Knight Blog

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

Community news and info: Pew Research expands on Knight nonprofit news report

March 20, 2012, 2:44 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller



The newly released 2012 State of the Media report provides an in-depth look at how community news sites are faring.

The report, released by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism interviewed key experts in the industry, including Knight’s Eric Newton and Michele McLellan, journalist and Knight consultant.

Here are some highlights:

Revenue Streams

Community news sites need to develop multiple revenue streams, the report said: “The most successful (and therefore sustainable), sites are those with a range of revenue streams, which can include local foundations, advertising, subscriptions, special events and membership campaigns, for example.”

Newton told Pew: “The more varied the sources of revenue, the better.”

The emphasis on diversified revenue streams expands on a Knight Foundation on how nonprofit news ventures seek sustainability. The report looked at some of the country’s leading online local nonprofit news ventures, and concluded that successful news organizations – even the nonprofit ones  - have to act like digital businesses, particularly making revenue experimentation an important piece of the mix.

Social media reporting project from Afghanistan set to debut as multi-media performance

March 20, 2012, 9:28 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller



Photos by Teru Kuwayama

Basetrack, a social media reporting project that accompanied a marine battalion on a deployment in Afghanistan, will be adapted into a series of theater performance next week at Juilliard in New York.

The multi-media performances will include projections of photos, videos, Facebook transcripts-as-dialogue, tweets and live performance.

The project, a 2010 Knight News Challenge winner, built on its director Teru Kuwayama’s nine years of experience working as a freelance journalist in Afghanistan.

Knight recently interviewed Kuwayama and Edward Bilous, the director of the new Center for Innovation in the Arts at Juilliard, to learn more about the story behind the performances and what viewers can expect.  

Knight Foundation: What's the story behind how Basetrack was adapted for the upcoming theater performance?

Edward Bilous: When I saw Teru's work last year, I was so moved by not only the power of the story and images but by the newness of the experience.  While journalism and art have always shared some common terrain - conveying, sharing and expressing human experiences - Teru's work is somehow both journalism and art.  I am fascinated by this concept.  I believe Basetrack has opened the door for many other creative artists.

News Challenge Networks is closed, discussion continues

March 19, 2012, 1:17 p.m., Posted by John Bracken

2011 News Challenge entries on Tumblr

Over the weekend, we stopped accepting entries in the Knight News Challenge on networks.

The challenge closes with more than 1,000 applications - a number higher than we expected. About two-thirds of those were submitted in the last 48 hours of the contest, which was expected.

Among the applicants are some recognizable names, as well as ideas from people you may not have heard about before, such as PressLab Uganda, Project W, CASH Music and the Open Watch Project. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) submitted five entries, besting former News Challenge winner and current MIT Media Lab student and Knight Mozilla fellow Dan Schultz, who only managed to submit four times.

Most - or 88% - were posted on our Tumblr. Through March 29, you’ll be able to comment and like the ideas you see there. The five applications that receive the most support will move into a second round of consideration, along with 95 or so others.

The challenge on networks is more competitive than in years past. This year, we’re running three contests, which means that instead of 12-15 winners per contest, we plan to select 4 or 5. As a result, we will only be funding about  .05% .5% of applications before us. (By comparison, last year Harvard admitted 6.2% of the applicants to its freshmen class.)