students as winners of the 1st Annual Globaloria Civics Games Competition. Team 'The Fox Racers' won first place with 'The Race to Justice,' a game that teaches about civil law in a fun, interactive way.

Globaloria, a Knight-supported program created in 2006 by the World Wide Workshop Foundation, teaches young people how to create educational games and simulations for their own academic and professional development. By creating these games, students are directly contributing to their communities in socially meaningful ways, while building Web 2.0 skills at the same time. By immersing students and teachers in a learning-by-doing framework, participants not only gain technical abilities, such as wiki formatting, multimedia production, programming, and game design, but also real knowledge of the actual issues they choose to base their games on.

"Globaloria provides the next generation of citizens and decision-makers with the 21st-century literacy they will need to thrive in the digital age," said Jessica Goldfin, Journalism Program Associate at the Knight Foundation. "We are impressed with how well this approach to civics and news-literacy learning has been embraced by both students and teachers."

Head of Knight Center Goes "Beyond the Gloom" with New Blog on Salon.com

June 9, 2010, 3:53 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Salon.com has a new voice: Dan Gillmor, director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University.

Gillmor's blog will "provide media and technology coverage that looks beyond the gloom to ways we can create better, more trustworthy content,' he said. In his first entries, Gillmor has written about Apple's defense of its newer, sterner restrictions on app content, and expressed his skepticism with Facebook's ever-evolving privacy policies.

A former business and technology columnist at the San Jose Mercury News, Gillmor is the author of We the Media: Grassroots Journalism, by the People, for the People, which focuses on the rise of citizen media and its impact. The Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, which Knight Foundation funds and Gillmor heads, strives to get young entrepreneurs to think outside the box and produce innovative, realistic and sustainable digital media.

How National Public Radio Embraced Digital

June 8, 2010, 4:50 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

How did broadcast-oriented NPR get its staff to embrace new platforms? By sending 300 journalists to digital media training supported by Knight Foundation, President and CEO Vivian Schiller told the Wall Street Journal.

NPR still has a booming broadcast audience, with 34 million listeners a week, Schiller said. But Internet radio will surpass the broadcast tower in the next decade. A sign of things to come: 300,000 people have already downloaded NPR's iPad app.

Schiller also sees a future where NPR partners with news start-ups like Knight-funded Voiceofsandiego.org and Texas Tribune to help produce more localized content.

Knight Art Grants Go National Today

June 8, 2010, 2:59 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

The Knight Foundation's new nationwide arts initiative kicks off today as six arts groups in Charlotte receive the program's first round of grants to enrich and engage their community.

Recipients range from the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art to WDAV Classical Public Radio (see complete grantee list below.) The grants aspire to spark conversations, celebrate the region's diversity and strengthen established and emerging institutions.

'All residents can become more engaged in their community through a vibrant arts scene,' said Dennis Scholl, the Knight Foundation's vice president/arts. 'We looked at projects that could lift these organizations to the next level.'

Scholl, an art collector and advocate named vice president/arts earlier this year, is working with leaders in eight U.S. communities to identify and fund innovative cultural programs that enhance community engagement. Those Knight communities are: Akron, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit, Mich.; Macon, Ga.; Miami, Fla.; Philadelphia, Pa.; San Jose, Calif.; and St. Paul, Minn.

In Miami, Scholl also leads the Knight Arts Challenge, a $40 million initiative to unite South Florida through the arts.

The Charlotte recipients are:

 

Knight Brings Veteran Latin American Journalists to Harvard

June 8, 2010, 12:05 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Photo: Pablo Corral Vega

Harvard's 25 newly announced Nieman Journalism Fellows for 2011 include two Latin American Fellows sponsored by Knight Foundation.

Photojournalist Pablo Corral Vega of Ecuador founded nuestramirada.org, a social network for Latin American documentary photographers, while he was a resident professional at the University of Miami School of Communications' Knight Center for International Media. As a Nieman Fellow, Pablo plans to build on his new media focus by studying how online networks can encourage and support collaboration between journalists, as well as promote transparency and human rights.

The other Knight Latin American Nieman Fellow is veteran independent journalist Hollman Morris Rinc'n of Colombia. Hollman directs and produces CONTRAVIA TV, which has given a voice to indigenous people, peasants and other marginalized citizens of Colombia. As a Nieman Fellow, Hollman will focus on human rights issues, studying international criminal court procedures and strategies to negotiate conflict.

John Bracken to Direct Knight's Digital Media Grants

June 3, 2010, 9:14 a.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

John Bracken, an expert in online innovation, will direct the foundation's grantmaking in digital media.

As Knight's director of new media, Bracken will also lead the Knight News Challenge. He previously managed the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's investments in technology and innovation and global Internet freedom.

From today's release: "John is already a leading digital media grant maker," said Eric Newton, vice president of Knight Foundation's journalism program. "His work will only grow in impact as all news organizations seek to invent or reinvent themselves for the digital age."

'In a world of constant technological and social change, it's essential that we fund a wide range of experiments that will help point the way we will share and use information in this democracy,' said Alberto Ibarügen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation.' 'Only by intense experimentation and staying open to new trends and ideas can we hope to sustainably provide communities with the information they need to function in an open society.'

Former Palo Alto Mayor Judith Kleinberg Joins Knight Foundation

June 2, 2010, 10:18 a.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

Judith Kleinberg

Judith Kleinberg, a former Palo Alto mayor and attorney with extensive experience in the tech and nonprofit sectors, is Knight Foundation's new program director for San Jose and Silicon Valley.

Kleinberg, who was most recently the vice president, COO and general counsel of the Google-created InSTEDD, will work with local leaders to help foster an informed and engaged San Jose/Silicon Valley region.

From this week's release: 'Judy brings an entrepreneurial vision and deep networks to Knight Foundation ' both of which will be critical to helping create transformational change,' said Trabian Shorters, the foundation's vice president for communities.