Knight Blog

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

Teaching journalism skills in the digital age

Oct. 10, 2012, 9:54 a.m., Posted by Vicki Krueger


Knight supports The Poynter Institute's NewsU to enhance journalists' digital skills. Here Vicki Krueger, its director of Interactive Learning, highlights some of its accomplishments. Above: Ellyn Angelotti, faculty, Digital Trends and Social Media; and Howard Finberg, director of Training Partnerships, Alliances and Founding Director of Poynter News University. Photo Credit: Jim Stem.

With more than 275 training modules and users in more than 200 countries, Poynter News University has achieved a global impact that wasn't anticipated when the e-learning site launched in 2005. NewsU has become the world's largest e-learning site devoted to journalism skills training.

Thanks to support from Knight Foundation, Poynter was an early adopter of e-learning. NewsU has stayed at the forefront of online training as education moves into the era of the Massive Online Open Course movement, including such projects as Coursera. NewsU, with more than 225,000 registered users is a leader in innovative e-learning.

"NewsU is an anchor for professional development in a turbulent training environment," said Dr. Karen Brown Dunlap, president of The Poynter Institute. "It serves individuals and organizations, practicing journalists and the future of journalism by reaching educators and students. It also serves the public in ways we never imagined. It helps citizens better understand the purposes and practices of journalism and it teaches the skills of journalism to communicators globally."

In addition to core writing, editing and reporting courses, hallmarks of Poynter's training, NewsU has been at the forefront of teaching journalism skills in the digital age, including mobile apps, Twitter, Facebook, SEO and more. In November, NewsU will conclude a Webinar series on social media skills.

Other recent curriculum initiatives include entrepreneurship, news literacy and media leadership, including these self-directed courses:

Change by Us: breaking down boundaries between residents and decision-makers

Oct. 9, 2012, 10:29 a.m., Posted by ChangeByUs



Knight Foundation recently announced support for four projects that use technology to empower communties, including Change by Us, a site that connects grassroots projects with city leaders and neighbors to help put ideas into action. Here, the people behind the site write about what's next for the project. 

We launched Change by Us in 2011 to help break down the boundaries between residents and decision-makers through a convenient, fun civic springboard for community ideas. Formerly titled Give a Minute, the adapted project was a partnership between CEOs for Cities and Local Projects, and funded by Knight Foundation. All of the organizations involved believed in its success and its potential to make waves in communities.

Fast-forward just over one year, and this small idea has evolved into a platform for positive change—proving to be an incredible tool for making these necessary connections. Any person can hop online and instantly submit an idea, create and seek out volunteers for a project, or get involved with one created. Well, any person living in New York, Philadelphia or Phoenix.

That last point is an example of the critiques we could (and have) make about the usability and design of the platform. Though we’re incredibly proud of the action that has sprouted from the platform (have you heard about the chicken coop that popped up in the Bronx?), neglecting some of these very serious limitations reflected since its launch would be a mistake. With additional funding from Knight Foundation, we hope to address these shortcomings and evolve our technology, driving its vision even further. Here are some of the changes (by us!) that you can expect to see in version 3.0:


Our Miami: fostering a stronger sense of community

Oct. 8, 2012, 12:07 p.m., Posted by Javier Alberto Soto

Just over two years ago, Knight Foundation released the findings from its third consecutive Soul of the Community study. Readers of this blog are likely familiar with this groundbreaking work. For those newer, the Soul Poll explored what people like about where they live, and how that impacts local economic growth.  

As The Miami Foundation is the permanent endowment holder for our community, we are naturally very interested in this research. We also asked how people’s perceptions about Miami align with how we are actually performing as a community.

It is from this vantage that The Miami Foundation embarked on Our Miami: Soul of the City.

As part of Our Miami, we collected and analyzed data that provided insight on Soul of the Community. Our society is increasingly mobile and our community increasingly global, often giving people the opportunity to live anywhere. More than 2.5 million people from more than 70 countries choose to call Miami home. Yes, we have world-class sports teams, renowned beaches and nightlife, lush farmlands and a vibrant urban core. Beyond these instantly recognizable assets, however, we wanted to understand the bonds between Miami and our residents.

Through the research, we discovered that we have a lot in common. Whether you are a second generation Cuban-American college student at the University of Miami, or a retired Jewish woman living in North Miami Beach, we all appreciate the Miami aesthetic, how welcome we feel, what there is to do and what we can learn while doing it.

Our Miami highlights the assets that abound around us and sheds light on areas in which we still have work to do.