Knight Drupal Initiative

Knight Drupal InitiativeThe Knight Drupal Initiative was a contest that tapped into a massive network of computer programmers to get their recommendations for speeding media innovation.

The contest grew out of the second year of the Knight News Challenge, when we noticed many applications using Drupal technology. Drupal is a free software package that allows an individual or a community of users to publish content online.

The Drupal community is a group of more than 350,000 members, mostly computer programmers who write free software together, collaboratively, on the web and the individuals and organizations that use the software to publish content online. The computer code they create lowers the barriers to publishing content on the Web. The Drupal community is very engaged and is focused on making Drupal’s free and open software known and available to all.

Knight Foundation asked the Drupal community to solicit, review and recommend projects for possible funding. It established an open and public application process where anyone could submit an idea or vote on anyone else’s idea. The Drupal community set up the whole application, review process and recommended their top choices. We selected the six we thought would have the greatest impact.

The goal of the contest was to:

  • Enable more people to enter the digital conversation by lowering the technical barriers to entry.

  • Provide powerful tools for digital publication – free and open to all.

  • Encourage people to improve their communities by supporting the free exchange of information and ideas.

Note that the Knight Drupal Initiative is not open for new projects at this time.

Below is a brief description of the community-recommended projects:

1. Documenting Drupal by Addison Berry

A project that intends to create clear, concise, up-to-date instructions for the Drupal software packages to allow technically inexperienced people to use Drupal as a free and open tool to exchange ideas, news and information. This grant will lower the technical barriers to the digital public square and increase the necessary flow of ideas, news and information in any community. The grantee is Addison Berry, who has been involved with the Drupal community for more than two years and currently leads Drupal’s Documentation Team. She works at Lullabot, a consulting company that has worked on some of the top Drupal sites. Berry helps maintain and is a permanent member of the Drupal Association General Assembly. More.

2. Drupal VoiceBox by Bill FitzGerald (a.k.a. LocalPublishing)

A project that intends to create a free publishing system that allows multiple geographic communities to share local news and information with one another. The publishing system will allow communities to receive, create and share information both within the community and with one another. This grant will help communities share strategies, best practices and lessons learned. The grantee is a Drupal development organization based in Oregon ( that specializes in helping organizations use social media effectively to support their mission. More.

3. Drupal for Facebook by Dave Cohen

A project that intends to allow anyone, anywhere to easily create a “one-click” Drupal online news site, and to allow those news sites and any Drupal site to be integrated into Facebook for publishing and distribution. This grant will lower the barriers to the digital public square by creating a free news platform and allowing the users of the platform and Drupal to reach Facebook and the social networks within it. The grantee is Dave Cohen, a software developer with 18 years of experience. He studied computer science at Brown University and has developed software packages for a variety of firms through his software development shop in San Francisco. More.

4. Instant Syndicating Standards by Nicholas Vidal

A project that intends to develop software that allows individuals to create and share a personalized stream of information within their social network, helping them to filter, distribute and recommend news and information to others interested in the same issues. This grant will help individuals navigate through the enormous amounts of information in their social networks to find exactly what they are looking for, increasing the exchange of news, information and ideas on social networking platforms. The grantee is Instant Syndicating Standards (ISS). A Brazilian non-profit organization dedicated to creating free, open-source software. The organization received funding through Google’s Summer of Code event in 2006 and is currently working with one of the largest universities in Brazil. More.

5. Open MicroBlogging for Drupal by Rob Loach

A project that intends to create an addition to the free, open-source Drupal web publishing system that will allow anyone to add micro-blogging functionality – the transmission of brief text updates – to a personal Drupal web site and to allow the growing number of individuals and organizations using micro-blogging to receive or distribute notices across different web sites and micro-blogging services such as Twitter. The grantee is Rob Loach, a Web developer who specializes in the development of Web applications using Drupal and open-source Linux software. He works at Mansueto Ventures in New York ( More.

6. ManagingNews by Development Seed

A project that intends to create open-source digital information tools that will help citizens better communicate and understand the news and information about their community by adding a mapping tool that allows people to geo-tag – add a geographical identification – to stories and see the location on a map of where the stories originated; and a news monitor that allows people to aggregate multiple local news sources based on topic or issue to the open and free Drupal platform. The grantee is Development Seed ( Development Seed is based in Washington D.C. and is one of the biggest and most respected software development firms working exclusively in the Drupal platform. More.


see also: 

"Knight Foundation Announces $485,380 in Funding for Six Drupal Projects"

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit