MIAMI - Thoroughly documented, hard-nosed investigative reporting on matters of public policy is difficult, time-consuming, costly - and controversial. For the past 10 years, the nonpartisan, non-ideological Center for Public Integrity has developed a reputation for filling the void left by the withdrawal of many media organizations from the in-depth reporting field.
A $1 million grant from Knight Foundation approved in March will support the center's continued in-depth studies designed to inform and enlighten the media and the public through investigations of public service, government accountability and ethics-related issues. Knight's funding will help the center research and issue reports on such topics as the insurance industry, the 2002 election and the influence of lobbyists in state government.
"The Center for Public Integrity's work is based on the oldest proposition of democratic government - that an informed public is essential to the system's continuing vitality," said Hodding Carter III, Knight Foundation's president and CEO. "CPI is an honest supplier of hard-won information about public issues. The quality of its journalism is a welcome reminder that there is more to the news business than tabloid values and personnel cutbacks."
Knight grants are also supporting several programs to promote advanced training for journalists seeking deeper knowledge of such specialty topics as aging, education and nonprofits.
First, the International Longevity Center, headed by Dr. Robert Butler, a medical pioneer in the field of aging, will use a $259,000 Knight grant to conduct a trio of three-day seminars aimed at professional print and electronic journalists. Given the reality of an aging population that will result in the largest population over 65 in world history, the seminars are designed to help combat ageism and provide journalists with information on the longevity revolution.
Second, based on research into teacher education by John I. Goodlad of the University of Washington, the Institute for Educational Inquiry, Seattle, will use a $300,000, three-year Knight grant to conduct short seminars for up to 18 journalists and educators a year. The seminars are designed to increase understanding of what is needed to improve communications between educators and journalists.
Finally, a Knight grant of $338,000 to the University of Mississippi will help educate journalists about the nonprofit sector, based on the expertise of associate professor Burnis R. Morris. The program aims to increase the industry's understanding of this important sector of the economy that currently employs more than 15 million workers. Mississippi will conduct a five-day workshop for three consecutive years and publish a manual to help midcareer journalists learn more about the nonprofit sector.
In all, Knight trustees approved 19 grants in March to U.S. journalism organizations totaling $9.9 million.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities.
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 www.knightfoundation.org.