Knight Blog

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

News21 investigation into tainted seafood in the U.S. informs’s coverage of food safety

Oct. 6, 2011, 3:04 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

Organoleptic Specialist Steven Angold inspects seafood at the FDA's $40 million facility in Irvine, Calif. Photo: Kyle Bruggeman/News21

Earlier this week, Knight Foundation blogged about how the student-led News21 program published a major food safety investigation in The Washington Post and on’s coverage continued with a story on how tainted seafood reaches U.S households.

According to the article, an analysis done by News21 showed the U.S. imported more than 17.6 million tons of seafood over the last decade and that only 2 percent of it went through inspection. The investigation was based on import data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This is cause for serious concern because “80 percent of the seafood in America is imported.” Furthermore:

“[A] News21 analysis of FDA import-refusal data reveals an unappetizing portrait. In more than half of cases when seafood is rejected, the fish has been deemed filthy, meaning it was spoiled or contained physical abnormalities, or it was contaminated with a foodborne pathogen. About 20 percent of those cases involved salmonella.”


Rishi Jaitly featured as one of the best and brightest in Michigan

Oct. 6, 2011, 10:57 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

Rishi Jaitly, Detroit program director for Knight Foundation, is being featured in Crain’s Detroit Business’  2011 “40 under 40” awards.

Jaitly, who joined Knight Foundation in March, works with local leaders to find and invest in opportunities for fostering an informed and engaged Detroit.

“To call Rishi Jaitly’s résumé diverse is an understatement,” Crains writes.

Before joining Knight Foundation, Jaitly co-founded and led Michigan Corps, a social network for local and global Michiganders committed to advancing education and entrepreneurship in their home state. Michigan Corps, along with ACCION USA and Knight Foundation, were successful in launching Kiva Detroit, the first in-country branch of Kiva, which brings microloans to Detroit small businesses.

Jaitly also spent four years at Google, both as a speechwriter for Eric Schmidt and as a public affairs specialist in India, where he worked on a voter information project and persuaded the Pakistani and Bangladeshi governments to stop blocking various social media platforms.

In the profile, Jaitly says his goal is to see:

“More Detroiters acting, growing and seeing themselves as leaders — and I mean that across issues, across geographies, from big-business leaders to young people.”

Crain’s “40 under 40 awards” were launched 20 years ago, its goal is to honor the best and brightest in Southeast Michigan who have made their marks in business before age 40.

'Place Matters' program a fresh venue to discuss community engagement; tune in this morning

Oct. 6, 2011, 8:37 a.m., Posted by Robertson Adams

Video: Dr. Katherine Loflin worked with leaders from community foundations to find place making opportunities in the results of Knight's Soul of the Community research. Now her radio program will explore similar themes.  

The Knight Soul of the Community project is a groundbreaking study that explores what makes people love where they live, and why it matters. Using primary survey research gathered in 26 U.S. communities by Gallup for Knight from 2008 to 2010, Lead Consultant Dr. Katherine Loflin helped identify a strong correlation between how citizens feel about their local community and economic output of that community.

soul of the community


Katherine Loflin, Ph.D. speaking at the Council on Foundations Fall Conference for Community Foundations. 

Ultimately, if you love your town, prosperity follows, and it even shows up in the GDP for that town.

In the wake of these findings, Knight funded Dr. Loflin to build higher, and take a look at the implications and opportunities for U.S. communities. The result is “Place Matters,” a new weekly radio program focusing on place making and its connection to community engagement.

“The field of placemaking is really booming right now,” Loflin says. “I have a ready and hungry audience from the Soul of the Community work, and people with an avid interest in placemaking work in a variety of sectors all across the country. They are seeking the show out and tuning in the podcast. The show is really a public home for the placemaking conversation by bringing in research, thought leaders from around the country and inspiring stories and ideas from everyday citizens.”

On the first show, her guest was Fred Kent, one of the founders of the placemaking movement. He started his career with Margaret Mead in observing human behavior within city. Today Kent is the president of the Project for Public Spaces, which boasts of training thousands of participants each year in the concepts of placemaking.

The next show – set for today, Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. EDT, will take a look at the implications and opportunities of the Knight Soul of the Community project.

Future shows will showcase successful ideas from everyday citizens in placemaking; profile the innovative placemaking work of a couple of cities; have a mayor or two on who are using placemaking as a foundation of their leadership; and perhaps someone from United Nations Habitat to explain the placemaking push around the world.

If you’re in the Miami area, you can tune in the show Tuesdays on WZAB, 880-AM and everywhere else you can listen live on the Internet or fetch the podcast from iTunes. Katherine says she keeps an open line to listeners during the show through a Facebook page, and follows tweets marked #placematters and #placemaking. Follow her show on Twitter @katherineloflin.