Columbia Journalism Review to Receive $1 Million Grant from Knight Foundation

MIAMI — Columbia Journalism Review, one of the nation's most respected journals of news media self-scrutiny, has received $1 million in support for the next four years from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The $1 million challenge grant to Columbia University, publisher of CJR, is one of 13 journalism grants awarded by the foundation's trustees at their March board meeting. Knight Foundation supports organizations engaged in the education of current and future journalists, journalism excellence and the defense of a free press worldwide.

Published since 1961 by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, CJR was an early entrant in the field of journalism reviews. CJR set out “to assess the performance of journalism in all its forms, to call attention to its shortcomings and its strengths, and to help define – or redefine – standards of honest, responsible service.

”Like many “thought leader” publications, including American Journalism Review (AJR), CJR has struggled financially. Since 1998, under the new direction of Columbia Dean Tom Goldstein and Publisher David Laventhol, CJR has a new design, a new focus and a sharpened business plan to increase its circulation and advertising revenues. Knight's grant includes a challenge to raise additional support from other funders to ensure the magazine's future stability.

In 1999, Knight Foundation made a similar $1 million grant to support AJR.“We are grateful to the Knight Foundation for this generous and timely gift,” said Goldstein. “Columbia Journalism Review makes a vital contribution to the crucial and ongoing national debate about what is right – and wrong – with journalism. Knight foundation's support is indispensable to furthering the national conversation on this crucial subject.

”A cross-disciplinary grant of $825,000 will help two Harvard University graduate schools combine to expand and deepen the reach of a professional development institute on "The Media and American Democracy." The Graduate School of Education's Programs in Professional Education and the Kennedy School of Government's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy have collaborated on the joint program emphasizing the media and its direct relationship to civic responsibility that will reach 1,300 people, including teachers and students.Knight's grant will support a one-week summer institute on the media and democracy for 125 secondary school humanities teachers.

The institute will develop strategic partnerships with five other universities or schools of communications around the country, develop workshops with them and distribute curriculum materials.Other journalism grants of notes approved by Knight's board include:

  • The Society of Environmental Journalists, a $200,000 grant over two years for a series of programs designed to improve the quality, accuracy and visibility of environmental reporting.Fred Friendly Seminars, a $85,000 grant for the outreach campaign and evaluation associated with the program “The Press and the Public: Election 2000.”Southern Scholarship Foundation, a $75,000 grant to sponsor and recruit 10 journalism students to Florida A&M University and to maintain the Knight scholarship house at Florida A&M.San Francisco State University Foundation, $525,000 over three years to train and involve five other Bay Area colleges in San Francisco State's successful newsroom diversity program. Those colleges are: California State University-Fresno, City College of San Francisco, Laney College in Oakland, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill and Contra Costa College in San Pablo.World Press Institute, St. Paul, a $200,000 grant for general operating support.Syracuse University, a $250,000 grant over three years to expand the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) as an information service for news organizations. TRAC is a joint program of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the School of Management at Syracuse.American Newspaper Repository, a $100,000 grant to house temporarily and catalogue a collection of rare bound volumes of the New York World, the New York Herald-Tribune and the Chicago Times.The Progressive Media Project, $60,000 over two years to expand the “Voices of Diversity” program.
  • The University of Georgia Foundation, a $46,620 grant to provide journalism administrators with techniques to increase the representation of women and racial and ethnic minorities on journalism faculties in the United States.

Established in 1950, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation makes national grants in journalism, education and arts and culture. Its fourth program, community initiatives, is concentrated in 26 communities where the Knight brothers published newspapers, but the Foundation is wholly separate from and independent of those newspapers.

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 www.knightfoundation.org.