MIAMI – Two new tenured teaching posts in the Knight Chair in Journalism program, one awarded to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the other to the University of California-Berkeley, head the list of new journalism grants by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
In all, Knight foundation's trustees approved 25 journalism grants at their September board meeting totaling more than $17 million to nonprofit organizations supporting journalism of excellence and protecting a free press worldwide. In addition to the Knight Chairs, recipients described below include a group of organizations working in the emerging world of online journalism as well as Boston University's Journalism Department, which will create a center to focus on medical and science journalism.
The University of Illinois will hire its Knight Chair in Journalism professor to take advantage of its growing emphasis on teaching investigative and enterprise reporting. At Berkeley, the Knight Chair professor will concentrate on science and technology. The two schools were chosen from among 35 Knight Chair proposals submitted to the Foundation.
Illinois and Berkeley earned the 15th and 16th Knight Chairs in the foundation's decade-long program, which has placed such noted journalism practitioners as William Raspberry, Haynes Johnson, Jacqui Banaszynski and Rosental Alves into the classrooms of the nation's top journalism and public affairs schools by endowing tenured teaching positions. Illinois and Berkeley both will receive $1.5 million grants and will conduct national searches to find the chairholders.
\"Both schools emphasized what they do best in crafting their proposals,\" said Del Brinkman, the foundation's director of Journalism Programs. \"Illinois has recruited a strong faculty steeped in the intricacies of investigative journalism, and Berkeley is at the epicenter of technology. Their Knight Chairs will expand the pool of experienced journalist-educators now engaged in sharing what they know with the news gatherers and interpreters of the 21st century.\"
Boston University's Journalism Department will use a $1,151,700 grant over three years to create the Center for Science and Medical Journalism. The center will build on BU's highly regarded graduate science journalism program by fostering teaching and learning about advancements in medicine, medical research and science. BU will start by drawing on the resources at its School of Communications, its well-regarded medical school and its science and engineering departments.
\"Greater Boston is a hub of medical, biotechnological, academic and journalistic expertise,\" said Dr. W. Gerald Austen, Knight foundation's board chairman and a noted cardiac surgeon. \"The combination of Boston University's medical school and journalism department makes it a natural spot for locating a new center that will help broaden our society's understanding of medicine and medical research.\"
William B. Ketter, chairman of BU's Journalism Department, said the Knight grant is a significant commitment to training journalists who can explain and investigate the complex and often confusing medical issues that affect people everywhere.
\"Medical issues play an increasingly important role in the lives and lifestyles of Americans,\" said Ketter. \"The challenge to journalism is to keep up with these issues, and to make sense out of them for the public. The center will strive to train reporters and editors who can do that.\"
A major thrust in September funding for Knight's journalism program deals with promoting excellence in online journalism. A family of grants will help nonprofit organizations parse out the best practices in this expanding field of sharing information:
- The Online News Association will receive $225,000 to establish guidelines for online news credibility. ONA, a membership organization with 400 working online journalists, will conduct research to first develop, then disseminate guidelines to ensure adherence to the best journalistic practices.
- The Century Foundation will use $100,000 for planning a project called \"Fulfilling the Promise: Public Service Telecommunications in the Digital and Internet Age.\"
- Link Media will use $100,000 for initial operating support of a highly interactive noncommercial television channel. Link operates WorldLink TV, which deals with issues not often covered in the national press, directly connecting American viewers with people at the heart of breaking news events, organizations in the forefront of social change and global cultures.
The American Society of Newspaper Editors Foundation will use $1,005,000 over three years for continued support of the Institute for Journalism Excellence, which places college journalism faculty at U.S. newspapers for six-week summer programs to refresh their practical news skills for better classroom instruction.
A grant of $510,000 to the Association of Schools of Journalism & Mass Communication, Columbia,'s .C., will continue support for the Broadcasters-in-Residence program, which puts teams of experienced broadcast professionals on journalism college campuses to increase student and teacher contact with news directors, producers and on-air reporters.
In the field of free press, the Independent Journalism Foundation of New York will receive $750,000 for continued support of programs aimed at fostering and improving independent journalism in Eastern and Central Europe.
In 1987, Knight Foundation funding established the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism at the University of Maryland at College Park to provide short, intense courses of study for midcareer journalists. The successful program, under the new leadership of Executive Director Carol Horner, received $2 million from Knight's trustees for continued support.
As part of Knight's longstanding diversity grant making, the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, Oakland, Calif., was awarded a two-year, $200,000 grant to create and disseminate an oral and visual archive of pioneering journalists of color who served in predominantly white newsrooms.
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.