Knight Blog

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

Five lessons in bridging the digital divide

April 5, 2012, 9:04 a.m., Posted by Jorge Martinez and Mayur Patel


Three years ago, Knight Foundation set out to find ways to bridge the digital divide in Detroit, a formidable task in a city where less than 40 percent of households have broadband access.

We approached the challenge by focusing on three, high poverty neighborhoods, and set out to fund a broadband network there in addition to digital literacy training.

What we discovered with this project could provide lessons on what works and what doesn’t for communities trying to digitally connect the 100 million Americans without home broadband access.

The insights are part of our new report on digital access in Detroit.  Written by journalist Fara Warner, it details the significant difficulties faced in installing a Wi-Fi network: one company considered building towers for free, but pulled out; another donated several towers but the signal didn’t, in the end, cover the entire area. 

Nonprofits and civic leaders seeking to close the digital divide in their communities should instead consider these major insights outlined in Warner’s report: innovations you can use and build upon to inform and engage communities

April 4, 2012, 8:42 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

Eric Newton, senior adviser to the President at Knight Foundation, launched this morning at the American Society of News Editors meeting in Washington D.C. on a panel called "What Should Newsrooms Be Doing Now?" 

appscollageNewton said daily newspapers needed to experiment with digital journalism tools three times faster and ten times more frequently than they are now doing and suggested a good place to start was with already available open source software. 

More notes from the panel are available at is the place to learn more about Knight News Challenge projects and the other Knight grants that have created and released open-source software.

Akron program to increase retention and graduation of black males shows early sign of success

April 3, 2012, 3:29 p.m., Posted by Jennifer Thomas


The Rising to the Occasion program in Akron is well under way and showing signs of early success.

Supported by Knight since 2010, the program seeks to increase the retention and graduation of African American males from the University of Akron.

roebuckwrightTroy Roebuck and Travell Wright (pictured), two of the first year students in the African American Male Learning Community this year, have just been admitted into University of Akron’s Honors College.  

Additionally, Travell has also been named Outstanding Student of the Year in English by Summit College.

The University of Akron is exceptionally proud of these two young men as well as the entire Rising to the Occasion Program. 

The Rising to the Occasion Program is part of Knight Foundation's Black Male Engagement Initiative, which seeks to engage black men and boys in strengthening their commuinities.

By Jennifer Thomas, program director/Akron at Knight Foundation