Knight and Mozilla Foundations launch partnership to advance media innovation

Technology changes fast.’Technology’companies are built to handle continuous change. News organizations, even new ones, often are not.’These’facts’are a challenge, but also a great opportunity’to promote quality journalism and’media’innovation.

Years ago, foundations helped place journalism professors in newsrooms’and’journalists in universities to bridge the education-profession gap’and we wondered’ What if we’did the same for technology? What if we could help expand the field of media innovation’by building a’bridge between the technology and the news community?

First we had to find a partner and’Mozilla ”with its mission of’openness, innovation and opportunity online ”looked like the’perfect partner for the job.’Mozilla developed the popular, free open-source’Firefox web browser, managed that into a multimillion dollar nonprofit,’with around’20,000 volunteers’and over’400 million users worldwide,’demonstrating an ability to solve many difficult technological problems in open ways.

Today we announce the Knight-Mozilla News Technology partnership,’a $2.5 million project,’featuring news technology fellowships and an innovation challenge.’The partnership will’accelerate media innovation by’solving technological challenges, developing new news products and services’of the Web’and’embedding technologists in news organizations.’Everything done through the Knight-Mozilla Innovation Challenge and by Knight-Mozilla Fellows will be open, providing knowledge, solutions and’open-source’products that are valuable and useful to the whole field.

This partnership spurs media innovation and helps news organizations facing the same or similar challenges’understand how to solve them. Strategically, this aligns with’recommendation number one of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy to direct efforts toward innovation that promotes quality journalism.

How it works:

The’partnership will kick off with an’open’innovation challenge, reaching to a mix of creative thinkers interested in solving journalism challenges. ‘Dozens of challenge winners will participate in an online learning lab and in-person prototype-building event to brainstorm and build out ideas.

Then, 15 Mozilla-Knight News Technology Fellows will be embedded in newsrooms to help solve digital challenges. By providing world-class open-source news solutions that ‘ ultimately ‘ any news organization can use for free, the Knight-Mozilla Fellows aim to demonstrate the value of open web technologies and spur their adoption across the news industry.

To launch the partnership’Knight Foundation and Mozilla’recruited the pilot newsrooms, which’include the Boston Globe, the BBC, The Guardian and’Zeit’Online.

News organizations that would like to host fellows should contact’Nathan James at Mozilla.

Still in its early stages, the partnership will announce more details and calls for participation later this spring. Sign up for the program’s list serve to get involved. Learn more now on Mozilla’s blog, and on the blog of Mozilla’s project lead Nathaniel James? and Philip Smith.

You can also read about Mozilla and media in recent blog posts from Mark Surman, Executive Director of Mozilla.

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