Above: Channel X, a project of Public Media Company, will be funded by Knight. The era of the couch potato is fading fast. Even after a long day’s work, many of us would much rather take out our smartphones, tablets and laptops and hang out with friends on Facebook, listen to a podcast while cooking dinner and watch short videos on YouTube rather than veg out in front of the TV. The broadcast model, where TV and radio showed and told and passive viewers watched and listened, is no more. Today’s news consumers want to be part of the conversation and the conversation is taking place online. Thanks to the Internet, we live in a post-broadcast world and it is disrupting TV and radio, slower than what has happened with newspapers but just as surely. Take TV, for instance. As viewers have switched to digital content and taken advertisers with them, the average revenue for news-producing stations declined by more than a third in the past five years. The average story length has diminished significantly and local newscasts are doubling down on sports, traffic and weather, according to the Pew Research Center.
Photo credit: Flickr user ed_needs_a_bicycle. Nonprofit news publishers are true believers, committed to informing the public and strengthening democracy. But they are also business owners who have to meet the same economic reality facing for-profit media and technology organizations. At Knight Foundation and the Investigative News Network, we believe that innovation is key to sustainability in the nonprofit news and public media space. So together, we have launched the Knight-funded INNovation Fund to help online news providers diversify their revenues, invest in their businesses and experiment with technology innovations to help increase their prospects for long-term viability. We hope that this fund will encourage experimentation, collaboration, lesson sharing and above all increase the ability for these organizations to have long-term, positive impacts on the communities that they serve. The fund totals $1 million over two years. Below is a Q&A to help you decide if the INNovation Fund is right for you.