Knight Blog

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

More noteworthy journalism and media books by Knight partners

March 1, 2012, 9:24 a.m., Posted by Eric Newton


Clay Johnson argues for infoveganism at the Center for Civic Media. Photo Credit: Flickr user J. Nathan Matias.

Noteworthy journalism and media books by Knight partners keep coming. These two made me want to flash back to two previous blogs:

Killing the MessengerThomas Peele of the Bay Area News Group has written a story that cries out for a movie deal. It’s about “radical faith, racism’s backlash and the assassination of a journalist.”  In vivid detail, Killing the Messenger gives you the big picture around the death of Chauncey Bailey, the Oakland Post editor shotgunned in 2007 on a street corner for investigating a troubled local business called Your Muslim Bakery. Bailey was the first journalist murdered for trying to do journalism in this country since Don Bolles was killed in 1976 by a car bomb for exposing mafia ties to Arizona land deals.

Peele tells the history of Black Muslims, leading you to Oakland where the movement became a cover for a violent cult run by Yusuf Bey, who beat and raped dozens of women he claimed were his wives and fathered more than 40 children.  Bey’s 21-year-old son, Yusuf Bey IV, took over the bakery after his father’s death. It was Bey IV who was convicted of masterminding the Bailey murder. Bey IV and an accomplice are looking at life without parole. The trigger man, who confessed, got 25 years.

Knight Foundation’s role was to grant the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education $125,000 to create the Chauncey Bailey project – so nonprofit, commercial and student journalists from all media could investigate the murder. Thomas Peele was an important member of that project.

Did the project matter? Said District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley: “I would especially like to recognize and acknowledge the Chauncey Bailey Project (which) worked diligently and tirelessly to ensure that the defendants responsible for these senseless murders were brought to justice."  A public official speaks highly of journalists! Even so, you won’t find those words in Peele’s book. Like many good investigative reporters, he does not like to put himself into the story. I spoke about this issue at last year’s investigative reporting convention. My question: If investigative journalists don’t explain their impact, who will?

Cinequest celebrates young filmmakers who inspire to create global change

March 1, 2012, 9:09 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller


Youth filmmakers from the Picture the Possibilities program

Starting today, the Cinequest film festival in San Jose/Silicon Valley will showcase films created by young people, using their stories as a way to inspire positive social change.

Picture the Possibilities empowers young people from all over the world with the innovative tools, mentors and training necessary to produce the films. The program also connects them with leaders around the world to share ideas and gain a better understanding of community.

Today, at a private event for participants,  the films will be watched by media, business, cultural and political leaders. Participants will engage in conversations with the young filmmakers and suggest means to transform their visions into tangible plans to effect change, both locally and globally.

The event takes place not only in San Jose/Silicon Valley, but also simultaneously in five other cities where the teen filmmakers are from: Beijing, Shanghai, New York City, Los Angeles and Mexico City.

Approximately 150 young people were part of the program and were helped by a team of filmmakers who offered advice in writing scripts, shooting and editing as part of a film boot-camp. In total, 19 films were shot and focused on issues of immigration, obesity, living in post 9/11 New York City and more.

Tomorrow, the Picture the Possibilities website goes live. The site will be accessible at and feature the top films as well as personal profiles of the filmmakers and other e-learning opportunities.

Annual TED prize awarded to the city of the future

Feb. 29, 2012, 9:48 p.m., Posted by Damian Thorman

Video: Razorfish

Just moments ago here in Long Beach, Calif., TED unveiled the details of its annual prize in support of “one wish to change the world.” This year, the award is not going to a person, but to an idea: the City 2.0, the city of the future.

Over the coming year, TED will be asking leaders, innovators and citizens to create a new urban way of living, where 10 billion people can live healthily and sustainably. 

With Knight Foundation support, a new platform,, will allow people everywhere to help create their own future city. Citizens will able to propose – and lead – projects to upgrade their own cities on issues important to them – from transportation to public housing and recreational space and more. Civic and business leaders from around the globe will share ideas and resources.

In essence, as TED says, it’s a design challenge for one of the biggest issues of our day.