News for Digital Journalists

Posts tagged with: Funding

June 17, 2010

Is Data Viz Knight’s New Killer App?

Data visualization appears to be the new darling the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, judging from the new batch of Knight News Challenge winners named June 16 at the Future of News and Civic Media conference at MIT in Cambridge, MA.

Knight called data visualization “one of the most promising new areas of digital journalism,” as it handed out $2.74 million in the fourth round of the five-year award program, including several six-figure grants to data visualization proposals. Here are some of the winners…

  • Citytracking: This San Francisco-based project of Stamen Design (creators of Oakland Crimespotting) will get $400,000 (the biggest prize this year) to create embeddable data visualizations of municipal data.
  • The Cartoonist: An Atlanta-based venture by videogame designer Ian Bosog, was awarded $378,000 to develop a free tool to create cartoon-like current event games.
  • GoMap Riga: This Latvian initiative will receive $250,000 to develop a live user-generated online news map.
  • Tilemapping: This Washington DC-based hyperlocal map tool project will get $74,000.

Knight awarded grants to a dozen projects in total.  Some are designed to explore new funding mechanisms. For instance, a recent j-school grad from Chicago will get $250,000 to develop NowSpot, a real-time ad building tool using social media content. Another team will get $75,000 to pilot a story development and crowdfunding project in Kentucky (with media partner Louisville Public Media).

Other grantees will build and test new reader engagement tools. A $350,000 award will go to the San Francisco developers of LocalWiki, project to create a toolset for community wikis. And Arizona State’s CitySeed project will get $90,000 to develop an app to geotag story ideas which others can then debate and act upon.

Other winning projects include virtual collaborative video editing, a “pro-am” reporting project with US Marines in Afghanistan, the rollout of a hyperlocal news model in Vermont, and an open courtroom reporting project in Boston.

Here’s the full list of the 2010 Knight News Challenge winners, with details about their projects. You can also watch video of the announcement, including a lightning round of presentations by the grantees. More coverage can also be found on the PBS IdeaLab blog. Through June 18, follow the rest of the conference via the Twitter hashtag #fncm.

Learn more about the five-year history of the Knight News Challenge. On June 16, the Knight Foundation published a comprehensive report about this program.

Yesterday, Knight also announced that former MacArthur Foundation executive John Bracken will be the new News Challenge director. He’s taking over for Gary Kebbel, who is moving on to become dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska (Lincoln).

The News Challenge announcement was just one part of the first day of the three-day MIT gathering, which brings together past and present grantees with other news and technology experts. A plenary discussion on “crowdbuilding,” (or “collaborative co-production”) featured anthropologist Gabriella Coleman, who studied open-source communities and who emphasized the value of ethically stable communities with select, committed participants. Also speaking at this session was Harvard Business School professor Karim Lakhani, who stressed the value of unique rewards to drive community participation.

The first day of the conference wrapped with the first of many project demos from the MIT Center for Future Civic Media. Watch for additional coverage this week.

August 12, 2010

Fund Seeks Grant Proposals for Local and Ethnic Media Investigative Reporting

If you’re a reporter investigating issues in your state or local community, or are working on investigative stories for ethnic media, you could be eligible for a boost from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

The Fund is currently seeking grant proposals and is keen to support precisely those kinds of projects, thanks to a new $100,000 grant from Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

Grants range from $500 to $10,000, and the organization can also provide guidance on reporting and advice on placement, as well as mentoring with veteran journalists through a partnership with Investigative Reporters and Editors.

The Fund has a Sept. 8 deadline for its next round of grant proposals. It’s accepting applications through its website at

Learn more and apply now
Application deadline: Sept. 8



September 13, 2010

19 communities win Knight grants for local news, information

Local news and information will get a big boost in 19 communities thanks to $3.14 million in new grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Community Information Challenge initiative.

These grants are matching funds in partnership with locally focused foundations in each community.

More about this year’s winning projects…

Among the winners and projects are:

Other winning communities and regions include Pittsburgh (PA), Dubuque (IA), the Black Hills region (SD), San Antonio (TX), El Paso (TX), Austin (TX), Seattle (WA), Alaska, Tulsa (OK), south Florida, Youngstown (OH), Boston (MA), Cleveland (OH), and West Anniston (AL). See project summaries.

Bring home one of these grants. The Knight Foundation will again accept applications for the Knight Community Information Challenge from Jan. 17 to March 7, 2011. So start talking now to local community foundations—you might find a partner foundation willing to contribute funds, and Knight will match their contribution.

In addition, foundation leaders can register for Knight’s fourth annual Media Learning Seminar—a gathering to discuss how foundations can support local news and information needs and opportunities. Feb. 28 - March 1, 2011, Miami.

September 25, 2010

Funding for Florida watchdog journalism: Apply by Sept. 30

Florida investigative journalists: Thursday, Sept. 30 is the last day to apply for up to $2500 in funding from the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting for your Florida-focused watchdog reporting project…

The FCIR Watchdog Fund is particularly interested in funding projects dealing with government corruption, waste, and inefficiency; immigration; education; and social justice.

To apply: E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) a proposal outlining your project (two pages max), your resume, three clips, and estimated completion date.

October 05, 2010

Investigative reporting training for placebloggers: fellowships available

Investigative journalism training isn’t just for professional journalists. That’s why on Oct. 16, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting is offering a daylong training seminar: Watchdog Reporting for Bloggers, Citizen Journalists, and Activists.

Lisa Williams, founder of Placeblogger (the leading aggregator of blogs that cover the lived experience of a place such as a neighborhood, city, state, or other region) announced today that the Placeblogger Angel Fund is offering five scholarships to cover the $200 cost for the NECIR training session…

Scholarships are for registration only. Winners must cover their own travel and other expenses. This event will be held Saturday Oct. 16, 9am-5pm, at the Boston University College of Communication.

To apply for a scholarship: e-mail Lisa Williams.

January 07, 2011

Watchdog reporting training scholarships from Placeblogger Angel Fund

People who run startup local news sites often must learn on their own how to do challenging types of reporting. So here’s a unique training opportunity: The angel fund of Placeblogger (the largest searchable index of local weblogs) is offering five scholarships to the Watchdog Reporting Workshop held at the City University of New York on Jan. 29…

Apply now. Winners will be announced via Placeblogger on Twitter before the Jan. 22 workshop application deadline.

Scholarships cover the workshop cost ($275) but not travel, lodging, or other expenses. The workshop is held in New York City, but local site operators from outside that region are welcome to apply.

January 11, 2011

WeMedia PitchIt Challenge for news entrepreneurs: Apply by Feb 4

Today, WeMedia started accepting applications for its PitchIt Challenge—a competition for news entrepreneurs. Two winning pitches each will receive up to $25,000 to invest in their big ideas…

“We want to find the best startups and help launch them with advice from funders, investors, corporations, fellow entrepreneurs, attendees and media,” writes WeMedia.

Apply now! Deadline for entries: Feb. 4

Learn more about this contest.

This contest is open to for-profit and nonprofit projects. Finalists will pitch their ideas live before a panel of expert judges and a live audience at WeMedia NYC (Apr. 6).

January 18, 2011

Knight Community Information Challenge now accepting applications

News entrepreneurs are finding that support can come in many ways that news organizations traditionally have not explored—including partnering with community foundations…

If you would like to launch a local news or information venue or project, now is the time to find a community or place-based foundation willing to support your project. Then have your foundation partner apply for the Knight Community Information Challenge. This five-year grant contest from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation designed to engage community and place-based foundations in meeting local information needs.

Applicants must be a US community or place-based foundation. Projects must meet a local information need, and the local foundation must match Knight’s investment.

Apply now!
Deadline: March 7

In addition to grants, this program provides access to mentoring and other resources—including “circuit riders” like Placeblogger founder Lisa Williams who recently explained what makes a good community information project.

July 08, 2011

Knight Foundation sponsors DEMO tech conference, scholarships available

Got a good tech idea you want to pitch to investors? This year the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is sponsoring DEMO, a leading technology investment conference, Sept. 12-14 in Silicon Valley…

Normally it costs about $1000 to attend DEMO, but this year there are 20 scholarships available for startups—including two for women and minority-led digital media companies.

Apply for scholarships

Deadline: July 15

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

July 08, 2011

Knight Community Arts Journalism Challenge: Apply by Aug. 18

Local arts journalism is evolving quickly, just like every other kind of news and information. To spur and guide this evolution, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts recently teamed up to launch an eight-city competition seeking new models for local arts journalism in the digital age…

A Knight press release explained that the new Knight Community Arts Journalism Challenge will award prizes up to $100,000 total for projects that “use the latest tools for storytelling and engaging readers to create model programs that could be replicated in other communities.”

Projects must focus on or directly benefit at least one of the following cities:

  • Akron, Ohio
  • Detroit, Mich.
  • Macon, Ga.
  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • Miami, Fla.
  • Philadelphia, Pa.
  • San Jose/ Silicon Valley, Calif.
  • St. Paul, Minn.

Applicants need not reside within a target city.

Apply now
Deadline: Midnight ET, Aug. 18

First round winners will receive up to $20,000 to create an action plan to develop their idea. These projects are eligible to win up to $80,000 for implementation in the contest’s second round.

Individuals, non-profits and businesses are eligible to apply. Partnerships between legacy and emerging media organizations are encouraged. There is no limit to the number of applications that you can submit.

“No idea is too unusual,” said Dennis Scholl, Knight’s vice president for arts.

The News for Digital Journalists blog is made possible by a grant to USC Annenberg from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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