DocumentCloud, an annotation tool for journalists, will improve features and help advance journalism into the future with $250,000 from Knight Foundation

Platform will introduce a user payment plan to advance sustainability

PHILADELPHIA―July 27, 2017―DocumentCloud, an open-source platform used by thousands of newsrooms to share, analyze and publish documents will receive $250,000 in new funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to build additional features and develop a payment plan allowing users to support the platform directly.

DocumentCloud was created with support from the Knight News Challenge in 2009 and became an Investigative Reporters and Editors project in 2011. The platform now hosts more than 3.6 million source documents, which collectively have been viewed more than 824 million times. DocumentCloud has been used by 8,400 journalists in 1,619 organizations worldwide for stories as high profile as WikiLeaks, Panama Papers, and the Snowden documents release, which were presented to the public via the platform by The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Guardian among others.

“DocumentCloud has achieved a level of adoption well beyond anything we could have imagined when we first launched. It has become an indispensable tool journalists around the world use every day,” said Aron Pilhofer, DocumentCloud co-founder.

With the new funding, it will move to an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit and operate in collaboration with Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Over time, the goal will be to more fully integrate DocumentCloud into the college’s curriculum, providing Temple students a unique opportunity to learn about news, product design and technology in a real-world environment.

“Our priority is to ensure that DocumentCloud is around for the long haul. This support will help us do just that, while at the same time enhancing learning opportunities for our students,” Pilhofer said.

“At a time when trust in news is at an all-time low, DocumentCloud helps journalists build connections with the public by allowing them to publish original documents and be fully transparent with readers about what they know and don’t know. We must work to ensure this important tool stays strong into the future,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism.

After the move, Pilhofer, the James B. Steele chair in journalism innovation at Temple, will assume the role of DocumentCloud executive director, and co-founder Scott Klein, deputy managing editor at ProPublica, will join the board.

As a first step toward sustainability, DocumentCloud will begin asking its most frequent users to help support the project. For occasional users, DocumentCloud will continue to offer a limited free account. Details of the plan are still being worked out and will be announced in the next few months.

“DocumentCloud has become the go-to platform for news organizations, some of which have uploaded literally hundreds of thousands of documents. We are proud of that, and want that to continue,” Pilhofer said. “At the same time, processing, storing and serving millions of documents isn’t free, and we think it’s fair to ask our users to help support a service they clearly value.”

Support for DocumentCloud is part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to advance excellence in journalism. Knight has made many investments in this area, including the Knight-Lenfest Newsroom Initiative, a partnership with Temple University which aims to help advance digital transformation at local news organizations across the country.

About Document Cloud

DocumentCloud, founded in 2009 with a grant from the Knight News Challenge, is a catalog of primary source documents and a tool for annotating, organizing and publishing them on the web. Documents are contributed by journalists, researchers and archivists. We’re helping reporters get more out of documents and helping newsrooms make their online presence more engaging.

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


Aron Pilhofer, Executive Director,, 917-318-0673, [email protected]

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, [email protected]