Knight Blog

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

Knight News Challenge: Libraries opens for entries

Sept. 10, 2014, 9 a.m., Posted by John Bracken


Our latest Knight News Challenge is now open for entries through 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Sept. 30. The question is: “How might we leverage libraries as a platform to build more knowledgeable communities?” We’re seeking projects that build on the transformational power of libraries and use their ideas, principles and assets in innovative ways to help people learn about the world around them and engage in the places they live.

We’ve committed $2.5 million to fund the best ideas that reimagine the role of libraries in the digital age, and we’ll announce the winners early next year. They will join a growing network of past projects that includes  DocumentCloud, MapBox, Safecast, Wikipedia and the New York and Chicago public libraries.

Creating a more connected Charlotte, N.C.

Sept. 9, 2014, 12:52 p.m., Posted by Susan Patterson

A cyclist rides through a bike-friendly intersection in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by Flickr user Justin Swan.

In August, 34 officials and community leaders from nine Knight communities traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, and Malmo, Sweden, to study how to make their cities more livable. The trip was organized by 8-80 Cities and sponsored by Knight Foundation.

The Charlotte, N.C., team members who traveled to Scandinavia had a range of experience on bicycles; they identified themselves as a mountain biker, a neighborhood rider, an up-for-anything gal and two haven’t-done-this-since-childhood worriers. We all left Copenhagen with a new appreciation for what a cycling city feels like.

We experienced cycling in rain and in sunshine, on a lazy Sunday afternoon and during a hectic morning rush hour, on separate bike lanes and in the middle of cars and pedestrians.

In Copenhagen, bikes and cyclists surrounded us. Our team: Crescent Communities CEO Todd Mansfield,  Foundation for the Carolinas Executive VP Brian Collier, City Councilmember Vi Lyles, Assistant County Manager Leslie Johnson and me.

Zoe Strauss, capturing unexpected moments in time

Sept. 8, 2014, 10:06 a.m., Posted by Juan Carlos PĂ©rez-Duthie

"Unscripted Art Chat" with Zoe Strauss and Knight Foundation VP/Arts Dennis Scholl. Photo courtesy Nathan Valentine/

In spite of the bombardment of images and information that have become a mainstay of life today, Zoe Strauss still believes in the power of that one single image that cements a moment in time and touches lives in unexpected ways.

Strauss, a 44-year-old self-taught photographer who first picked up a camera at age 30, was the focus of the third art chat sponsored this year by Bal Harbour Village’s “Unscripted Art Projects,” a public arts program started three years ago to bring arts to the community, commission works to make Bal Harbour a creative destination and to foster critical dialogue.

The Philadelphia native was interviewed Sept. 4 during the event at One Bal Harbour Resort & Spa by Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for Knight Foundation and an art collector who, along with his wife Debra, knows Strauss’ work well.

Against a background of her photos, the unassuming and casually dressed Strauss spoke with Scholl about what motivates her, how her photography actually happens, about the reality that she wants to share through the lens of her camera and how what she photographs is related to a particular person or place or moment.

“There are very specific images that mark periods of time for people,” said Strauss, “where one can say, ‘This is where I was at this particular time,’ and invoke something very different from the constant barrage of images and videos that we are normally inundated with.”

People can refer to those images to evoke an emotion or feeling, or relive a particular chapter of their lives.