Articles about "Knight Foundation"

Jennifer Preston joins Knight Foundation

Jennifer Preston, the New York Times’ first social media editor, will become vice president for journalism at the Knight Foundation. Preston also helped launch the Times’ “Watching” feature, which Justin Ellis wrote about for Nieman recently.

Other Knight moves accompany the Preston hire and are part of a “reorganization designed to boost Knight Foundation’s ability to help accelerate digital innovation at news organizations and journalism schools, while accelerating the pace of experimentation that drives that innovation,” a release, below, says.

MIAMI – Oct. 6, 2014 – Jennifer Preston, an award-winning New York Times journalist and digital innovator, will join the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as vice president for journalism beginning Oct. 20, 2014.

The move completes a reorganization designed to boost Knight Foundation’s ability to help accelerate digital innovation at news organizations and journalism schools, while accelerating the pace of experimentation that drives that innovation. Recently, John Bracken was promoted to vice president/media innovation with a mandate to increase the speed of media innovation funding.

Preston brings more than 30 years of newsroom and business-side experience to the position, including senior editorial and management roles at The Times. Since 2009, when she was named the newsroom’s first social media editor, she has helped pioneer the use of social media for reporting, storytelling, engagement and real-time publishing. Most recently, she helped launch a homepage news curation feature for called Watching. She has taught digital media at City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

“Jennifer is the ideal person to help newsrooms embrace innovation because she believes in the change and has helped make it happen,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. “She understands the realities but she also has a vision of what’s possible and how to get there. She’ll lead Knight’s efforts to help newspaper, TV, radio and Internet newsrooms bring media innovation into their mainstream.”

Commenting on Knight’s role as a principal funder of journalism training in the United States, Ibargüen added, “Jennifer is a collaborative, natural-born teacher who will help journalism schools train a new generation of digital natives to report the news. In the process, they will help evolve the skills necessary to report the news and engage the public. We’re still in a time of creative disruption but Jennifer is unflappable.”

“I am thrilled about joining Knight Foundation,” Preston said. “It is an extraordinary opportunity to help drive digital innovation at news organizations, big and small, startups and traditional brands. I am also excited about joining Knight’s global community of digital journalism innovators whose ideas have been changing how we practice and produce quality journalism for years.”

Preston’s team at Knight Foundation includes Director/Journalism Shazna Nessa, a former Associated Press deputy managing editor and a recent John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University, and Program Officer/Journalism Marie Gilot.

Bracken’s team includes Director/Media Innovation Chris Barr, who manages the Knight Prototype Fund, which has become an important part of Knight strategy as it allows for the rapid testing and iteration of ideas, Program Associate Lucas Hernandez, and Executive Assistant Hallie Atkins.

The organizational shifts come as Michael Maness steps down as vice president/journalism and media innovation after more than three years at Knight to become the first innovator-in-residence for the Digital Initiative at the Harvard Business School. He will continue to consult for Knight Foundation.

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Knight Fellowship Program to create workshop for top editors and publishers

The Knight Foundation Tuesday announced a $1.8 million investment in the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships Program at Stanford University for a series of new initiatives, including the establishment of a workshop on transformative news leadership.

The program will use the money to “strengthen the fellowship curriculum and help spread the program’s impact into newsrooms and beyond,” according to a release from the Knight Foundation (full release below).

The initiatives include:

  • Hiring a coordinator to help fellows “build on the innovative ideas they examined during their fellowship year.”
  • Holding an annual “networking and mentoring event” for 20 former fellows.
  • Starting a workshop where “top editors and publishers” can collaborate and learn with fellows.
  • Create a technology curriculum for journalists.

Here’s the release:

STANFORD, CALIF.—Oct. 7, 2014—The John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University will launch a series of initiatives to strengthen the fellowship curriculum and help spread the program’s impact into newsrooms and beyond. The new initiatives are supported by $1.8 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The Knight Fellowships each year brings 20 journalists and journalism entrepreneurs to Stanford for 10 months. During that time they focus on journalism innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership as they work to meet a specific journalism challenge that each has identified. The program’s goal is to develop leaders with transformative ideas and innovative approaches they can use as they move forward in their journalism careers.

The three-year funding will support these new initiatives:

  • Add a new staff position: this person will help increase the impact of fellows’ work after their year at Stanford. The coordinator will work with current and past fellows to help them build on the innovative ideas they examined during their fellowship year, and explore ways that they can create organizational change within newsrooms and other workplaces.
  • Hold a yearly gathering of up to 20 former fellows: The networking and mentoring event will be geared toward fellows who are at a pivot point in their post-fellowship journalism careers. They will meet at Stanford for an intensive workshop aimed at helping them develop their next venture, as well as examining how to drive change in their existing organizations.
  • Establish a workshop at Stanford on transformative newsroom leadership: The workshop will be open to a small group of top editors and publishers to learn alongside fellows, and introduce them to new innovations and thinking.
  • Develop an evolving, living technology curriculum for journalists: Designed to address the sorts of questions journalists face when envisioning an innovative project, the curriculum will include content that can be shared widely with the field.

A portion of the funding will also go toward increasing the Knight endowment by $750,000, to be matched by $750,000 from the fellowship program.

In 2009, the fellowship program shifted its focus to emphasize journalism innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership, with the help of strategic planning support from Knight Foundation. As a result, fellows are now required to work on a journalism challenge during their year at Stanford and learn the skills to be innovative, entrepreneurial leaders.

“We want our fellows to be effective innovators for years to come, and to embed what they have learned in news outlets old and new,” said Jim Bettinger, Knight fellowships director. “This support from Knight Foundation will enable us to take strong steps towards this goal. Since 2009, the program has focused strongly on innovating for journalism’s future. We are now also thinking about how we can help journalism’s present.”

“Ensuring that fellowship training translates into real-world results is important to advancing the field of journalism and making sure that good ideas spread,” said Marie Gilot, Knight Foundation journalism program officer. “These new initiatives will allow the program to evolve and grow in response to the pace of innovation.”

Recent Knight fellows have launched journalism startups, created cross-border investigative reporting partnerships, and crafted tools to enhance reporting on immigrant communities and communities in crisis, to cite a few examples. Others are leading innovation in established news organizations or in journalism endeavors of their own, such as training other journalists in innovative thinking methodologies, data visualization, coding and other new media skills. Knight Foundation permanently endowed the fellowships in 1984.

Support for the fellowships is one part of Knight’s efforts to encourage change in journalism education and advance excellence in journalism. Knight has made various other investments in this area including support to a Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education and recent grants to Florida International University, Hampton University, Northeastern University and the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.

Correction: The original version of this post incorrectly referred to the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships Program at Stanford University as being a subsidiary of the Knight Foundation. Although originally endowed by the Knight Foundation, the fellowship program operates independently. Read more


Career Beat: Tom Knudson joins Center for Investigative Reporting

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Tom Knudson is now a senior reporter at The Center for Investigative Reporting. Previously he was a staff writer at The Sacramento Bee. (Center for Investigative Reporting)
  • Mark Smith will be mobile web editor for The Washington Post. Previously, he was senior manager of social media marketing at USA Today. (Washington Post)
  • Brian Gross will be deputy design director at The Washington Post. Currently, he’s lead senior designer there. Emmet Smith will be lead senior designer at The Washington Post. Previously, he was a senior designer there. (Washington Post)
  • Julia Cheiffetz is now executive editor at Dey Street Books. Previously, she was editorial director at Amazon. (@rachelsklar)
  • Stephen Collinson is now a senior enterprise reporter for CNN’s digital politics. Previously, he was a White House correspondent for Agence France-Presse. (Politico)
  • Matt Vella is now assistant managing editor at Time magazine. Previously, he was a senior editor at Fortune. Sam Jacobs is an assistant managing editor for Time magazine. Previously, he was a senior editor at Time. Kelly Conniff is now senior editor for special projects at Time magazine. Previously, she was a social media editor at Time. Mia Tramz is now multimedia editor at Time magazine. Previously, she was associate photo editor at Time Magazine. (Fishbowl NY)

Job of the day: The Idaho Statesman is looking for a breaking news reporter. Get your résumés in!

Send Ben your job moves:

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Tom Knudson was a Knight Fellow at Stanford University. In fact, he was the recipient of the Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Reporting, which is sponsored by Knight. Read more


Knight Foundation announces new journalism division

Knight Foundation

The Knight Foundation will split its journalism and media innovation division into two separate teams, adding a vice president for journalism, the nonprofit announced Wednesday.

Under the new structure, the media innovation division will administer programs such as the Knight News Challenge and the Knight Prototype Fund, John Bracken, vice president of the new media innovation division, said in a phone interview. The journalism division will focus on leading transformational change in newsrooms. The two divisions will divvy up the current combined grantmaking budget, though the specific breakdown hasn’t been determined yet. This budget varies from year to year depending on a variety of factors including the performance of the stock market.

Knight announced a slew of promotions in concert with the reorganization. Bracken was formerly director of media innovation. Former media innovation associate Chris Barr is now director of media and innovation. Former Associated Press deputy managing editor Shazna Nessa joins the foundation as director of journalism. And Marie Gilot, formerly a journalism program associate, is now a program officer for journalism.

The reorganization will allow Knight to focus deeply and separately on areas of media innovation and journalism, Bracken said.

“The reorganization really allows us to press the pedal to the metal with the media innovation work that we’re doing as well as the work we do with newsrooms,” he said.

The foundation plans to announce its pick for vice president of the journalism division in the coming months. Read more


Knight Foundation announces winners of prototype grants

Knight Foundation

A button that allows readers to “do public good,” a service that alerts readers to incorrect articles that have been shared on social media and a database that allows Massachusetts journalists to monitor court cases are among the projects that were awarded Prototype Fund grants, the Knight Foundation announced today. Read more

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Knight gives $245,000 to Hampton University to foster newsroom diversity

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced Thursday that it’s giving $245,000 to The Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications. The money will start a Center for Digital Media Innovation at the Hampton, Virginia school and help introduce students at the historically black college to journalism, according to the press release.

“For Knight, support of Hampton University’s new Center for Digital Media Innovation is a way to promote newsroom diversity, which is important both for providing people with a full picture of news in their community and engaging people from a variety of backgrounds,” Michael Maness, Knight Foundation vice president of journalism and media innovation, told Poynter in an email.

According to the press release, the new center will help students at Hampton University “explore new ways of gathering and distributing media content.” Read more


John Temple: Journalists shouldn’t ‘measure our success in wealth’

John S. Knight Fellowships

In a video interview published Tuesday, John Temple spoke with Knight Fellowships Director Jim Bettinger at a recent event at Stanford University. Temple, who spent a year as managing editor of The Washington Post and was the founding editor of Honolulu Civil Beat, is currently a senior fellow at Stanford. Bettinger asked what journalists should learn, and what they should not learn, from Silicon Valley. Here’s some of what Temple said, with the full video below.

Should learn

“…A great sense of openness and optimism and the sense of possibility and a willingness to try and to learn by trying and by doing and a willingness to experiment.”

Should not learn

“Technology does not solve all problems.” Read more

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Knight’s Prototype Fund fuels 17 projects

Knight Foundation

On Tuesday, the Knight Foundation announced the funding of 17 projects through Prototype Fund grants, Chris Barr writes.

The Prototype Fund is designed to give people with great concepts for media and information projects grants of $35,000 and six months to take their idea all the way to demo with a class of others facing a similar challenge. What can you learn in six months? Quite a bit.

Projects in this round include Capitol Hound, “Offering the public a searchable database of the transcripts of North Carolina legislative sessions, including an audio archive and alert system for General Assembly sessions and committee meetings”; Minezy, “Creating a tool to help journalists more easily find information in email archives received through Freedom of Information Act requests by analyzing data and highlighting important social relationships, dates and topics”; and Tipsy, “Making it easier for content providers to generate revenue by developing a new way to fund news sites through micropayments from readers.”

For more information on each of the 17 projects, check out Knight’s announcement. Read more


ONA names winners of j-school Challenge Fund grants

Gun control, public housing conditions, rising sea levels and air quality are among the topics that 12 university journalism schools plan to tackle with micro-grants provided by the Challenge Fund.

Four foundations that sponsor the fund put out a call last October seeking project proposals from journalism programs that would promote innovation in community news coverage and experimentation in digital technology.

The Online News Association, which administers the grants, announced the winners Friday, along with descriptions of the projects as they might be distilled down to a tweet:

  • Arizona State University: “Public engagement tools can influence coverage and change the conversation – even on an issue as contentious as guns.”
  • CUNY Graduate School of Journalism: “.@cunyjschool & @NYDailyNews crowdsource mold scourge in public housing to bring action/#accountability”
  • Florida International University: “Always live hyperlocal sea level rise news and mobile info. How does SLR impact where you live? #SLRSoFla #crowdhydrology”
  • Georgia Collaborative — Clark Atlanta University, Georgia State University, Morehouse College, and University of Georgia: “New partnership will train students in investigative reporting & data journalism, diversify newsrooms, engage community & #hackcurriculum”
  • San Diego State University: “What’s in the air in San Diego? SDSU students collaborate with local media to find out. Help us collect the data!”
  • San Francisco State University: “#Newspoints guides, organizes and maps your #reporting, interviews and #multimedia. Put your reporting on the map.
  • Texas State University: “Music tells the stories of a community, it’s history, culture, economy and social interaction. Share your story.”
  • University of Illinois: “See how social media intersects with your life every day and in every way even if you don’t see it – whether events, policies, ideas, opinions or decisions.”
  • University of Missouri: “Citizens have their say as experts, deciders & reporters listen.”
  • University of New Mexico: “Strange bedfellows? News & Strat Comm students launch start-up. “We make local news go viral!” #UNM”
  • University of Oklahoma: “Our @ONA grant proposal: conversation on poverty in Oklahoma City with mobile video, GIS #hackcurriculum”
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison: “Who watches Wisconsin water? @WisWatch & @UWMadison students reporting on quality & supply. Join us at & @waterwatchwi”

Honorable mentions went to: American University, Columbia College, DePaul University, El Paso Community College, Emerson College, Howard University, Mercer University, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Kansas, University of Minnesota, USC-Annenberg, Virginia Commonwealth University and West Virginia University.

Each of the winners receive $35,000 grants funded by the Knight Foundation, McCormick Foundation, Democracy Fund and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. Read more

in downtown Detroit, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit news outlets join forces in reporting from the grass roots

A long worn-out joke about Detroit goes something like this: “The last one out of the city, please turn off the lights.”

It’s a tired jab at a city that has taken more than its share of punches for its seemingly intractable financial troubles — not least of all from the Detroit press. But now the local media has stopped to take a closer look at the damage and the recovery as the Motor City teaches itself to fight again.

Several news organizations based in and around Detroit have formed the Detroit Journalism Cooperative, a project sponsored by the San Francisco-based Renaissance Journalism organization with $500,000 in funding from the Knight Foundation and Ford Foundation.

The purpose of the year-long program is to report on the troubled city from a grass-roots perspective with the news organizations sharing their content, a collaboration that’s rare in a news environment as competitive as Detroit’s.

The nine partners in the cooperative include Bridge Magazine, an online publication of The Center for Michigan; Detroit Public Radio (WDET); Michigan Public Radio; Detroit Public Television; and New Michigan Media that combines five ethnic papers — Arab American News, The Jewish News, Latino Press, The Michigan Korean Weekly and The Michigan Citizen, which targets the African-American community.

Jon Funabiki, founder of the Renaissance Journalism program based at San Francisco State University, said with Detroit experiencing the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, it was the right time to delve into the issues.

“One of the things we learned was that the mainstream news organizations really wanted to get closer to the ground on the neighborhood level, and working through ethnic newspapers they could do that,” said Funabiki. “But the ethnic papers wanted to do a larger story that the bigger ones could do. So it’s more about stories, the broader stories that everyone can get.”

The Detroit bankruptcy is a complicated hodgepodge of court procedures, legal jargon, financial spreadsheets, timetables, and fights between banks and pensioners. None of it is written in layman’s terms and few in the city truly understand it all. At the same time, most Detroiters realize that the financial crisis was 60 years in the making and that no smoking gun exists as to the cause of the fiscal collapse.

That’s where the cooperative’s participants come in, explaining how the actions of state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr and a neighborhood like Brightmoor on the city’s far west side are connected.

“(WDET’s) Craig Fahle attended a meeting of community leaders and there was this woman from Brightmoor, a tough neighborhood,” said Funabiki. “Everyone was talking about luring high-tech companies, but she said we need low-skilled jobs because we have low-skilled workers.

“When you talk about people saying something like we need low-skilled jobs, it’s an important perspective. The groups will be able to look at issues of race and class and racial tension because they would be getting stories from this level.”

To be sure, this isn’t the first time media has focused on Detroit as a story. There have been numerous articles, documentaries and reports for years on Detroit’s fiscal decline. In 2010, TIME magazine dedicated a year to reporting on the city. (Disclosure: I am a former staffer and participated in the project.); Dateline NBC produced a controversial piece on the ills of Detroit; and CNN sent Anthony Bourdain to hang out for a piece that paid the city few compliments.

But Joe Grimm, a consultant on the Detroit Journalism Cooperative project, said Detroit is getting as much attention as it does because it is an important story.

“It’s no accident that The (New York) Times has done a lot of stories about Detroit,” said Grimm, who also serves as editor in residence at the Michigan State University School of Journalism and Poynter’s Ask the Recruiter writer. “They see it as a news story, and there are a lot more mentions of Detroit in global media. These foundations, Knight and Ford, have done a lot of stuff in Michigan for years. Knight was set up to help cities where John and James Knight had newspapers and Ford has always had an interest in Detroit given the company.

“So the idea is to help people understand what is going on in the city,” he continued. “The idea is to increase coverage, transparency and accountability as the city reorganizes.”

At the end of January, WDET launched a special website powered by the cooperative entitled Next Chapter Detroit that aims to explain the long-term effects of the bankruptcy on Detroit and its people. Sandra Svoboda, who blogs for website, said it takes the cooperation of many organizations to cover such a large issue as Detroit’s financial condition.

“Really, no one media outlet can tell this story by itself,” she explained. “You need a body of work to understand what’s going on in the courts, neighborhoods, in Lansing (the state capital), in Detroit City Hall and everywhere else that’s affected by this giant story.”

Svoboda said some of the stories have been told by the various media entities in the cooperative, but the Next Chapter Detroit provides a singular space to display them. “What we’re able to do with the cooperative is really showcase those stories all in one place and work together across the different media to pool our strengths so that the stories get told in more of a cohesive fashion and on several layers.”

Although the Detroit Journalism Cooperative will only last a year, the possibility exists to extend it, if the funders wish to continue, Funabiki said. However, the long-term takeaway, he adds, is that journalists will now be watching very carefully what is being done.

“There is a lot of distrust in the community of politicians, and with the traditional watchdog role of the media, if we can strengthen the community’s role and put the politicians and business community on watch, hopefully it might foster new ideas.”

Madison J. Gray is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based multimedia journalist specializing in urban issues and criminal justice. The Detroit native has written for, the Associated Press, and the Detroit News among many other news outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @madisonjgray Read more

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