News for Digital Journalists

Posts tagged with: Knight Foundation

September 27, 2010

Does prominent play for News21 on Wash. Post, suggest new investigative model?

Could a journalism collaboration led by student journalists—and which scored an A-1 story in the Sept. 26 Washington Post—be a future model for big-scale investigative projects?

That’s certainly the hope of participants in the News21 initiative, which this summer put together an extensive examination into the country’s transportation system that unearthed serious failings by regulators and industry, and a string of fatigue-related and other preventable accidents.

News21, working with the Washington, DC-based Center for Public Integrity, produced an extensive package of some two dozen stories, plus videos, photos and interactive graphics. Parts of the investigation were published simultaneously by the Post and by, as well as in full on News21’s own web site.

While it’s not the first mainstream pickup for News21, it’s certainly the most prominent in the five-year history of its university-based newsroom “incubator” program, which each summer has been producing wide-ranging reports on the nation’s changing demographics, politics and other subjects. The project is funded by the Carnegie Corporation and the John S. and John L. Knight Foundation, and all News21 content is freely available for distribution on news outlets.

This summer was also the first fruit of a new approach that brought journalism fellows from among the dozen participating schools together in a single newsroom at Arizona State’s Cronkite School in Phoenix to conduct their reporting. The 11 young journalists analyzed thousands of documents, and traveled across the United States and to Canada and Mexico to interview hundreds of government officials, industry leaders, safety experts and accident victims.

The student journalists worked under the watchful eye of prominent news veterans such as one-time Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Doig, ASU Journalism Dean Christopher Callahan and former Arizona Republic AME Kristin Gilger.

“News21 shows that journalism schools have a role in the future of news - that they need not be the caboose of America’s news train but instead can be an engine of change,” said Eric Newton, vice president of Knight Foundation’s journalism program.

“This distribution of university-produced content by two of the world’s major news organizations is unprecedented,” added Gilger. “This project shows what a group of smart student reporters can do when given time, resources and guidance.”

[Full Disclosure: Glenn has been an editor for the News21 project since 2006, working out of its newsroom at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.]

October 07, 2010

Knight News Challenge: What’s new for 2011

Since it began in 2006, the Knight News Challenge has evolved—and more changes are in store for the coming year. In 2011 this popular media innovation contest will focus on four topics: mobile, authenticity, sustainability, and community.

The contest opens for entries Oct. 25. Final deadline is December 1. Individuals, schools, nonprofits, governments, and businesses are eligible to enter.

More about this year’s contest…

An Oct. 8 Knight press release clarified the areas of focus further:

  • Mobile: “Innovative ideas for news and information on all types of mobile communication devices.”
  • Authenticity: “Projects that help people better understand the reliability of news and information sources.”
  • Sustainability: “For consideration of new economic models supporting news and information that helps citizens run their communities and their lives.”
  • Community: “Groundbreaking technologies that support news and information specifically within defined geographic areas.”

John Bracken, Knight Foundation Director of Digital Media, explored these topics further in a Knight Blog post

Nieman Lab reported  that at a recent Hacks & Hackers event, Knight consultant Jennifer 8. Lee mentioned some specific tips for this year’s entrants…

Projects being pitched to the News Challenge should:

  • Already have a working prototype
  • Be sustainable
  • Be catalytic
  • Have a credible team

She also mentioned a few things that News Challenge entrants should avoid:

  • Don’t ask Knight to fund content.
  • Don’t apply with projects that don’t fit Knight’s mission.
  • Don’t be vague.
  • Avoid generic citizen journalism projects.


October 13, 2010

Video chat: Pew research on early adopters

Video chat has been getting more media attention—but who’s doing it? According to new research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, so far nearly one in five American adults (23% of internet users and 7% of cell phone owners) have participated in video phone calls, chats, or teleconferences.

Who are these early adopters?...

  • Income. “Video calling online is especially appealing to upscale users. A third of internet users (34%) living in households earning $75,000 or above have participated in such calls or chats, compared with 18% of those earning less than $75,000.”
  • Age. “Younger internet users are considerably more likely to conduct video calls. Some 29% of the internet users ages 18-29 have participated in video calls or chats or teleconferences, compared with 15% of internet users age 65 or older.”
  • Gender. “Online men are more likely than online women to participate in online video calls (26% vs. 20%).”
  • Race. “Cell-owning blacks are more likely than whites to participate in video calls, chats, or teleconferences (10% vs. 5%).”


October 13, 2010

Survey: NPR’s Twitter followers are news junkies compared to Facebook fans

Twitter users are generally thought to be news junkies, and new numbers from NPR reinforce that conventional wisdom. The public radio service surveyed more than 10,000 of its Twitter followers and found not only do they consume NPR news regularly through Twitter, but more than three quarters get the majority of their news online, and most want more even more hard-hitting, breaking news that they’re currently getting.

The NPR Twitter survey was conducted over a two-week period in late August and early September, and followed an earlier survey of NPR Facebook fans.

One intriguing distinction between NPR’s Twitter and Facebook fans is that while Twitter followers say they’re more interested in news, they click through to NPR links far less often than Facebook fans, reinforcing the notion that Twitter may be a great way to share headlines, but less effective than Facebook in driving traffic. 

But Twitter followers may be more engaged. More than half follow between two and five NPR accounts, and say doing so means a richer experience that leaves them feeling more connected to the news service, encouraging retweets and replies.

NPR’s Twitter followers are also gearheads compared to its Facebook fans: more of them access NPR’s podcasts, and its iPhone and iPad apps.

For more detail on the survey, check out a writeup on NPR’s Go Figure blog

October 26, 2010

Google puts up $5M for journalism innovation; $2M goes to Knight

For months, Google has been talking about how it wants to aid an ailing journalism business. Now, in a move some are characterizing as a “multi-million-dollar olive branch” the search giant is putting big money on the table to support grassroots digital journalism innovation - $5 million to be exact.

Google announced the funding Oct. 26. The first recipient of its largesse will be the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which will get $2 million for grant making, including $1 million for its ongoing Knight News Challenge, which has just opened its latest contest, deadlined Dec. 1.

Another $3 million will go to journalism projects in other countries, with a separate partnership to be announced next year, said Google’s Nikesh Arora, president of global sales operations and business development.

Mashable‘s Vadim Lavrusik suggested a rationale for the sizeable contribution to digital journalism—“In part, it is policy for Google to donate 1% of profits toward charity, but it’s also a peace offering of sorts to news organizations that have often blamed their woes on the technology giant.”

Knight President Alberto IbargŁen called Google “the right partner” in the foundation’s ongoing efforts to foster experiments for providing news and information via digital platforms. In a video statement, IbargŁen called the move by Google to support Knight’s efforts “huge ... The Google contribution brings this to a whole other level. It’s not just the size of it, which is considerable. But it’s the endorsement from the industry leader.”

Added Knight’s Director of New Media John Bracken, on a Knightblog post: “It’s a good day when the biggest company on the Internet tells you that they admire your work. The only thing better is when they tell you they back up the compliment with millions of dollars to help expand your work.”

November 02, 2010

MediaBugs news error reporting service goes national

When the news error reporting service MediaBugs launched earlier this year (with support from a Knight News Challenge grant), it focused only on news venues in the San Francisco Bay Area. Last week, founder Scott Rosenberg announced that the service has now expanded to cover the entire US.

“Wherever you find a US media organization that you think has made a correctable error, MediaBugs is now available for you to use to try to get those errors corrected,” wrote Rosenberg. “You file an error report; we’ll make sure the media outlet knows about it, and try to get someone to respond.”

There are other new enhancements to MediaBugs, too…

  • News junkies will want to add the new MediaBugs bookmarklet to their browser toolbars to report news errors in a faster, more streamlined way. Just drag it from the top of any page on the MediaBugs site and drop it into your toolbar.
  • Improved bug browsing, including browse bugs by region and a US map interface. “Right now we’re featuring just a handful of population centers, but we expect the regional groupings to multiply as we receive bug reports from a wider area.”
  • More data about media organizations. “Visit our browse bugs by media outlet page and you’ll now see a current readout of the number of bug reports (total filed and currently open) related to that news organization, along with information we’ve collected about its error-correction practices online.


November 02, 2010

Kiplinger digital media fellowship, other training

Want to learn how to use the latest social media tools and build a bigger following? Interested in deep web searches, covering the backchannel or learning a range of new digital platforms?

The Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism is offering an intensive one-week digital media fellowship, Mar. 30-Apr. 6, 2011, at Ohio State Univ.—with additional webinars and tele/videoconference coaching sessions…

This training is free of charge. Kiplinger also pays a travel stipend and covers lodging.

Apply now
Deadline: Nov. 30

Kiplinger also offers shorter KipCamp digital media training sessions. Lasting from a half day to three days, these sessions help journalists develop new skills, make sense of your social media options, and map out a strategy for using them. More info.

November 04, 2010

Environmental journalism grants from SEJ

Today the Society of Environmental Journalists announced that it’s accepting applications for grants of up to $2500 to help underwrite environmental reporting projects and entrepreneurial ventures. This program is offered through SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism.

Eligible to apply are journalists in the US, Canada, or Mexico who either work independently or are on the staff of a for-profit or nonprofit news organization. Funds can be used for project-related travel, training, research materials, database analysis, and other direct expenses.

APPLY NOW: Free application for SEJ members, $20 application fee for non-members.

Deadline: Nov. 15, 2010, at midnight your local time. More program info.

November 10, 2010

Knight News Challenge clarifies open-source software requirements

For five years the Knight News Challenge contest has funded the development of many innovative digital news and information projects. This often involves developing software—and from the beginning, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has required that this software be open source.

This open source requirement has caused some confusion.Yesterday the News Challenge clarified this requirement…

In the software world, “open source” has a range of definitions and implications, once you get down to the details of specific projects. This requirement also been a sticking point for some would-be News Challenge applicants—especially for-profit companies seeking to build a business with a competitive edge.

In a News Challenge blog post, Knight online community manager Jose Zamora explained:

“Since the Knight News Challenge is a giant research and development project, hoping to accelerate media innovation, using open source made sense, because once the base code is released, any organization, business or individual can use it.

“If you are a winner of this contest, you’ll still own the copyright on your intellectual property, including your software. But you will need to share the software you develop under a GPL license and any documents, manuals or instructions under Creative Commons licensing. (We will consider requests in writing for licenses other than GPL, but the applicant must be able to demonstrate that the project simply can’t be done using GPL, and also that it has charitable impacts at least equal to those from releasing the code free under GPL.)

“For-profit companies have always been able to participate in the Knight News Challenge, so long as they observe the open source requirement. There are two types of awards for businesses, grants and Program Related Investments. If a grant is made to a business, both the initial and future releases of the code need to be open source.  If a PRI is made, only the initial release must be open source, and future versions can be licensed in different ways—but Knight’s investment is not a grant but a no-interest loan.”

November 11, 2010

Knight News Challenge: Deadline is Dec. 1

If you’re planning to enter this year’s Knight News Challenge, you may have a little more time than you thought…

Earlier information about this contest indicated a deadline of Nov. 30. However, the Knight Foundation has clarified that the deadline is in fact Dec. 1, 2010. (Apply now)

Also, the Knight News Challenge blog has been publishing lots of useful tips for entrants—most recently on how to build your project’s budget and the basic breakdown of a successful entry.

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