Topics
Knight Foundation promotes the best ideas to advance journalism, the arts and the success of cities. Here are some of the topics we care about, organized as resources so that you can join us in working for positive change.
Local and Nonprofit News
Trust, media and democracy
Technology and Democracy
Freedom of Expression
Public Spaces
Engagement Through the Arts
Arts and Technology
Elections and Voting
Diverse Asset Managers
Libraries
Leadership and Talent
Successful Cities
Digital Storytelling

Technology and Democracy

Sound information is the lifeblood of a democracy. Today, more and more information is mediated by digital technology – and with impacts that are not yet well understood. In this age of many-to-many communication, there is a clear need for fresh thinking and research to inform a new generation of democratic institutions and norms that will promote an informed society and support democratic outcomes.

In 2019, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced a commitment of nearly $50 million in research to better understand how technology is transforming our democracy and to help ensure society is equipped to make evidence-based decisions on how to govern and manage the now-digital public square.

Below, read why we think this investment is essential and learn more about the research centers and projects we’re supporting.

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The Knight Research Network

In 2019, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced it would invest $50 million in new research to better understand how technology is transforming our democracy and to help ensure society is equipped to make evidence-based decisions on how to govern and manage the now-digital public square.[…]
January 14, 2020
The Knight Research Network
report

Techlash? America’s Growing Concern With Major Technology Companies

Just a few years ago, Americans were overwhelmingly optimistic about the power of new technologies to foster an informed and engaged society. More recently, however, that confidence has been challenged by emerging concerns over the role that internet and technology companies — especially social media — now play in our democracy. A new Knight Foundation […]

March 11, 2020
Techlash? America’s Growing Concern With Major Technology Companies
article

In U.S., Most Oppose Micro-Targeting in Online Political Ads

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Gallup’s latest research, a solid majority of Americans do not want political campaigns to be able to micro-target them through digital ads: 72% say that internet companies should make no information about its users available to political campaigns in order to target […]

March 2, 2020
In U.S., Most Oppose Micro-Targeting in Online Political Ads
article
Journalism

Strengthening democracy in the digital age: Knight’s $50 million investment in a new field of research

On July 22, 2019, Knight made a $50 million investment to develop a new field of research around technology’s impact on democracy. Sam Gill, vice president of communities and impact at Knight, shares details below.  When Jack and Jim Knight left behind the corpus of what would grow into the modern Knight Foundation, they had built part […]

Strengthening democracy in the digital age: Knight’s $50 million investment in a new field of research
press release
Journalism

Knight invests $6 million in research on the future of US technology policy

Three think tanks doing leading-edge work on issues of market concentration in the tech industry and liability for online content will receive funding as part of Knight’s $50 million commitment

Knight invests $6 million in research on the future of US technology policy
press release
Journalism

Knight Foundation invests $3.5 million in research to inform the national debate on internet governance and policy

Funding will help universities, think tanks and advocacy groups fill gaps in research needed by federal policymakers and other decision-makers Contact: Lauren Dickinson, Communications Officer, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305.908.2694, [email protected]    MIAMI — Nov. 3, 2019 —The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced more than $3.5 million in funding […]

November 3, 2019
Knight Foundation invests $3.5 million in research to inform the national debate on internet governance and policy
article
Journalism

Big Tech could break democracy. Knowledge is our best defense.

The impact of digital technologies on American democracy continues to vex policymakers, corporate players and the public at the most fundamental level. In the past month, Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by Congress about Facebook’s decision to allow factually false claims in political advertising. California passed a law requiring the internet companies underpinning the “gig economy” […]

Big Tech could break democracy. Knowledge is our best defense.
article
Journalism

Status Update: Big Tech at Crisis Point

On Nov. 3, 2019, Knight made a $3.5 million investment in new research to inform the national debate on internet governance and policy, including support for the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry (C2I2). Sarah T. Roberts, Ph.D., and Safiya U. Noble, Ph.D., of UCLA share details below. A democratic and emancipatory society necessarily must […]

Status Update: Big Tech at Crisis Point
article
Journalism

A new initiative on the economics of digital services: Providing a foundation for evidence-based decision-making

On November 3, 2019, Knight made a $350,000 investment in a new project at the University of Pennsylvania Law School Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition as part of a $3.5 million initiative to inform the national debate on rules, norms and governance of the internet and digital platforms. Rakesh Vohra and Christopher Yoo of […]

A new initiative on the economics of digital services: Providing a foundation for evidence-based decision-making

Support Tech and Democracy Research

These new research centers and projects are seeking institutional support for ground-breaking work to provide the knowledge we need to make informed decisions to strengthen democracy in the digital age.

Support Tech and Democracy Research
article
Journalism

Harvard’s new Misinformation Review features “fast review” of scholarly research

There is more information – and access to information – than at any time in history, but the trusted institutions and information gatekeepers of the past are no longer able to contain harmful or deceptive information as effectively. Many of the information challenges we currently face, such as misinformation and the proliferation of hate speech […]

January 23, 2020
Harvard’s new Misinformation Review features “fast review” of scholarly research
article

Zuckerman: A digital public needs a digital public infrastructure

Ethan Zuckerman of MIT Media Lab draws on history to lay out a future-looking case for the deliberate construction of digital infrastructure that serves the information and engagement needs of citizens in a democracy. Here’s an excerpt from his TL;DR summary on Medium: “Social media is often not very good for us as citizens in […]

January 22, 2020
Zuckerman: A digital public needs a digital public infrastructure