Knight Blog

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

Too much data, too few hackers

Nov. 11, 2011, 9:24 a.m., Posted by John Bracken

We've had a busy fall in the Journalism & Media Innovation Program and I wanted to share some of what we've been up to with you. 

First, I want to highlight two grants we made recently. On Thursday, we announced a grant to Northwestern's Medill School to extend a scholarship program we began in  2007 to bring software developers into the field of journalism. In his post about the grant, Medill professor and project lead Rich Gordon highlighted the work being done by graduates of the first round of the program. Among them are Knight News Challenge winner (and 2010 Chicago Tribune Outstanding EmployeeBrian Boyer, The World's Manya Gupta and Nick Allen and Andrew Paley, who are part of the team at Narrative Science. Poynter's Steve Myers pointed to the list of news developer jobs, noting that "if 48 news developers materialized out of thin air, they’d all have jobs too." Or, as Boyer puts it, "there’s too much data, and too few hackers." 

Bay Citizen election simulator demystifies new way of voting in San Francisco

Nov. 10, 2011, 2:16 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Click to launch simulator

Bay Citizen election simulator

The Bay Citizen, a nonprofit and nonpartisan news outlet, is covering the San Francisco mayor’s race with a ground-breaking interactive tool that manages to explain in simple terms the complicated ranked-choice voting system used by the city to choose the mayor and other public officials. Under ranked-choice voting, voters select their top three candidates in order of preference. The lowest vote-getters are knocked out and their votes are redistributed until one candidate wins a majority.

Extending Medill journalism scholarships for programmers

Nov. 10, 2011, 12:01 p.m., Posted by Rich Gordon

Image courtesy of Flickr user skyfaller.

The following is written by Rich Gordon and is crossposted from MediaShift Idea Lab:

Four and a half years ago, Northwestern University and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced a novel program: scholarships for people with computer programming experience to study journalism in the Medill School's master's program. It was such a sufficiently unusual idea that it got the attention of BoingBoing, one of the most popular tech/culture blogs, which ran a short item under the headline, "Turn coders into journalists (hint: add spellcheck, subtract Skittles)."

Today, the idea that journalism needs more software developers is mainstream. And that's why Medill and the Knight Foundation are announcing an extension of the scholarship program.