Knight Blog

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

Bringing the medical school model of journalism to Central Georgia

July 19, 2012, 9:45 a.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

In just a few weeks, reporters from the Macon Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting will move into a new newsroom, bringing the medical school model of journalism to Central Georgia. And shortly after that, the first students from Mercer University will join them at the university’s Center for Collaborative Journalism, reporting alongside and learning the latest in digital storytelling from professional journalists from the two organizations.

Their newsroom will be named for Peyton Anderson, the former owner of the Telegraph, whose foundation today announced a $1 million gift to the effort. The new support means the center has met its funding goal.

The center launched in December with more than $4 million in support from Knight Foundation, which was founded by Jack and Jim Knight, also one-time Telegraph owners.

As the Telegraph reported today, the combined support ‘‘sends an incredibly powerful message about how vitally important it is that our community continues to receive the same high level of public service journalism that we have delivered for 185 years,” Telegraph Publisher George McCanless said.

An update on Knight News Challenge: Data

July 19, 2012, 8:50 a.m., Posted by John Bracken

knc reviewers


Based on the comments from our team of advisers who helped review the apps and our internal own review, we’ve selected and are in the process of contacting 16 finalists in the Knight News Challenge: Data. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be doing in-person interviews or video chats with each of them them. We’ll announce that list of finalists, and the winners of the contest, in September.

This morning, we’ve also sent an email to the remaining 765 letting them know that they will not be receiving funding via the the News Challenge. One of the great things about the News Challenge is that it exposes us (and everyone else who reads the entries) to ideas and people. While we can fund only a fraction of the ideas that come through the News Challenge, we have other means for funding promising initiatives. For example, last month, we announced a grant to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to fund an idea that originally came to us through the News Challenge on Networks. And our new prototype fund  allows us to test ideas quickly - we announced some that will receive funding last month. We’ve begun to reach out to some News Challenge applicants to explore whether their ideas might fit this program, and we plan to announce some prototype grants soon.

Here are a few of the insights we took from last week’s review session:

  • A need for partners. We saw many projects with promising concepts or products, but that need partnerships with news organizations or others to test their use cases and find social impact. There’s a need for better partner matching in the media innovation space.
  • Data standardization. A segment of applications dealt with the need for standardization of data.
  • Designing for user experiences. The strongest projects were those that joined compelling uses of data with an experience carefully designed for a well-understood group of users. Many data projects are taking the next step from availability to effective presentation and interaction.

The ProPublica Pair Programming Project

July 18, 2012, 10:27 a.m., Posted by Scott Klein



Come code with us! The ProPublica Pair Programming Project -- or P5 -- opens the ProPublica News Apps desk to newsroom coders who want to work on a ProPublica project, or to finish a project of their own, from the ProPublica offices in New York. P5 is made possible by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Maybe you’re the only coder in your newsroom, or you’re the best coder on your graphics desk. Maybe you’re a javascript hacker who’s been trying to finish a crime map for your local site and sitting with other news coders will help you finish it. Maybe you’re a coder who’s never worked in news but has entered an Open Data contest or two and is looking to see what newsroom coding is all about.

A news app is a web-based interactive database that tells a journalistic story using software instead of words and pictures. It’s code and it’s journalism — both at once, and by the same people. News apps are an exciting, emerging discipline within journalism.

Each P5 participant will work in the New York offices of ProPublica for 2-4 days, depending on the scope of the project they’re working on.

Goal: Growing the Field

P5 will provide mentorship, advice, and an environment where good work can actually happen.

The mission of this project is to increase the number of people doing this kind of work, and to encourage newsrooms to see this as work to be fostered. We hope to establish that this is a basic journalistic function and not a faddish, high-tech gizmo, by exposing talented journalists to a fully functioning department.

This is a brand new idea for ProPublica. We admit we don’t have all the answers so if you’re awesome but some of this doesn’t quite describe you, apply anyway. However, this really isn’t and can’t be a program that will teach non-developers how to code. You’ll need the skills to hack with us and to go back to your newsroom ready to take it the rest of the way to the finish line.

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