Knight Foundation announces nearly $3 million for projects to help journalists combat misinformation

With support from Knight, the projects will provide tools and training for journalists to become more resilient in dealing with misinformation 

Oct. 28, 2020 — MIAMI — The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced nearly $3 million for four projects to help journalists increase their knowledge, tools and skills to combat misinformation in America. 

The investments come as research from Gallup and Knight Foundation show that 8 in 10 Americans are concerned that misinformation will sway the results of one of the most historical and consequential presidential elections. The Knight-supported projects will work to position journalists to develop resilience against misinformation, and connect them with experts who can provide the necessary training, tools and other resources to adapt to the ever-increasing threat of false information.

“Now, more than ever, it’s critical to ensure clear, consistent information is being presented to the American people,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism. “We’re proud to support these organizations and their work to equip journalists with the resources they need to provide credible and trustworthy information for their communities.”

The projects receiving Knight support include:

  • First Draft ($1.2M) to deliver training programs and collaborative reporting projects for journalists to help them navigate and halt the spread of misinformation and disinformation online. Led by Claire Wardle, Ph.D., a leading expert on social media, user generated content and verification, First Draft has already trained over 3,000 journalists this year and built a dashboard that offers daily insights on what their investigative research team sees online. The dashboard provides context and suggests how to proceed with the information for your audiences. Journalists can request access to @FD_Update for more team insights.
  • Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School ($800,000) to equip news executives with knowledge and frameworks to address media manipulation and disinformation by supporting a training program led by Joan Donovan, Ph.D., an world-renowned expert in examining internet and technology studies, online extremism, media manipulation and disinformation campaigns.
  • Duke University ($700,000) led by Bill Adair, the creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning website PolitiFact, to expand the availability of fact-check journalism by using automation to provide instant notifications of fact-checks during live events such as speeches and debates, as well as developing, TV Kitchen, a tool that will help journalists more easily monitor broadcast and cable television election coverage by automatically transcribing spoken words and other elements into text.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology ($200,000) to equip journalists with an effective tool and best practices to detect “deepfake” or altered photos and videos, led by Dr. Matthew Wright, Ph.D., a cybersecurity expert with a focus on adversarial machine learning, distributed systems and usable security. 

“In an era where misinformation is on the rise, we know these projects will provide tangible and substantial solutions for journalists,” said Paul Cheung, Knight’s director for journalism and technology innovation. “Providing training and tools will help journalism take an important step forward in solving a pervasive problem in America.”

These grants compliment Knight’s $50 million investment in new scholarship and independent research to better understand these challenges and inform solutions. 

For more on Knight’s research in the misinformation area, visit kf.org/tmd.

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About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit kf.org.

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Media contact: Roshni Neslage, Commmunications Officer, Knight Foundation, [email protected], (305) 908-2623


Photo (top) by Fred Kearney on Unsplash