Knight Blog

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

Livestream tomorrow: Analysis of 2010 political campaign ads

May 20, 2011, 1:06 p.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

During last year’s mid-term elections, the Knight-funded Wesleyan Media Project provided real-time analysis of the 1.6 million political ads aired on behalf of state and federal candidates. Together they cost a record breaking $735 million – and comprised the most negative campaign in history, the project found.

Tomorrow at 10 a.m. EDT, watch online as the project’s leaders delve into how they went about their analysis. The seminar is being livestreamed here.

Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibargüen, a Wesleyan alum, will speak along with Assistant Government Professor Erika Franklin Fowler.

What’s the impact of a community-wide arts contest?

May 19, 2011, 12:34 p.m., Posted by Mayur Patel

In 2008, Knight Foundation launched the Knight Arts Challenge in Miami, a five-year, $40 million initiative to support the most innovative and transformational arts ideas in South Florida. Since then, 78 grants have been awarded to a range of projects, everything from live concerts to ballet, film festivals and opera performances. In November, we’ll announce the 2011 Challenge winners, marking the initiative’s fourth year.

2009 Knight Arts Challenge winner, the Miami Downtown Development Authority

As we approach this milestone, we’re going to be taking a deeper look at the contest’s impact to date on the Miami community. We’ve partnered with AEA consulting, one of the world’s leading cultural consulting firms, to assess the extent to which the Challenge has selected and nurtured high impact projects, helped attract new capital into the arts through its matching-grant requirement, and contributed to the overall vibrancy of the cultural sector. We hope that this interim review will provide winners and individuals involved in the arts with useful insights, and provide us with feedback to help strengthen the initiative.

The Challenge was conceived as a way to draw out and amplify good ideas about the arts from the community, showcase the best and invest in them. In short, it was hoped that a community-wide contest, open to everyone, would fuel Miami’s zeitgeist. In the assessment, we’ll be taking a look at the extent to which the Challenge has contributed to the growing momentum in the arts sector – by engaging residents who were new to the arts, helping Miami become a more supportive place for artists to live and work, and bringing together diverse communities.

We’re going to be conducting interviews and surveying winners, finalists, applicants and sector leaders to hear directly from the community about the impact of the contest. In the coming months, we’ll be sharing our findings in a series of blog posts, and releasing the interim assessment results in the fall.

As we get the assessment underway, we’re interested in ways you think we should be reviewing the contest or the kinds of questions you think we should be asking. If you have any ideas that you’d like to share with us, please get in touch.

Crossposted from

Going beyond grants: Eight new ways news nonprofits are raising revenue

May 19, 2011, 7:41 a.m., Posted by Elise Hu

This post is the third in a series about a Knight Foundation roundtable that brought together news start-ups and tech entrepreneurs. A report is forthcoming. 

Journalists are notoriously averse to math, but there’s no equation in which nonprofit news organizations can survive for the long term without a steady mix of revenue. 

The more diversified a revenue portfolio, the greater promise of stability. So the business objective for local news nonprofits has moved beyond foundation grants and major giving to multiple revenue streams. How best to get there was a central question at the Knight Foundation’s May 6 roundtable meeting of nonprofit news organizations, tech entrepreneurs and researchers.