Join us – virtually – for a conversation on community news and information

2/14 Editor’s Note: Mika Brzezinski will no longer be speaking at the conference. 

In an age where local accountability journalism continues to shrink, how can communities ensure they get the information they need to make good decisions?

That question is at the heart of Knight Foundation’s annual Media Learning Seminar, a gathering of funders and media and tech experts that begins Sunday night in Miami. We will be live-streaming the plenary sessions, and this year’s agenda promises to spark thoughtful conversations on the latest trends in news and information and how they apply to cities from Miami, to Gary, Ind., and San Jose, Calif.


Journalism as knowledge: covering solutions to strengthen communities” by Michael D. Bolden on

Using design thinking for community information needs” by Marika Lynch on

Community information toolkit gets a refresh” by Kito Cetrulo on

2014 tech trends that will impact foundations” by Elise Hu on

Carol Coletta, Knight’s vice president for Community and National Initiatives, will kick off the conference. Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” will kick off the conference Sunday night, with reflections on the changing media landscape. Meanwhile, David Bornstein, who co-founded the New York Times’ Fixes blog, will talk about how focusing on reporting solutions to problems can help bring about community change. It’s a theory he has tested through the Solutions Journalism Network, a Knight grantee that also recently won News Challenge funding to focus on what’s working in community health. 

In between, there will be conversations on how communities can use open data to create change, plus insights from community foundation leaders who have invested in this area.

The plenary sessions – the schedule is online – will be streamed at We will be taking questions via Twitter too – folks watching along can use the hashtag #infoneeds to ask the presenters their questions.

When participants aren’t at the main sessions, they will take part off camera in a hands-on workshop on how to apply design thinking – an iterative process that prizes testing and prototyping ideas – to community information needs. Led by the Design Studio for Social Intervention, the workshop aims to provoke new ways to think about a community’s information culture.

We started the Media Learning Seminar started seven years ago, light years in the field of news and information, as the seismic shifts in the media industry became apparent and community leaders searched for ways to help keep people informed about important issues. About the same time, a blue-ribbon Knight Commission issued 15 recommendations on how to better meet community information needs –including rethinking public media, expanding the reach of broadband access and increasing digital and media literacy. Knight Foundation encouraged community foundations to step into the debate and take a leadership role in finding and funding solutions.

Since then, these foundations have launched 96 projects through the Knight Community Information Challenge, which supports community and place-based foundations’ local news and information projects. The seminar is Knight’s way of both building and bringing this network of funders together, to exchange insights and ideas.

We hope you find the new site useful, and that you’ll join us next week via the live stream and Twitter.

Marika Lynch, a former journalist, is a communications consultant for Knight Foundation.

Recent Content