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

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    Engaged Communities

    For businesses, plenty of incentives to help immigrant employees pursue citizenship

    July 1, 2015, 9 a.m., Posted by Lucy Fyler

    Lucy Fyler is communications assistant for the National Immigration Forum. Photo: Becoming citizens in a naturalization ceremony. Source: Grand Canyon National Park on Flickr.

    In 2000, Marizza Contreras left her native Peru and immigrated to Miami to pursue her dream of a career in the hospitality industry.

    After working in many capacities as a spa provider, she worked her way up to oversee the onsite luxury spa at The Betsy South Beach hotel.

    Yet, despite all her hard work and dedication, Marizza was one of the 520,000 lawful permanent residents in South Florida who, despite their eligibility, struggled to apply for citizenship because of time or financial constraints.

    Then in 2013, the Betsy Hotel joined New American Workforce, and several months later, Marizza attended her naturalization ceremony in Miami.

    More than 130 businesses nationwide are currently helping their lawful permanent resident employees reach citizenship because of a partnership with New American Workforce. By connecting businesses with local immigrant service providers, New American Workforce, a project of the Knight Foundation-supported National Immigration Forum, seeks to help employees become full participants in the workplace, community and economy.

    And the project is continuing to expand in cities around the country. In June, New American Workforce officially launched its partnership with the city of New York. To mark the occasion, the New York Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and New American Workforce co-hosted a discussion with New York business and government leaders to highlight the importance of citizenship and immigrant integration.

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  • Media Innovation

    Miami design thinking workshop puts users first in innovation

    June 30, 2015, 4 p.m., Posted by Sophie Braga de Barros

    Video by Sophie Braga de Barros. Music: Bensound.

    Many organizations and startups claim to foster innovation. But do they really? That is why Jessica Do and Mariana Rego, co-founders of Design Thinking Miami, started organizing social and educational events on design thinking, a way to arrive at solutions by putting user experience first.

    From June 25 to June 27, the group partnered with Refresh Miami to host a Design Thinking for Innovation event, part of Refresh’s annual Summer Startup Series. Refresh Miami is a Knight-sponsored nonprofit that supports South Florida’s entrepreneurial and startup community with events and educational content. The weekend event kicked off with an informative talk and Q&A session with Andy Hagerman, co-founder of The Design Gym in New York and a mentor for Do and Rego.

    “Our mission is to empower people and organizations with the tools to create change,” Hagerman said. “Something we found is that a lot of organizations say that they have innovation, or say that they have creativity or different thinking and entrepreneurial spirit values. But they don’t actually know what that means on a daily basis, but they do know it’s something they should believe in.”

    Design Thinking Miami, created 10 months ago, hosts events every month to create networking opportunities among participants and to teach entrepreneurs how to reach solutions, develop ideas and execute change.

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    Eric Newton: To innovate while cutting jobs is a challenge for newspapers

    June 30, 2015, 2:46 p.m., Posted by Alfredo Casares

    This interview with Knight Foundation consultant Eric Newton, the new innovation chief at the Arizona State University Cronkite School of Journalism, was originally published by Diario de Navarro. It has been adapted for Knight Blog. (Spanish version). Photo: Eric Newton, during a conference of the World Association of Newspapers in Vienna in 2011. Credit: WAN/IFRA.

    Journalists can look at the future with optimism, even with enthusiasm. Eric Newton, a journalist and professor from the United States, believes that there are reasons to face the digital transformation of media with a good amount of excitement. Despite the liturgical culture that defends traditional writing, Newton considers that journalists are creative and will be able to adapt themselves, they will develop new skills, include the community in the process of creating news, and they will manage in a continuous flow of information in which they will not be protagonists anymore.

    “This is the best time in the history of news to be a journalism student. You can help reinvent journalism. If you are comfortable with uncertainty, if you are an explorer, if you are brave, this is your time,” he said in an interview via e-mail.

    As the adviser to the president of Knight Foundation, he supervised the payment of $300 million for journalism activities for media innovation. Last month, he accepted an offer from the Arizona State University Cronkite School of Journalism to become its innovation chief.

    Newton was recently invited by the Spanish Association of Universities with Degrees in Information and Communication to appear at a conference on “The Future of Journalism Education” at the University of Navarre in Pamplona.

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