Knight Blog

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

Unlocking Citizen Philanthropy in Detroit

Feb. 1, 2012, 11:06 a.m., Posted by Rishi Jaitly

When I first starting falling for Michigan years ago (a courtship that eventually led to starting Michigan Corps in 2010), my affection for this place was always rooted in people.

I had never been somewhere where everyone was so self-aware of place and eager to participate in place. I had to join in and wondered, What if we could use technology - and more - to make it easy for everyone to share in this place’s renaissance and work with one another on consensus change?

Citizen Effect’s launch of Detroit4Detroit last week showcases the best of that aspiration.

That's why Knight Foundation supports the project, which is helping 150 Detroiters partner with local organizations to lead 150 social-change projects across the city. This Free Press article offers a sense for the kind of work Detroiters will be leading across issues like education, health and food security.

‘Open Journalism’ – has the time finally arrived?

Jan. 31, 2012, 1 p.m., Posted by Eric Newton

Miami’s winter holiday breezes are usually refreshing, but this year, particularly so, thanks to a discussion paper we saw in December from Melanie Sill for the University of Southern California.  Finally, influential journalists are talking more seriously about a basic question of the digital age: How can they go beyond just informing communities to actually engage them? Former Sacramento Bee editor and senior vice president Sill concludes that professional journalism can indeed be “transparent, responsive and enriched through vibrant two-way connections with a networked universe.” In “The Case for Open Journalism Now,” she details open, collaborative approaches gaining use at news organizations across the country.


Eric Newton, Senior Adviser to the President at Knight Foundation

What’s Open Journalism? I’d describe it as trading up from the industrial age one-way assembly-line idea of mass media to the 21st century, computer-age, two-way networked system of communication, the information world that is the one most of us really live in.  The open approach turn lectures into conversations. It means we celebrate not just our nation’s need to know but its need to tell. And newsrooms define communities not as “the great unwashed” but see them as a collection of many voices struggling to be heard.

Knight Community Info Challenge winners reflect a broad range of ideas and projects

Jan. 31, 2012, 9:04 a.m., Posted by Michele McLellan


What is the Knight Community Information Challenge looking for? So far, the contest, offering matching funds to community and place-based foundations, has funded a wide variety of ideas – and Knight is always looking for fresh approaches.

In general, Knight is looking for projects that help fill community information needs, foster community engagement and help residents participate in the creation and sharing of news and information. 

It may be helpful to browse previous winners. But keep in mind that Knight is not wedded to any particular models of news and information.

This challenge also is not designed to help community or place-based foundations improve their media relations and marketing, or expand their own Web sites, important though these might be.

Here are examples of 10 types of projects the Challenge has funded: