Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Detroit Residents Tackle Four Playgrounds in One Day With KaBOOM! and Knight

July 27, 2010, 7:36 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Hundreds of volunteers from around the Detroit region participated in'four KaBOOM! playground builds Saturday.' Two sites, Starlight Baptist and Jude Baptist, are faith-based organizations with strong community ties.' The Jude playground is connected to a community center that includes a daycare for residents on Detroit's east side.

Focus Hope chose Paul Robeson Academy to partner with and the place was packed with children from the school doing their part in the build.' The school band entertained the volunteers and the cheer team motivated folks to proceed even with the threat of inclement weather. Congressman John Conyers told a story about knowing Paul Robeson, the actor and political activist for whom the school was named.' Other elected officials were in attendance including Wayne County Commissioner Keith Williams.' Commissioner Williams contributed the match funds to support the project build.

At ACCESS in Dearborn, the build had a hip hop flare.' The music kept the volunteers in an upbeat mode while their spirit for supporting their community was shared by all.' Mothers brought food and a local firefighter brought the fire trucks and entertained the small children.

Some of the people who volunteered got so excited they volunteered to do more for the organizations building the playgrounds.

Knight Foundation is funding volunteers to build 13 playgrounds in five cities this year in an effort to engage residents in strengthening their community.

Residents' Ideas Will Help Transform Historic Macon Neighborhood

July 27, 2010, 4:09 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Video: Tattnall Square Park will get a new design with funding from the neighborhood challenge.

It's been just over a year since the Knight Foundation trustees approved a five-year, $3 million grant to the Community Foundation of Central Georgia to fund an innovative program, the Knight Neighborhood Challenge. The program funds residents best ideas for making the historic College Hill area a vibrant place to live. The second round of recipients was announced this evening, and what a great year it has been!

When the grant was approved, some said 'Do you REALLY think you can find $3 million worth of resident-driven ideas to improve the College Hill neighborhood in Macon, Georgia?' 'I never had a doubt.

This second round of investment reflects the great ideas of this community'.large and small. There were proposals totaling over $1 million for the $200,000 that the community foundation ultimately distributed. While of course it is wonderful to see innovative ideas generated by our friends and neighbors, the most gratifying part of the Knight Neighborhood Challenge is that the improvements will benefit everyone in Macon.

Check out the list below.

This investment that Knight Foundation is making in the College Hill Corridor and Macon is a tangible expression of Knight's commitment to this community.

I can't wait for round three. Macon residents are invited to learn more and'apply.

Round two recipients are:

College Hill Alliance''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $94,518

Tattnall Square Park Improvements: Design Phase To implement the design phase of the College Hill Master Plan's improvements for Tattnall Square Park.

Rebuilding Macon Inc.''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $25,000

'Macon' a Difference in the Corridor To beautify and restore the homes of elderly and disabled homeowners in the College Hill Corridor' ensuring that they are warm, safe and dry.

Historic Macon Foundation''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $21,950

Tyler's Place Dog Park Improvements To employ a local artist to create an agility course, furniture and sculpture for Tyler's Place Dog Park.

College Hill Alliance''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $18,500

Second Sunday Brunch To offer free live concerts, one Sunday a month, which will continue to attract a diverse audience to the College Hill Corridor.

Macon Outreach at Mulberry''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $10,000 Macon Outreach Community Garden To establish a community garden and compost area that will bring a vibrant new use to an empty lot. The harvest will be dedicated to feeding the hungry in Central Georgia.

ELucas Consulting, Inc.''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $6,500

Cotton Avenue Revival Festival To remember and relive the rich history of the historic Cotton Avenue area with a festival offering music, arts and entertainment.

Centenary United Methodist Church''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $6,190

Beall's Hill Garden: Safe, Clean and Branded To install historically appropriate fencing, raised beds and signage in Beall's Hill Garden.

Nathan Dees''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $5,000

Cops on the Hill To establish a fund to provide down payment or deposit assistance for law enforcement officers who choose to live in the College Hill Corridor.

Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $3,716

Corridor Event Recycling Bins To purchase recycling bins for use at events within the corridor.' The bins will be orange and feature the College Hill Corridor logo.

Mercer University''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $3,200

Energy Audit of Tattnall Square Presbyterian Church To conduct an energy audit of Tattnall Square Presbyterian Church by Mercer University School of Engineering faculty.

Heather B. Cutway''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $2,150

We'll Leave the Light On! To help light the way efficiently while making people feel safe by giving residents energy-efficient, fluorescent lights to display outside their homes from dusk to dawn.

James E. Waldron''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $1,000

Composting Analysis and Design for Mercer Village To design an appropriate, user-friendly and adaptable composting facility for the Mercer Village area.

Mercer University''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $890

Energy Audits for College Hill Corridor To offer energy audits of homes in the College Hill Corridor area performed by Mercer University School of Engineering students.

Heather B. Cutway''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $700

Urban Hikes in the Corridor To provide guided, one-hour walks in the corridor with an expert on the College Hill area.

Pam Thomasson''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $689

Ocmulgee Bird points the way to Macon's Indian Mounds To provide a better sign leading to Ocmulgee National Monument.

Lee A. Johnson''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $528

Graffiti Control Patrol To paint over gang graffiti on buildings, streets and traffic signs.

Aaron Zaritzky''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $450

'No Trash Dumping' Sign in Beall's Hill To help neighbors in Beall's Hill install a 'No Trash Dumping' sign near an entry to their neighborhood

Nathan Dees''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' ''''''''''' $450

College Hill Graffiti Cleanup To initiate weekend volunteer graffiti clean-up projects.

Charlotte Library Busy, But Cash-Strapped

July 27, 2010, 2:57 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Residents use the computers at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

About a year ago, Knight Foundation supported the Charlotte library's plans to create a job help facility at the main branch downtown - part of an initiative to empower libraries to be true community information centers.

Today, it's busier than ever - even though the library is open fewer days and fewer hours. At a time when more folks need libraries, their services and the Internet access they provide, our library system is more challenged than ever.

As a member of the Charlotte Catalyst Fund committee, 'I was pleased to support a request to help the county and library explore the library's future. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg library is not a county department though it gets the bulk of its funding from the county. That puts it in a precarious position during budget discussions.

The county is likely to face budget shortfalls again next year, so it's smart to be looking now for operating strategies to keep more libraries open for more hours.

The Dangers of Covering Corruption: New Report Probes Safeguarding of Investigative Journalists

July 27, 2010, 11:10 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Last week, the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) released a new report ' Covering Corruption: The Difficulties of Trying to Make a Difference.

'Covering corruption is more dangerous than covering war,' writes the report's author, Rosemary Armao.

Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), says exposes of corruption are 'the kind of journalism that has a lot of martyrs.'' Knight Foundation supports CPJ in its mission to reduce impunity and seek justice for slain journalists. Knight helped the Inter American Press Association significantly reduce impunity rates in Latin America.

Recommendations from the report focus on measures for the safety of reporters, a critical need for a rethink of investigative journalism training, and the growing use of digital technology to empower journalists and communities ' three areas in which Knight Foundation actively awards grants.

News Start-Ups Exchange Tips on Engaging Readers, Generating Revenue

July 27, 2010, 9:56 a.m., Posted by Marika Lynch



Seeking Sustainability: A Nonprofit News Roundtable

Anyone curious about the future of journalism ' and how news outlets can effectively inform people in the digital age, while surviving as a business ' should check out a new Knight Foundation report, Seeking Sustainability: A Nonprofit News Roundtable.


The report (accompanied by videos) summarizes one of the first roundtable discussions of its kind with 12 groundbreaking nonprofit news organizations, including California Watch, a project of the Center for Investigating Reporting; The Huffington Post Investigative Fund; Chicago News Cooperative; Voice of San Diego and The Texas Tribune.

Knight Foundation sponsored the roundtable in April, which was co-hosted by The Texas Tribune, Voice of San Diego and the Knight Chair in Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to the news groups detailing their experiences, several dozen funders, academics and researchers from around the country shared their perspectives.' They touched on the issues all online news startups are experimenting with: journalism and advertising models, ways to generate revenue, interacting with and building community and technology and innovation.

Lessons learned and questions explored:

  • When getting an online news enterprise off the ground, participants agreed that 'structure matters.' Nontraditional media groups need to be entrepreneurial, adaptive, collaborative and flexible. Diversity of revenue and approaches to creating journalistic and community value is key to sustainability.

  • A group's success at developing strong community and media partnerships seemed to be linked more to its leadership, business model and visibility than to its initial financial support.

  • Most of the startups agreed on the importance of finding partners in traditional media that can publish their work and provide support (both organizational and financial). The Texas Tribune, for example, has partnered with NPR. Public media were viewed as the most natural collaborators because they share a nonprofit, community information mission.

  • In terms of creating revenue streams, memberships were considered an effective way to raise money as well as to foster engagement. Incentives or benefits to membership need to be explored, such as those offered by symphonies and public media.

  • News startups, which typically have very limited tech staffing and budget, seem to find most success using existing technology rather than developing their own tools. Voice of San Diego, for example, acquired an iPhone app for a small licensing fee.

While participants agreed that nonprofit news startups face serious challenges, including financial self-sufficiency, those at the roundtable have enjoyed significant success carrying out their missions. In this sphere of journalism, optimism is reigning.


Student multimedia project puts human face on tough global issues

July 27, 2010, 9:12 a.m., Posted by Amy Starlight Lawrence

Students are learning multimedia in the field by covering stories all over the world as part of the project 'My Story, My Goal.'' In response to the UN Millennium Development Goals, 14 young journalists from the University of Miami teamed up with local partners to share coverage which personifies some of the world's most critical human issues.

PBS NewsHour to Receive Special Recognition at Emmys

July 26, 2010, 1:15 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

The PBS NewsHour will receive the Chairman's Award at this year's News and Documentary Emmy Awards.

The program is being honored for its contributions to broadcast journalism, but it is also helping lead the digital transformation of news and information.

In fall 2009, the PBS NewsHour launched in a new format that merged its broadcast program and digital platforms. A 2007 grant from Knight Foundation had helped the program add interactive graphics and media to its web site. The grant also helped build the site's educational features, which include teacher resources and student-produced content.

The Online NewsHour now features an online-only video correspondent and a news blog called The Rundown. The site integrates content from other correspondents' blogs and web sites, such as Making Sense with Paul Solman and Jeff Brown's Art Beat. It also collaborates with other public media content producers like Frontline and NPR.

Knight Foundation also supports Patchwork Nation, a multimedia project with the PBS NewsHour that uses demographic data to identify different community types and trends across the United States.' In the coming years, the project's analysis of congressional districts will help programs like the PBS NewsHour report on state-wide elections.

Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, the original co-anchors of The MacNeil Lehrer NewsHour, will accept the Chairman's Award at Lincoln Center on Sept. 27. They will be joined by Les Crystal, the president of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, and NewsHour Executive Producer Linda Winslow.

Expert Gives Tips on Fostering Community Engagement in Charlotte

July 26, 2010, 10:06 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

A Charlotte neighborhood group recently told the Observer that it was tired of inviting speakers who gave lectures college-style. Something was missing. So instead, the group decided to encourage dialogue with the public officials who addressed them by placing chairs in a circle.

A day after the story appeared, Matt Leighninger, an expert in citizen engagement with the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, visited Charlotte. He loved the story.

In a series of meetings sponsored by Knight Foundation - with elected officials, county staff and'nonprofit leaders - Matt shared characteristics of good community engagement.

They included: Having people talk about what they care about and their'experiences to create common ground; giving a fair presentation of'options to be considered, not just one plan for reaction; and presenting'the expectation of action so that participants see themselves as part of'the solution.

Having candidates sit in a circle actually talking with folks would seem to fit into Matt's framework.

North Carolina Open Government Coalition Raises Endowment for Sunshine Center

July 22, 2010, 3:24 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

When Elon University polled North Carolina residents in 2009, they found a disconnect:

Of those surveyed, 88 percent'thought open government meetings and records kept government operations honest.

Yet 63 percent were not aware that state laws exist to allow public access to government records.

That's why the mission of the university's Sunshine Center is so important. Run by the North Carolina Open Government Coalition at Elon University, the center educates residents about their rights to government information, and helps people access official meetings and records.

This week, the center announced some great news:''it has built a $500,000'endowment.

Knight Foundation'gave a'$250,000 challenge grant' for the Sunshine Center's endowment in 2007.'Local organizations such as'the Triangle Community Foundation and the North Carolina Press Foundation'have raised enough to match the grant amount. Additional support came from Time Warner Cable, the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters and individual contributors.

Now, the Sunshine Center can continue to push government at all levels to be more transparent and facilitate access to public records. Their work helps fulfill the recommendations of 'Informing Communities,' the report of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy.

The Sunshine Center also participates in meetings with other members of the National Freedom of Information Coalition and hosts Sunshine Week activities in North Carolina. Sunshine Week is an annual nationwide event run by the American Society of News Editors. The events provide information about freedom of information and encourage journalists, schools and civic groups to advocate for open government laws.

Public-Private Collaboration: White House Honors Knight Partner With New Social Innovation Fund Grant

July 22, 2010, 9:38 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Damian Thorman, Knight Foundation's national program director, is the incoming chair of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

I'm in Washington today, where the National Fund for Workforce Solutions is receiving $7.7 million from the White House's'new Social Innovation Fund.

The grant will allow the workforce fund, a Knight grantee, ' and its partner Jobs for the Future - to help at least 23,000 additional people in 24 communities, while addressing the needs of more than 1,000 employers.

The investment also recognizes the fund's innovative ' and effective ' approach to preparing America's workers for the jobs our economy demands. 'The fund works by linking local businesses with employees and workforce experts. Together, they determine the kind of training needed to fill existing, higher-skilled, jobs. 'That's the key: allowing local wisdom to drive'local solutions.

The grant is'further recognition that the workforce fund is making headway when our country needs it most.

Two other Knight Foundation grantees, LISC and New Profit, Inc., also received funding.

It's an honor to receive a grant from the Social Innovation Fund, created by Congress just last year to help successful non-profits replicate their approaches to addressing critical challenges.

Diane Rehm Interviews Investigative Reporting Nonprofits About Meeting Community Information Needs

July 21, 2010, 2:28 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Diane Rehm

As in-depth investigative reporting from daily newspapers has fallen, not-for-profit news models providing that coverage are rising.

This week on The Diane Rehm Show, 'Not-for-profit Journalism' looked at how non-traditional news creators are becoming the new news providers. Rehm's guests were Bill Buzenberg, Executive Director of the Center for Public Integrity; Stephen Engelberg, Managing Editor of ProPublica; Evan Smith, CEO and Editor in Chief of The Texas Tribune; and Ken Doctor, author of 'Newsonomics' who spent 21 years with Knight Ridder.

All three news organizations are supported by Knight Foundation. The Texas Tribune is rapidly gaining audience for its statewide model. The Center for Public Integrity is transforming digitally to better serve new audiences. And Pro Publica is the winner of a 2010 Pulitzer Prize.

Knight Foundation's $15 million Investigative Reporting Initiative demonstrates the foundation's commitment to developing new economic models for investigative reporting. See the grants from the initiative here.' In 2009, the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities highlighted the need to maximize 'the availability of relevant and credible information. Its second recommendation is to 'Increase support for public service media aimed at meeting community information needs.

The Knight Foundation's Journalism Program funds a range of projects and ideas to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression worldwide.

Macon Comes Together to Build KaBOOM! Playground

July 21, 2010, 10:38 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is partnering with KaBOOM! to build 13 playgrounds in five communities this year - including four in Detroit on Saturday. Watch the above video to get a feel for the playground Build Day in Macon, and read a first hand account of how the community came together to make it happen by Macon Program Director Beverly Blake

A few Saturdays ago, in 90 plus degree heat, over 100 volunteers from Macon and Middle Georgia gathered at Woodfield Academy to construct a KaBOOM! playground. What a day it was! We had a DJ, lots of food and drink, and skilled and unskilled (me) labor who came together to enjoy one another's company and a build great project.' Most of the folks there I had not met before. Great fellowship was in the air - along with 80% humidity.

I was assigned to the "dome" team - a great big jungle gym type of structure - and took my seat on the ground under a big tree with one of the other volunteers named Oscar Hugley. Our job was to get the nuts and bolts and washers all put together. We began chatting and I learned that his mother lived in Beall's Hill (one of the projects Knight Foundation is working on as part of the College Hill initiative) and we chatted and I learned a lot about the history of the neighborhood that I would never have known.' What a small world. 'Fate brought us together at a playground build so I could learn about the history and people of a neighborhood that Knight is working in.' It was obviously meant to be.

The dome was finished in 45 minutes. Our KaBOOM! project manager said it was a record. Usually it takes 1 and a half hours. She was amazed...until we all found out that our team leader is the head of engineering at Robins Air Force Base and brought some of his colleagues with him to work on the build. That explains it. And, amazingly, the team even read the instructions - or at least glanced at them.

We finished up the playground by 2 p.m. 'and had the dedication.' It was a wonderful day and I have never seen folks work so hard. I thought that because it was so hot we would lose people, but not so.' Everyone was hot, tired and sunburned but happy. And the kids were thrilled with the finished playground. The only downer was that no one could play on it for 48 hours until the concrete cured.' I went back this week to take a look and was amazed. It is beautiful and will be such a big part of Woodfield - I learned that the students will benefit not only through recreation, but the playground will also be therapeutic. Large motor skills development is important for many of the students at Woodfield.

When I returned this week and talked with Becky Sessions, the head of school, she told me something about the build that most of us never consider.' We see Build Day and all the activity and the finished product, but don't think about the eight weeks prior, when all the planning and "friendraising" and organization happens. Just think about it: you have eight weeks to raise $7500, gather over 100 volunteers, get the kids involved in the design, the families involved in the organization, sign up for committees, have weekly conference calls with KaBOOM!...a million details!' Becky said the two months leading up to the build were as important to build the Woodfield Community as the Build Day itself. Parents got to know one another. Everyone who was asked for anything was thrilled to participate (I have never seen so much food in my life - thanks to Macon's groceries and restaurants).' The way the business community came forward was amazing. Woodfield did not have to spend one penny of their operating funds to make sure Build Day was a success.' There were even funds to hire a DJ - which really helped keep us motivated.

KaBOOM! focuses on building a great playground, but the group is about so about much more. It is about bringing strangers together to accomplish something important and learning that we have something in common, like Oscar and I did. It is about working together in planning for something on faith. Since no one had ever built a KaBOOM! playground before, no one knew what to expect. It was also about families sharing a common vision for the school that is not only helping their kids succeed, but providing new friends and relationships.

But mostly I believe it's about how people with a love for community and a willingness to give can remarkably come together '- in eight weeks- to envision, plan and build a fantastic playground in only one day. 'Folks in Macon are still talking about it. And every time I put on my build T-shirt, I think of Oscar and Becky and the Woodfield Academy community. And I smile.

New Journalism Program Associate to Help Knight Manage News and Information Portfolio

July 20, 2010, 4:20 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Amy Starlight Lawrence has joined Knight Foundation as a new journalism program associate.

Lawrence brings to Knight her experiences working with international professional organizations at Miami's International Association for Asset Recovery and ShoreBank International in London, where she earned her master's degree in social policy and development at the London School of Economics. She also holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Miami in broadcast journalism and international studies.

At Knight, Lawrence will help manage the journalism, news and information portfolio, which includes media innovation and international grants.

Knight-Batten Awards Honor Innovative Recipes for Journalism

July 19, 2010, 2:27 p.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

We never know what will rise to the top each year in the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism. But we do know that it will define a significant trend in the rapidly evolving media landscape.

This year, without a doubt, the innovations clustered around the process of journalism ' not just the finished product.

The processes honored are kicking into high gear how collaborations ' with readers, news providers, data gatherers and ordinary citizens ' are fostering unique levels of digital engagement.' They are producing different forms of news, growing it, sharing it, amplifying it, making it engaging 'and often having demonstrable impact.

Ushahidi Haiti became the go-to place for those delivering disaster-relief services. ProPublica's growing corps of citizen reporters is helping the investigative news site report news from the ground up. 48 HR Magazine shows us how to do a stunning deep-dive on a crowdsourced topic with rapid-fire turnaround.

To be sure, the winners are showing us that it's important to go beyond the shock and awe that crowdsourcing actually can work and begin to refine the recipe for putting it on the menu of daily journalism.

The robustness of all the top ideas told us that formulaic journalism on auto-pilot is dead. (Read more in our news release.)

Very much alive are things like Sunlight Live, the $10,000 Grand Prize winner. How do you cover a highly orchestrated, bipartisan news event like February's health summit? It involves more than a reporter taking notes on the proceedings.

Take one orchestrated political event, stream the video, find a way to blog it live. Then sprinkle in via widget deep data from OpenSecrets to tie the speakers to the campaign contributions they received. 'Let the numbers do a little more of the talking than just the politicians,' said Jake Brewer in Sunlight's blog unpacking the project's execution.

Add a widget for Twitter talk about the event.' And pepper it with visualizations, such as word clouds and tweet graphs to boost understanding.

The result: nearly 43,000 watched the debate on Sunlight Live, 9,800 participated in the liveblog, more than 1,300 tweets were sent out.

The Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism have been around since 2003. The awards were among the first to recognize global blogging, interactive games and exercises, creative data and mapping mash ups, nonprofit news, and the role creative technologists are playing in journalism.

We don't know what will come to the fore next year, but we know, that like this year, it will make us more optimistic, rather than pessimistic, about the future of journalism.

- Jan Schaffer, J-Lab, The Institute of Interactive Journalism This was originally posted at Knight Foundation funds the awards.

Ohio Governor Announces New Home for Akron's Austen BioInnovation Institute

July 19, 2010, 1:58 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation



Dr. Frank Douglas, President and CEO of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron

Today in Akron, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland officially designated the city as a 'Hub of Innovation and Opportunity," as leaders announced a new headquarters for the 'Austen BioInnovation Institute.

The two-year-old BioInnovation Institute will be moving into the first three floors of a county-owned building on the corner of Main Street and Perkins Avenue. The site will host a healthcare training facility offering patient-centered simulation programs.

The hub, which also will be located at the institute's new facility, will be focused on biomaterials for orthopedics and wound healing

Dr. Frank Douglas, the institute's president and CEO explained why the BioInnovation Institute'has moved to a new home. 'We are creating more than just office space; we are building a 21st century hub allowing us to recruit great talent, and to provide an environment that will push discovery and commercialization forward."

The institute, named for former Knight Board Chairman and trustee Dr. Gerald Austen, was originally launched in 2008'to encourage research in biomedical commercialization and improve prevention, treatment and disease management. The project, jump-started by a $20 million grant from Knight, will also help to secure the region's economic future by creating jobs and attracting investment.

Knight Foundation Welcomes New Member of Strategic Initiatives Team

July 19, 2010, 12:11 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Jeffrey Coates has joined Knight Foundation as the new program associate for Strategic Initiatives.

Coming from New Orleans, Coates has helped community groups form sustainable plans for recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Most recently, he was director of development / data for the Greater New Orleans Disaster Recovery Partnership. He also founded the nonprofit organization RALLY (Recovery Action Learning Laboratory) to fill the critical unmet need of monitoring and evaluating post-disaster programs.

Coates' earlier experiences in international disaster recovery with an emphasis on public health have contributed to his deep appreciation for community engagement and understanding of systemic change. Coates also brings to Knight his experiences volunteering in Guyana with the Peace Corps and interning with the government of Sri Lanka.

Knight's Strategic Initiatives Program supports innovative leaders and entrepreneurial organizations working across disciplines to promote informed and engaged communities.

Macon Pastor Inspired by the Sense of Community at Second Sunday Event

July 16, 2010, 1:13 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation




Cross-posted from Ben Gosden's Covered in the Master's Dust blog.

This past Sunday I attented a community event in Macon, GA called'Second Sunday. Basically it's an event [sponsored by Knight Foundation] and geared toward'building community through entertaining.'It was'my first Second Sunday and I must say it was a great time. We sat in lawn chairs and'on blankets and ate picnics and enjoyed music.

Somewhere around the cover'band's rendition of'Sittin on'the Bay I happened to look around and scan the crowd. To my amazement I noticed something very unique. In this crowd of folks who were busy talking and singing and dancing I noticed something else present. This crowd was made up of young people, old people, middle-age people, black people, white people, rich, poor, in-between, gay, and straight. Looking around we looked like the most hodge-podge group ever assembled. And yet, there were no evident signs of ill will, malice, or even hatred. It was just a group of people enjoying a 90 degree evening filled with music, food, and community.

It made me wonder: why doesn't the church look more like this sometimes? Why do we seem so homogenous when we worship and yet when it comes to living life in the greater community many of us are able to exist and even thrive in situations where the diversity is as normal as 90 degree heat at 7pm? If God is truly God and Christ died for any and all then why is it we seem to only align ourselves as communities of faith along seemingly homogenous lines? If we look close enough I think we might actually find we share more in common than we think. We all experience pain and heartache. We all need to be loved. We all do better when a part of a community than if we were left to our own solitary devices. And, if we believe in the Gospel we say we do, we all need the life-giving and life-transforming love of a God who knows exactly how we feel. So why not the church be the place where all can find this abundant life?

I'm not really sure where to go or what to do about this. I wish we could work to create churches where all people find a place and a home no matter what superficial characteristics might seem to make them different. But I just don't know how to help make this happen. What I do know is, somewhere along the final chorus of a familiar Otis Redding hit I looked around and I think I caught a glimpse of the Kingdom of God.

Award-winning Film on Water Crisis to Air on Cable TV

July 16, 2010, 12:16 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

One Water Trailer from KnightCenter on Vimeo.

On August 2, 'One Water,' a documentary narrated by Martin Sheen about the world's 'freshwater crisis, will make its cable television debut. The film, which was completed in 2008 by University of Miami professors Sanjeev Chatterjee and Ali Habashi, aims to raise awareness about the precarious state of potable water and how people around the world interact with it. Chatterjee is also the executive director of the University's'Knight Center for International Media.

So far, the Knight Foundation-funded film has won numerous awards from various film festivals and has been screened at the United Nations' Commission on Sustainable Development. The documentary, showing on the Discovery Channel Networks Planet Green'at 12 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Aug. 2 and again Aug. 3 and 7, also has helped spark further media reports about the globe's water crisis. To learn more, visit

Rising Talent: Meet Knight Foundation's Summer Interns

July 16, 2010, 11:40 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation has six summer interns who bring with them experience doing volunteer work for the homeless and arts groups, and academic backgrounds in international politics, philosophy and economics, among other areas. Below is a little about each of them, and what they are contributing to Knight Foundation.

Claire Austin, a rising junior at Georgetown University, recently began her second summer internship with Knight Foundation's Journalism Program. She is studying international politics with a focus on development, environmental policy and women's rights. During the school year, she teaches English as a Second Language, works to make her school greener and runs a meal donation program. Before coming to Knight, she interned at an antiques and collectibles guide, where she wrote for its online newsletter. This summer she is using Knightblog to connect grantees to each other, show how grantees are meeting the goals of the Knight Commission on Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy as well as assist with grant reports.

Hannah Berkeley Cohen, a rising junior at the University of Pittsburgh, is interning in the Communications Department. She studies politics, philosophy and economics. Hannah recently returned from a semester abroad in Havana and has interpreted for the International Medical Alliance in Haiti. During her summer at the foundation, Hannah is focusing on communicating the impact of the Communities Program grantees on Knightblog as well as interacting via Twitter and Facebook.

Raquel Villagra, a rising junior at Columbia University, is spending her second summer in the Communities Program assisting with the Miami Knight Arts Challenge and'Knight's newly launched national arts program. An art history major, she is a 2008 graduate of New World School of the Arts' music program. Last spring, she interned with Free Arts NYC, a nonprofit organization that provides arts programming and mentoring to underserved children and families throughout the city. During the year she is deputy copy editor at the Columbia Daily Spectator and co-coordinator for Earth Coalition, an environmental activist and community service organization.

Justin Gitlin is a rising senior at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and is interning in the Communications Department. Justin is the editor of his school newspaper, The Lawrence, and has experience directing other student-created literary compilations. He also plays tennis and volunteered at a tennis camp for underprivileged youth. At Knight, he is focusing on writing blog posts and creating an internal foundation wiki.

Michelle Black, daughter of former Knight Foundation CEO Creed Black, is interning with the Communities Program. Michelle is a rising junior at Miami's Ransom Everglades School where she has been involved in the Thespian Society and tutoring program'Breakthrough Miami. Michelle is on the board of the local community service organization Twenty Little Working Girls and has volunteered with Community Partnership for the Homeless, collecting and donating children's books to the center's library.

Adrian Diaz-Granados will be attending Cornell University as a freshman this fall, where he plans to study economics and policy and continue his work with Habitat for Humanity. While at Knight Foundation, Adrian will be collaborating with Donors Forum of South Florida to create a database of philanthropic projects that will eventually be part of a social networking site available to forum members.

Citizen Watchdogs Text to Build Community

July 14, 2010, 11:57 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

The recent'Sourcing through Texting Summit at the WLRN Public Radio and Television Studios in Miami, brought 'journalists together to explore new ways for community members with limited Web access to'inform local news and voice their concerns through the Public Insight Network.

The Public Insight Network allows newsrooms to better connect to citizens, and use their expertise and experiences to produce stories that are more insightful and bring public concerns to light. In 2008,' Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media expanded the platform to news organizations across the country with a Knight Foundation grant.

One of the brainstorming teams at the summit considers ways Miami media can connect to the Little Haiti community

The easier it is for community members to reach professional journalists, the more they can contribute their knowledge and experiences to make stories richer. Perhaps few people in lower-income communities have personal computers with easy access to the Internet, but'many'have mobile access.

Jed Alpert of Mobile Commons explained that people with mobile devices text more than they do anything else, including make phone calls. The platform Mobile Commons developed with Public Insight Network makes it possible for citizens to report on a local concern using texting.

Using the platform, journalists can search through a database of text messages and filter them by topic and location to map trends and find story ledes. In Detroit, WDET is'investigating how oversize trucks taking illegal routes through residential areas affects quality of life'using'Public Insight Journalism. Anyone can report on the trucks by texting 'truck' to a local phone number, which prompts an automatic text asking for their location and the truck's license plate number.

At the Miami summit, participants from WLRN and The Miami Herald, WNYC's The Takeaway, Public Radio International, and American Public Media's Public Insight Journalism network spent a day in'the Little Haiti neighborhood talking to residents about improvements they'd like to see in their community.

The next day, they brainstormed ways that residents could use text messaging so that local media and tell the story behind the news. John Keefe of WNYC led the brainstorm, which used a format developed by Stanford Institute of Design.

People without a personal computer or a cell phone can' access the Internet to contribute to news stories at the library. Linda Fantin, the Director of'Public Insight Journalism at Minnesota Public Radio, has talked about the project'with such groups as the American Librarian Association. Knight Foundation's Library Initiative helps libraries become information centers for their communities.

The Miami team came up with prototypes for connecting Little Haiti residents to local media after their brainstorming session. They are available on PRI's YouTube channel. For more on the summit, see'PRI's Michael Skoler's post on the Knight Digital Media Center blog.


What Makes People Passionate About Where They Live? Find Out More This Fall.

July 13, 2010, 3:55 p.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

A Knight Foundation team in Charlotte'sparked discussion today on what makes people loyal to and passionate about where they live ' and what that means for communities.

The talk at the'National School Public Relations Association conference centered on the findings of the'Soul of the Community survey, conducted'for Knight Foundation'by Gallup. In its first two years, the survey found that an area's aesthetics, or physical beauty, social offerings and openness to all people provide the emotional glue that keeps residents happily entrenched.

The report also explores the nuance of various factors, such as good schools, that keep people put. On Twitter,'Richie Escovedo ('Vedo') cited the 'survey:'"Community engagement and attachment is *different* from involvement and largely untapped..."

The survey also delves deeper, to explore whether communities with more attached residents are better off. So far, two years of results have found a significant relationship between people's passion and loyalty for their community and local economic growth.

Results from the survey's third round will be announced in the fall.

Knight Chair in Media and Religion wins Luce support

July 12, 2010, 4:24 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

The Henry Luce Foundation awarded a grant to Diane Winston, the current Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

The two-year, $395,000 grant will support a fellowship program for journalists reporting on religion and international relations. It will also fund graduate-level reporting classes on the same topic, and it will pay for a group of Winston's students to travel to the Middle East next year. This year, the students documented their experiences in 'The Israel-Palestine Project.'

Winston's journalism classes focus on religion as a changing and moving part of culture. She and her students study how religion affects individuals and communities as well as its effect on national and international politics. See TRANS/MISSIONS, the Knight Chair in Media and Religion's web site, for more.'

Knight Foundation established Knight Chairs at top journalism schools around the country. The professional journalists who hold these chairs teach, practice journalism, and start new programs and experimental projects in journalism.

Legal Resources for Social Entrepreneurs

July 12, 2010, 11:57 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Knight funded the Lex Mundi Foundation to create a web site that provides free legal support and resources to non-profit organizations.

Lex Mundi is dedicated to linking social entrepreneurs to pro bono legal services from law firms across the country and abroad.

If you are a social entrepreneur, or your organization is working on social innovation, we hope you take advantage of the Lex Mundi network and their new site.

Jose Zamora is a journalism program associate at Knight Foundation.

8 tips for journo-entrepreneurs

July 10, 2010, 9:31 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

This week Webbmedia Group held a chat for journo-entrepreneurs, providing business models and use cases for journalists hoping to launch media start-ups.

Here are eight tips and a few examples of entrepreneurial journalism projects you can launch or replicate in your community. You can also find these and more tips on twitter: #kwchat.

Tip #1: Don't be a generalist. Create highly-specialized content that you're' an expert on.

Tip #2: Content producers must syndicate across platforms, but the RIGHT platforms.

Tip #3: Try to fund your new entrepreneurial jurno venture alone. Projects have launched for less than $10k.

Tip #4: You must create a business and marketing plan, regardless of how small your new venture is.

Tip #5: Find a few people whose opinions your trust to serve as advisers as you start your new venture.

Tip #6: "If you are passionate about your idea, find some people you trust and then go talk to people you don't know."

Tip #7: Remember, if you're going to record a demo of your product, make it good. Bad demos can doom great projects.

Tip# 8: Remember, most ideas fail. A vast majority of ideas fail. But, get to that point quickly. is an example of an entrepreneurial model that can be run with a low budget in any community. is another innovative model that includes crowdfunding and most recently a new sustainability model based on advertising through surveys.

Other journo-entrepreneur efforts include projects like and its NowSpots advertising model and Front Porch Forum among other Knight Foundation grantees in this field.

If you are a journo-entrepreneur the Knight News Challenge, the Knight Community Information Challenge and J-Lab's New Voices are great opportunities to launch your start-up to inform and engage communities.

For grant application tips and and other resources for freelance and entrepreneur journalists visit: And to learn about Knight funded innovations that are ready for you to use, please visit Knight Apps.

Jose Zamora is a journalism program associate at Knight Foundation

Knight Program Director Takes on New Responsibilities in Macon Community

July 9, 2010, 2:05 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Beverly Blake, Knight program director for Macon, Georgia, has been elected to the boards of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia and the Rotary Club of Macon.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to share the knowledge, resources and connections of Knight Foundation with those in my community," Blake said.

With the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, Blake will be responsible for setting policy, strategy and active oversight of the activities and legal and ethical responsibilities of the foundation. The Community Foundation of Central Georgia serves 15 counties in Central Georgia and works with individuals, families, corporations, non-profits and private foundations to carry out their charitable objectives and address emerging community issues. The foundation is also the administrator for the Knight Neighborhood Challenge.

With the Rotary Club of Macon, Blake will serve as the Rotary Foundation committee chair. Rotary International was established in 1914 and serves more than 200 countries. It is comprised of business and professional leaders that provide humanitarian service and encourage high ethical standards.

Miami, You've Just Experienced a Random Act of Culture

July 8, 2010, 4:47 p.m., Posted by Valerie Nahmad Schimel

random acts of cultureThe Knight Foundation's Arts Program is rethinking cultural classics this season as it kicks of its new initiative, Random Acts of Culture. We're bringing short, spontaneous bursts of classical music, theater, dance and opera to the streets in our eight operating communities. Think Mozart at the mall and La Traviata in the market. We're planning to do 1,000 RACs in the next three years ' here's a sneak peak at our very first one:

Cross-posted from

Going Digital: One Investigative News Site's Story

July 8, 2010, 7:42 a.m., Posted by Michele McLellan and Eric Newton

For two decades, the Center for Public Integrity has, as one political commentator put it, shown it's 'probing flashlight into so many Washington dirty-laundry baskets.' The result has been best-selling books, dozens of major awards, and changes in public policy and practice.

Yet like all other major media organizations at the dawn of the digital age, the center has faced its share of challenges. How do you keep the flow of investigative journalism both useful and engaging?

Two years ago, Knight Foundation awarded the Washington D.C.-based center a grant to begin to transform itself into a nonprofit investigative leader in the digital age. As part of its evaluation process, Knight Foundation hired a seasoned team - including a leading evaluator, an award- winning investigative editor and a social media analyst ' to probe the center's efforts. The'resulting report is now up on our website.

Part of being a digital age investigator is being confident about the idea of transparency ' and the center's leadership agreed the report could be released to the public as an example of 'open evaluation' done in a timely manner to support organizational improvement and learning.

Its findings: ' The Center for Public Integrity is producing hard-hitting investigations even as it transforms its digital presence. ' It can better pick stories by thinking about their potential to shape the public policy agenda. (Recent work on the Gulf oil spill is an example of this). ' A continuous flow of new digital techniques will give the center not just more reporting power but even greater distribution and new ways to engage people.

The report notes the center was able to raise its donations from individual donors by 23 percent, despite the recent economic downturn.

The Center for Public Integrity's story holds lessons for all nonprofit news sites.

Mayur Patel Director of Strategic Assessment and Assistant to the President

Eric Newton Vice President, Journalism Program

Data into Action

July 6, 2010, 11:16 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

How can data be used to fuel positive social change? Knight Foundation recently brought together a panel of three expert data wranglers at the 2010 Future of News and Civic Media Conference at MIT to discuss the answers.'

Ellen Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, Laurel Ruma, editor at O'Reilly Media, and Nick Grossman, director of Civic Works at OpenPlans, each gave a brief speech and answered topical questions. Although each speaker expressed different ideas about how to foster civic engagement and social change, their strategies all revolved around a similar theme: transparency. The speakers agreed that social change can be fostered by increasing the amount of quality data available and correspondence between residents and their governments. Watch to find out more.

Better sources and tougher questions lead to more funds for Uganda's hospitals

July 2, 2010, 12:10 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

A reporter who relies only on official sources will often miss the real story. To a seasoned journalist, that may sound like a clich'. But in my Knight International Journalism Fellowship in Uganda, where independent media are very new, I'm trying to help journalists understand the need to dig deeper and find new sources, especially when it comes to health reporting. Recently, I got to see stunning results-- $130 million worth in fact.

In 2008, a reporter I was working with, Kakaire Kirunda of the Daily Monitor newspaper, set out to write a story about the country's hospital system. On paper, it's an orderly and well-conceived array of district, regional and national hospitals, each designed to handle certain types of cases while passing more complex ones up to higher levels. In reality, though, the system is broken. The lower-level facilities often lack manpower and equipment, so the triage system doesn't work. Patients flock in large numbers to the higher level sites, which are overwhelmed.

Kakaire's story became a series that the Monitor called 'Our Sick Hospitals.' It worked because it relied not on official sources, who generally painted a rosy picture based on the theoretical ideal, but on patients who used the shoddy hospitals and on experts like Freddie Ssengooba, a lecturer at Makerere University School of Public Health -- Chris Conte, Knight International Journalism Fellow

To Save Local Journalism, Work with your Community

July 1, 2010, 3:18 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Mike Fancher, former executive editor of the Seattle Times, is optimistic about the future of news. In this interview with Leonard Witt of the Center for Sustainable Journalism, Fancher says that in a democracy, the public understands the need for investigative journalism.

Fancher says that in order to survive, news media must engage the public. They must think of the public not as a passive audience but as a community. He mentions Minnesota Public Radio's Public Insight Journalism, The Seattle Times, and the UK's Guardian as examples of media that partner with their communities to tell stories.

Fancher helped write 'Informing Communities,' the report issued by the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. He is writing a white paper for the Commission and the Aspen Institute on the report's recommendations.

Journalists Credit Knight-Wallace Fellowship with Success

July 1, 2010, 3:16 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Michael Vitez says that being a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan taught him storytelling skills, which he used to write a series of articles on end-of-life issues that won a Pulitzer Prize.

Knight-Wallace Fellows spend eight months living and studying in Michigan. Director Charles Eisendrath leads the group and helps them build skills to advance their careers. Some fellows find new jobs after their time at Michigan by starting new programs. At least one fellow has launched his own company: Chris Carey was a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and now runs, a for-profit investigative news site about stock fraud.

The University of Michigan, Stanford University and MIT host many of Knight Foundation's fellowships for professional journalists. Knight has endowed a Batten professorship at Davidson College, Latin American fellows as part of the the Nieman Fellowship program at Harvard University, and Knight Chairs at journalism schools throughout the country. The foundation also supports the fellowship program'run by'both the International Center for Journalists and the Carnegie-Knight Initiative's News21'project.



Miro Community Launches Platform to Facilitate Engaging, Local Video Sites

July 1, 2010, 12:28 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Knight gantee, The Participatory Culture Foundation, launched Miro Community 1.0 today. Miro Community provides a platform 'people can use to build community-centered video web sites. The newest version lets users'aggregate videos from designated video sources into one central video hub and easily'customize the look and feel of your hub.

Key features from the'site:

  • Run a beautiful video presentation website on your own domain, without having to maintain the software.
  • Works with your existing video hosting setup and workflow - no need to re-post videos.
  • Works with free video hosting services, if you don't already have videos online.
  • Lets you bring together videos from a wide-variety of hosts and sources, into one curated experience.
  • Automatically import and publish RSS feeds of videos from any source.
  • Create a discussion space for video about your community; strengthen your relationships with your community.
  • Runs on open-source software.

Media in Knight Communities, including WDET Detroit and Bay Area Video Coalition, use Miro Community as a platform for their video sharing sites. Knight Foundation awarded a grant to the Participatory Culture Foundation to develop the Miro platform in October 2008.

Miro says they are always looking for local partners like nonprofits, universities, and other groups that want to run a site in their community. Anyone interested should email Anne Jonas.

Top Ten Ways to Celebrate Your Freedom on the Fourth

July 1, 2010, 6:06 a.m., Posted by Michele McLellan and Eric Newton

In the age of Twitter, you have to admire this country's Founding Fathers for their genius in brevity. The mere 45 words that make up the First Amendment guarantee Americans the freedoms that are the cornerstone for American democracy.

Yet, only 1 in 25 Americans can name the First Amendment's five freedoms ' and the majority can only come up with one.

That's why the 1 For All campaign was founded ' to remind Americans about how they use these freedoms daily. The campaign kicks off today, with concurrent ads in more than 1,000 media outlets, an embeddable video with LL Cool J and Sandra Day O'Connor, and classroom materials for teachers. Knight Foundation, which supports campaigns for freedom of expression and information worldwide, is a lead sponsor.

The campaign has even compiled a top ten list of how to stand up for the First Amendment.' Here are our favorites:

  • First, learn what it says ' make sure you know the five freedoms the First Ammendment guarantees: freedom of religion, speech and press, and the rights of petition and assembly.
  • Tweet for Freedom: Use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about the importance of the First Amendment.
  • Stay informed. Free speech is even better when we know what we're talking about. Read. Learn. Share.

And finally, as you begin your holiday weekend, remember to celebrate the 1st on the 4th: Fly your American flag during the July 4th holiday, knowing that the right to wave it is protected by the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment, the campaign says.