Learning and Impact

COMBATTING DISINFORMATION IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation seeks proposals for research that can inform near-term interventions that mitigate the impacts of disinformation and targeted online manipulation of communities of color. 

BACKGROUND AND OPPORTUNITY
The COVID-19 pandemic, the movement for racial justice, and the 2020 election campaign have all provided fodder for bad actors to target persons of color with disinformation that exploit racial tensions and deep-seated socio economic anxieties in ways that are harmful to health, corrosive to communities and our democracy. Recent studies have demonstrated that communities of color are asymmetrically targeted by disinformation, in particular disinformation that seeks to discourage civic participation. According to a US Senate Intelligence Committee report, Black Americans were targeted more than any other group in the 2016 election.

Knight seeks to fund research projects that will yield actionable insights to mitigate the effects of targeted disinformation in communities of color. This opportunity is open to a range of experts working within research institutions, including universities, policy centers, and journalism and civil society organizations within the United States.  Submissions are especially encouraged from minority-serving organizations such as HBCUs, Hispanic- and AAPI-serving colleges and universities, news organizations, and early-career scholars.  

TYPES OF ACTIVITIES FUNDED

We will consider a wide range of proposals of up to $175,000. Ideas can include:

  • Publication development, including special journal issues or volumes
  • Course relief to enable research
  • Research assistance
  • Targeted investigative reporting projects
  • Symposia, workshops or other convenings that advance practical, actionable insights
  • Data or technology acquisition

Funding may not be used for direct advocacy or lobbying efforts.

APPLICATION AND SELECTION PROCESS
Please submit proposals no later than Sep. 15, 2021, at 11:59pm. Select organizations will be invited to submit a more detailed proposal and budget in Oct. 2021. Decisions will be finalized in Dec. 2021, and initial grant payments will begin in early 2022. The review process will be advised by independent experts, and Knight Foundation will make final funding decisions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Knight will host informational webinars on Aug. 10 at 3 p.m. ET (register here) and Sep. 1 at 3 p.m. ET (register here). For any questions, please email [email protected].