News for Digital Journalists

Posts tagged with: Grants

April 04, 2011

New Knight guide helps foundations get started with media grant making

Foundations are making more media and journalism grants than ever, often because they recognize that their strategic goals depend on a healthy news ecosystem. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has published a new booklet to help foundations get started with media grant making—or to help them be more strategic about it…

Foundations are making more media and journalism grants than ever, often because they recognize that their strategic goals depend on a healthy news ecosystem. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has published a new booklet to help foundations get started with media grant making—or to help them be more strategic about it…

Getting Started: Tips for funders on journalism and media grant making, by Eric Newton and Michele McLellan, is available as a free download. It comprises two sections:

Five things foundations need to know:

  1. This is everyone’s issue.
  2. You can build on what you’re already doing.
  3. You can start without a lot of money.
  4. Good journalism requires independence.
  5. Digital media must be targeted to produce impact.


Five ways foundations can get started:

  1. Map your community’s news ecosystem.
  2. Run a contest to find new voices.
  3. Grow your own digital expertise.
  4. Partner with an existing news organization.
  5. Help create a public interest news organization.

 

This guide is based on the experiences of leaders of dozens of foundations that have funded local news and information projects—often through the Knight Community Information Challenge, a program that provides matching grants and support for community and place-based foundations seeking to play a leading role in meeting local information needs.

Eric Newton, senior adviser to the Knight Foundation president, explains how this guide will help foundations accomplish this important work:

Journalism and Media Grant Making: Five Things You Need to Know, Five Ways to Get Started from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.


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

June 24, 2011

Data Journalism a focal point for latest Knight News Challenge

The Knight News Challenge used its its fifth and final year of grants June 22 to put down a marker—the contest is betting big money on building tools to help make sense of data for journalists.

The Associated Press Overview project, for instance, scored a $475,000 grant to develop ways to scour large databases in order to visualize data and find stories (here’s more on it from AP and Neiman Lab blog). A Chicago Tribune effort dubbed Panda will get $150,000 to build a set of open-source, web-based tools to make it easier for journalists to use and analyze data.

Commentators on Twitter and in blogs immediately noted this year’s heavy focus on data. Matthew Ingram wrote in GigaOm and the New York Times, for example: “There’s a theme running through most of the winners: namely, data as journalism.” The Poynter Institute’s Steve Myers noted almost a third of this year’s $4.7 million in grants is meant “to help journalists and the public organize and analyze data and documents. In different ways, several of these projects seek to solve the persistent challenges of journalists working on investigative and daily stories: how to make sense of vast amounts of data and find the stories within.”

Knight noted the nod to data in announcing this year’s winners, writing that one set of experiments in the latest round would “[h]elp newsrooms organize and visualize large data sets so that they can find relationships and stories they might not have imagined.”  The contest’s overseer and Knight Director of New Media John Bracken blogged that one emphasis was: “The need to make better sense of the stream. News consumers and journalists alike need help making sense of the streams of data now available to us.”

Among the other winners that focused on data journalism are:

  • DocumentCloud, which had already garnered a 2009 News Challenge award to develop document-based reporting software, got another $320,000 for an annotation tool to help crowdsource large sets of documents.
  • ScraperWiki won $280,000 to create a “data on demand” feature to help journalists request and manage data sets, as an add-on to existing services that help journalists and others create data “scrapers” to collect, store and publish public data. The organization will also host “journalism data camps” in 12 U.S. states.
  • OpenBlock Rural gets $275,000 to work with local governments and community papers in North Carolina to aggregate and publish government data.
  • Ushahidi will see $250,000 to develop SwiftRiver, a platform for evaluating crowdsourced information in an unfolding news environment.
  • Spending Stories gets $250,000 to contextualize news by tying it to the data on which it’s based, using automated analysis and user verification.

The latest grants, which this year included an additional $1 million in funding from Google, are the last in a series of 76 projects funded to a tune of $27 million since the first were issued in 2007 [Full Disclosure: This author, with fellow KDMC blogger and colleague Amy Gahran, was a previous winner].

The closing of this stage of the News Challenge prompted some analysis from Knight (including this graphic representation) and from other industry observers on the program’s impact. Neiman Lab’s Joshua Benton blogged: “The entrepreneurial spirit that the News Challenge tried to bring to journalism is far further along, and more players—nonprofits, tech companies, venture capitalists, lean startups, and even those old warhorses in the traditional media—are more willing to try new strategies, throw out old workflows, and build new products and tools.” Poynter Institute’s Jeff Sonderman wrote how News challenge “pushed new approaches for journalism: Crowdfunding, the hacker-journalist, data as news and citizen journalism.”

Knight has suggested the program will reemerge in a new form and is openly seeking input on the News Challenge’s future direction. Observers on hand for the latest round of winners tweeted news, for instance, that the program might speed up its funding cycle by going quarterly instead of annual, and might also earmark a portion for a venture fund.

Check out a full list of this year’s grantees.

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

March 30, 2012

Why News Matters grants for news literacy in Chicago: Deadline Apr. 2

Got an idea to improve news literacy in Chicago? Time is running out to apply for a Why News Matters grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation’s Journalism Program…

Over the next three years, McCormick will invest as much as $6 million in this initiative. While Chicago is the focus of this program, McCormick will consider applications that come from people and organizations based elsewhere, as long as they make a strong case for how their idea could benefit news literacy in Chicago.

Apply now
Deadline: Tuesday, April 2

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