Knight Blog

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

Data journalism site InfoAmazonia will add ground reporting to its environmental coverage

April 11, 2014, 2:38 p.m., Posted by International Center for Journalists


Photo credit: Flickr user Zach Lee. The following is crossposted from

Environmental news site InfoAmazonia, which pioneered using satellite data for reporting, is adding a new source to its coverage: observations from the ground.

The site will gather and share information from people living and working in the Amazon, including “indigenous communities, researchers, NGOs, students and engaged citizens acting on social media,” said Brazil-based data journalist Gustavo Faleiros, who founded the site. These reports will show how “data from satellites in the sky relates to the reality on the ground.”

“The perspective from human observation [will add] to the precision of the data provided by satellite,” said Faleiros, who leads InfoAmazonia as part of his ICFJ Knight International Journalism Fellowship. “We believe that bringing citizen information to the platform will add depth and context to data we obtain by remote sensing.”

For example, when InfoAmazonia updates its map of deforestation in the region with fresh satellite data, communities in the affected regions can verify the new information and help explain it.

“Satellites do see a lot of things, but they do not tell you the reasons why an area of forest has been cleared,” Faleiros said. Is it “now being used for cattle ranching or mining? You can guess based on your experience, but the real story, the characters involved, the human dimension will emerge from the ground reporting.”

To make it happen, InfoAmazonia is partnering with NGOs in the nine countries of the Amazon rainforest region. The crowdsourcing initiative has financial support from the Avina and Skoll foundations. Together, they are donating US$114,000 for InfoAmazonia to build applications that enable citizen reporting, data sharing and fact checking.

TEDxPhiladelphia 2014: ‘A toast to those who jump’

April 11, 2014, 2:27 p.m., Posted by Emaleigh Doley


Philadelphia Jazz Project's Nimrod Speakers and Bethlehem Roberson perform following Natalie Nixon's rousing talk on the future of work, which she posited "will look like jazz." Photo by Kevin Monko.

Emaleigh Doley is co-producer of TEDxPhiladelphia 2014. Knight Foundation was the title sponsor of the conference.

More than 1,100 thinkers, makers and doers took a break from the hustle and bustle of the city to explore Philadelphia’s urban reinvention at TEDxPhiladelphia recently, offering a wide range of perspectives designed to provoke, engage and excite  but, most important, spark new ideas, new conversations and new ways of changing our corner of the world.

The sold-out crowd at the March 28 conference listened intently to 21 speakers at Temple Performing Arts Center during the day, everyone from funders and financiers to educators and organizers, guided by the theme “The New Workshop of the World.”

The historic former Baptist temple has hosted some of the country’s most prominent intellectual and political figures, from civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Helen Keller.

Macon, Ga., celebrates success—and the future—the College Hill Way

April 11, 2014, 9:10 a.m., Posted by Beverly Blake

Report to the community 2014, via YouTube

How do you create a neighborhood renaissance? With determination, a great framework, committed investors—and most important—people who care about the place they call home and will put their own self-interests aside for the greater good.

The people of College Hill—neighbors, Mercer University, the Community Foundation of Central GeorgiaHistoric Macon and Macon-Bibb County government—have worked together over the past five years to revitalize the 2-square-mile area between Mercer and historic downtown Macon. We recently marked our shared success with a party that featured music, fellowship and the unveiling of the new College Hill video. We celebrated the fact that the master framework guiding the renaissance is 95 percent complete (some would say 100 percent because the other 5 percent consists of infrastructure improvements to be completed by government). We also celebrated new friendships and partnerships, our diverse and affordable neighborhoods, and mostly, being a part of something truly remarkable: bringing the urban core of Macon back to life.

When we envisioned the College Hill Corridor in 2007, the overarching goal was to attract talented young people to Macon and convince them to make their lives here. They are the future of our city. Little did we know that many of those talented people were right here but hidden in plain sight. The College Hill Corridor Commission and the Knight Neighborhood Challenge helped highlight these everyday leaders, and allowed them to create the future of this place. Now we have a model to share with others, exhibiting how people of good faith, with a solid plan and the desire to improve the community—without worrying about who gets the credit—can make lasting change happen.