Public media innovation boosted with millions in funding

Public Radio Exchange (PRX) to launch Public Media Accelerator with $2.5 million investment from Knight Foundation

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Public media innovation boosted with millions in funding on KnightBlog

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 8, 2011 – A new effort will provide funding and expertise to entrepreneurial teams with innovative ideas to increase the impact of public service media.

Called the Public Media Accelerator, the project will be launched and operated by the Public Radio Exchange (PRX) and supported by a $2.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Modeled on mentorship-driven technology startup incubators, the Public Media Accelerator aims to strengthen public media’s essential role in meeting community information needs across new platforms and devices.

“Forty years ago, public broadcasting harnessed the technology of the time to engage audiences with high quality content that was otherwise inaccessible,” said Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX. “We are expanding this vital service to include today’s pervasive and participatory media, particularly mobile.”

“Through funding more than 200 community information experiments, we’ve found that the models with the best success are nurtured through outside advice and expertise,” said Michael Maness, Knight Foundation’s vice president for journalism and media innovation. “We hope the Public Media Accelerator will bring public media’s quality journalism into more people’s lives, by using technology to expand its reach.”

The Public Media Accelerator will invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures, building apps, services and media products. Successful projects will be showcased to additional funders and investors, and will receive support through a partner and sponsor network.

The Public Media Accelerator will formally launch in March at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) conference in Austin and will name a director and advisory board early next year.

For more information and updates about the Public Media Accelerator visit http://publicmediax.org and follow @publicmediax on Twitter.

About PRX

PRX is an award-winning public media company, harnessing innovative technology to bring significant stories to millions of people. PRX operates public radio’s largest distribution marketplace, offering thousands of audio stories for broadcast and digital use, including signature PRX programs like The Moth Radio Hour. PRX mobile apps for public media include This American Life, KCRW Music Mine and Public Radio Player. Learn more at PRX.org.

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. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

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Contacts:

Marc Fest, Vice President/Communications, 305-908-2677, fest@knightfoundation.org

Jake Shapiro, CEO, PRX, 617-576 5455 x115, jake@prx.org

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.