Knight Blog

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

Digital Media Program Launched in India

Aug. 26, 2010, 9:55 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

The International Multimedia Institute opened its doors to an inaugural class of 30 students this summer.' The new school for journalists is located in New Delhi, but participants come from all over India, as well as Bhutan and Liberia.

Students will learn the fundamentals of journalism and digital media skills such as podcasting and web design to equip them for journalism in the digital age.' The school is led by Dean Sunil Saxena, with support from Knight Fellows Jody McPhillips and Dave Bloss.

The institute is expected to create a cadre of journalists dedicated to covering issues that need attention in a rapidly changing India.' With lower tuition requirements than other schools, the program is accessible to an economically diverse spectrum of applicants.' There are also scholarships available.

The International Center for Journalists and the Society for Policy Studies launched the project, with support from the MacArthur Foundation and Knight Foundation.  The City University of New York is also assisting the school.

New Knight Initiative Funds Ideas That Use Technology to Inspire Community Action

Aug. 24, 2010, 10 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

These days, as people use Facebook to support Haiti, end hunger, and stand behind other causes, social networks have become the place to make a statement.

Yet those clicks don't necessarily turn into a movement to better communities. At least not yet.

With Knight Foundation's focus on fostering informed and engaged communities, we started looking at ways to take that online energy a step further, and transform it into on-the-ground action.

The result is the Knight Technology for Engagement Initiative, which will initially invest $2.23 million in five projects that use the latest digital tools to help people connect for the greater good.

Take a look at what these first projects will do:

Craigslist Foundation ($750,000) will make it easy to find great ideas for community building. The foundation is creating an idea-sharing site, where institutions and individuals tell their community's success stories and connect with people of like minds.

Jumo ($750,000), a nonprofit startup created by Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes, will use a social network to connect people with the issues and organizations that interest them, with the goal of fostering lasting relationships. The site matches users with relevant organizations, then engages them through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or other applications to encourage contributions of time, skills or money. (Hughes talks about the project here.)

Code For America ($250,000) wants to transform city governments across the country by enlisting the nation's most promising developers to apply Web 2.0 principles to civic problems. Based on the Teach for America model, members will create web applications to help make city governments more transparent, participatory and efficient. Knight Foundation's funding will ensure the participation of Philadelphia, Pa. and Boulder, Colo., two Knight resident communities.

Community PlanIt ($250,000), a project out of Emerson College's Engagement Game Lab, will revitalize the community planning process by developing an interactive game platform that lets stakeholders work'and play'together to solve problems. The grant will fund game development, in collaboration with four Knight communities.

And, finally, CEOS for Cities ($235,000) will test whether residents can help create solutions to local problems, filling a gap left by shrinking budgets. This project will connect developers and city officials to build a crowd-sourcing platform that invites citizens to work with government to identify problems and find answers. San Jose, Calif. and Grand Rapids, Mich., will test the idea.

Certainly, we live in an age of skepticism, with fewer folks trusting government and our society's big institutions. At the same time, Americans ' especially the young Millenials ' are looking for new ways to make a difference.

Harnessing digital technology is one way to inspire neighbors to work together to solve their most entrenched problems. .

Knight Foundation is looking for more high-quality ideas that use technology to cultivate community engagement.

These first five grants that we're announcing today are just the beginning. Learn more about the initiative, and how to submit an idea, by visiting www.technologyforegagement.org. Paula Ellis

Vice President for Strategic Initiatives

Damian Thorman

National Program Director

Knight-Funded Project Puts Voters in the Driver's Seat in November Elections

Aug. 23, 2010, 10:20 a.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

This post by Micah Sifrey was originally published on TechPresident.com, the Personal Democracy Forum's blog.

Three years ago, we had a modest idea here at Personal Democracy Forum: that the internet could be a vehicle for transforming the presidential debates then underway. Instead of relying solely on journalists to determine the questions being asked of candidates; why not involve the public? Instead of giving the candidates 60 seconds to recite a canned answer, why not offer them unlimited time to prepare a serious response? And instead of letting candidates dodge questions during live debates, why not create a real feedback loop and let the public vote on whether they were satisfied with candidates' answers? Instead of debates tailored for (and constrained by) the demands of broadcast television, why not use the interactive and abundant nature of the internet to try something new and make debates far more participatory, content-rich, and accountable?

From that set of ideas was born 10Questions.com, a cross-partisan interactive platform for voter-candidate engagement that we are pleased to announce has been relaunched for the 2010 elections this week.

Here's how 10Questions got started: Like many people who were swept up by the 2008 campaign, we were struck by the public response to the CNN/YouTube debates. Tens of thousands of video questions were submitted by voters, and even though the rest of those debates were pretty conventional affairs--professional journalists selecting the questions, candidates sparring to score with pre-planned soundbites, everyone hoping for a live gaffe or semi-revealing moment--the mere inclusion of questions from YouTubers had the effect of doubling the ratings for those events.

Inspired by a group of online activists from the YouTube community, led by a high school teacher named David Colarusso, we decided to try a demonstration project. With the help of Colarusso, who had already built an interactive platform called CommunityCounts, we launched 10Questions.com in September of 2007. With a crosspartisan array of media partners, we asked the public to post questions to the presidential candidates, and invited everyone to vote them up or down. Then we invited all the candidates to post their answers, giving them all the time they needed to prepare serious answers. And then, to create a real feedback loop and try to incentivize the candidates to avoid dodging the questions, we invited the public to vote on whether they thought each candidate had actually answered each question.

In 2007, about 125,000 votes were cast on more than 300 questions submitted. The top 10 included questions on net neutrality, atheism, medical marijuana, warrantless wiretapping, corporate personhood, government spending, etc. Edwards, Gravel, Huckabee, Kucinich, and Obama each answered at least one of the top ten. Another 27,000 votes were cast judging their responses. By all accounts, 10Questions was successful in demonstrating that an open and interactive platform for voter-to-candidate-to-voter engagement could work, though in retrospect we believe it could have had a larger impact had we started sooner in the presidential campaign calendar. (You can view an archive of the 2007-08 site here.)

Now, with the support of Knight Foundation, we've just launched with a retooled version of 10Questions.com designed to allow anyone the ability to ask questions directly of many of the candidates seeking to represent them in the U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, or as their state's governor.

The way it works is simple: anyone can post a question (video or text), anyone can vote those up or down (one vote per question per IP address), anyone can embed a question, a race, a state, or the entire country via a fully functional widget, on any website they want. To post or vote on a question, you just need a Google Account, as the site is powered by a souped-up version of the Google Moderator question platform (and for which we are grateful to our technology partners Google and YouTube.) No personal user information is being retained, though the site will allow anyone to view where questions and votes are coming from geographically, and to track the daily up-down voting on any question.

Between now and September 14, voters will have their say. Then we'll submit the top 10 questions (minus ones that are obscene or inappropriate) to the relevant candidates, and give them until October 14 to post their replies. After that we'll ask the public to again vote on whether they think the candidates actually answered the questions.

The 2010 midterms edition of 10Questions.com covers 43 of the most competitive races across the country, in 11 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In each state we're partnering with major media outlets--The Philadelphia Inquirer in PA, The Miami Herald in FL, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in GA, The Detroit Free Press in MI, the San Francisco Chronicle in CA, The Albany Times-Union in NY, etc.--plus Politico and PBS's Patchwork Nation. (A full list is here.)

These media outlets' websites are featuring the project on their news and opinion pages (See, for example, http://www.freep.com/politics&government and http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion), and their news and editorial teams will be covering 10Questions as a story, as well as featuring the user submitted questions and candidate answers in their election coverage.

We've already received candidate commitments to participate in the process from Barbara Boxer (D) and Carly Fiorina (R), both running to represent California in the U.S. Senate, in addition to other candidates across the country. Already, 110 questions have been posted to the site and votes are starting to pour in.

From a nonpartisan standpoint, this is a system that's built to reward substantive and thoughtful questions as well as responses ' in addition to the criteria for voting on answers, there's also no time limit to the responses from candidates, and the candidates are explaining their positions directly to voters, not exactly in competition with one another. Instead of "gotcha," got content?

It's also designed to allow voters, not media elites, to drive the conversation. Thus, the platform's widget was designed to enable any website, any blog, any post to embed the full functionality of the 10Questions experience. The widget is customizable by state, and is available at: http://www.10questions.com/2010/share. If you choose to participate, you don't have to send traffic to 10Questions.com; you can simply embed the questions or races that you are interested in on your own site.

The top-level goal of this experiment is to fundamentally alter the culture of political debate in America, to definitively move it away from glorifying sound bites over substance. We strongly believe that providing citizens a direct, unfiltered voice in the political debates will result in a more responsive, robust democracy for all.

As Dr. Ami Bera (D), running to represent California's 3rd Congressional District and a participant in 10Questions, recently said, 'Now is not the time for the politics of division, but for a clear exchange of ideas on how we move forward as a region, state and nation. Interactive media presents a great opportunity to open a dialogue about the issues Americans face every day.'

Knight News Challenge Winner Ushahidi Being Used to Monitor Elections in Brazil

Aug. 23, 2010, 8:14 a.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

This post was originally published by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas blog.

During the wave of violence in Kenya in 2008, that stemmed from conflicts among rival political factions, a group of friends created a system in which persons in various locations could send and share, via the Internet, news about attacks and killings. The Ushahidi (witness in Swahili) online platform, a Knight News Challenge Winner, became a model of success for participative coverage of news worldwide. Now the system has come to Brazil, with Voter 2010, an unprecedented election monitoring tool for citizens.

One of the more interesting aspects of the site is the visual depiction on a map of complaints or irregularities, using Google Maps. See below an interview with those responsible for Voter 2010: The creator, journalist Paula G'es; and her colleagues Diego Casaes and Thiana Biondo. They spoke with the Knight Center from London and Sao Paulo, where they work as editors for the international network of news blogs, Global Voices Online: Where did the idea for the project come from?

G'es: I followed the use of Ushahidi in the elections in Mozambique (last October) and I had heard talk of other similar experiences in other countries. The idea of using it for elections in Brazil came at the end of last year, when I remembered, when I was working as a TV producer, the craziness of covering an election period -' we received a lot of complaints from the public but we never have the equipment to investigate all of them, not to mention the limitations from personnel, time and space on television, which resulted in frustration as much for the voter, who felt as if his testimony was irrelevant, as for the journalist, who felt useless in the face of so many complaints.

What is the main objective of Voter 2010?

G'es: The main goal is to observe the elections of 2010: to collaboratively create a picture of the electoral process in accordance with the voter's point of view, something that has never been seen in Brazil. Also, we want to create debate about the elections, especially among youth; to awake anti-corruption values; to promote citizenship and freedom of expression; and to serve as an information source for the media and authorities, like the Ministry of General Elections.

Why use Ushahidi?

G'es: To me, the platform seems like the perfect solution to satisfy the longing of the public to more actively participate in monitoring elections, giving voice to those voters who mostly live far from the capital, in places where the press doesn't reach or the media are dominated by certain political interests. Also for its crowdsourcing resources, the gathering and visualization of data, and for how simple it is to use. Of course, it counted a lot that it's free for us (besides being non-profit, Voter 2010 has no sponsors.)

How does the process of receiving and investigating complaints work?

Casaes: The Voter sends a report to the site to relato@eleitor2010.com via email, an sms message (although still not implemented), a hashtag on Twitter, messages on our social network sites, or on our own site. The reports are evaluated by a moderator that marks them as confirmed or not before publishing them. The moderator also will give a credibility grade to the source (for example, witness or victim). After publication, these reports will appear on a map and they can be searched by region or category. The information will be available to the whole world, in a transparent manner, even for the authorities and the mainstream media. Users also can confirm or deny reports through commentaries and positive/negative indicators.

Ushahidi has been used in various countries, under diverse circumstances. What are the most successful experiences?

Biondo: First on the list would be Kenya in 2008, for having created the platform, which now is being used in the whole world. Ushahidi returned to the action in Kenya this month with a platform christened Uchaguzi, that was used to cover the referendum on the new constitution, with a success that surpassed even the first time. We also can cite Madagascar, where the platform was installed to denounce violence by the government, which was selling land to South Koreans without revealing its true value and also promoting an increase in the price of food. The case drew the attention of the United Nations and Amnesty International.

Other successful cases were the coverage of the natural disasters in Chile and Haiti. Ushahidi was used to map areas affected by the earthquakes, which helped in the rescue of survivors, in the distribution of humanitarian aid, and reconstruction of the most affected cities. There were more than 1,000 reports. The platform is considered an excellent vehicle for collaboratively reporting tragedies, since there is a great effort from the public wanting to do its part.

And as for monitoring elections?

G'es: It was already done in Sudan, in Mexico, in Mozambique and in Bolivia, even though none of these was considered particularly successful and some were not open to the public (that is, it was done for official observation purposes). The expectation is that Brazil will be the first success case.

Have there been any especially interesting complaints so far?

G'es: I really liked the case of Coari, a city in the interior of the Amazons, maybe for being one of the first to be interesting and complete. The day Brazil debuted in the World Cup, the mayor handed out green and yellow shirts (the colors of the Brazilian soccer team) with the number of candidate that he supported on the back. His actions were reported on Voter 2010 the next day, with photos and everything. It's amazing the number of complaints about spam being spent to users who have not subscribed to receive those kinds of communications, which demonstrates that email addresses are being bought.

In another interesting case, we received a complaint about email propaganda. A member of a candidate's campaign team left a comment on the complaints page apologizing for sending the email to the person who filed the complaint, and that ended up being a confession to electoral fraud, as the database of emails had been obtained illegally: "Our emails are sent through a list provided by people from churches to charitable institutions that make up our database." Meanwhile, the law prohibits the use, donation or transfer of electronic records of customers, for candidates, parties or coalitions.

How does Voter 2010 interact with traditional media?

G'es: Voter 2010 can be a great source of information for the media, which can have access to the public's complaints in the zones they cover, and can carry out their own investigations to verify the complaints. Supplementing the work of the mainstream media, the platform is available to voters of all Brazilian cities, including those who do not receive a lot of space in the press, either because of distance or other factors. Journalists who are interested can register to receive alerts in their email specific to they the areas they cover.

Student Journalists' Work Featured in the National Press

Aug. 18, 2010, 10:45 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Students Make Washington Post Homepage

Student News21 teams are getting their work published in national papers. 'Outlets like the Washington Post and New York Times are running stories, photos and video from the students who are part of'the program revitalizing journalism education at 12 universities.

Just last week, Columbia's News21 team's work was featured in the Washington Post.' Fellows produced 'Brave Old World,' a report package on aging in America.' Their contributions ran in the Health and Science special section.

Video from North Carolina's News21 fellows was featured on the washingtonpost.com homepage a few weeks ago. Their work 'Powering a Nation:' The Truth About Energy,' was used in reporting the oil spill.

Other News21 fellows have had work published on the LA Times Photo Blog, in the Baltimore Sun, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among many others.

The News21 project is funded by the Carnegie-Knight Initiative.' In addition to improving student journalism skills, one anticipated outcome of the project is to show that journalism students can do stories at the highest levels.

Having reports published in the national presses is added motivation for these students, and allows them to develop'an area of reporting expertise.' It demonstrates the quality of their work and helps them build portfolios.

Journalism schools are still pioneering new forms of news, with a role to play in shaping the future of news and information through their students and contributions in the field.

Watch As Opera Hits the Farmers Market in a "Random Act of Culture"

Aug. 18, 2010, 9:23 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

 

 

Watch as The Charlotte Observer reports on a Knight-sponsored "Random Act of Culture."

Strolling through a farmers market at lunchtime in Charlotte is always a treat. Sniffing the just-picked peaches, choosing a perfect ruby red tomato - those are usually the highlights.

My visit to Atherton Market was made even better Tuesday when opera filled the air. Yes, I knew a musical surprise was planned as part of Knight Foundation's new Random Acts of Culture series, so I waited with some anticipation. But my friend did not know what was about to happen.

First startled, she quickly became totally enthralled as singers from Opera Carolina serenaded each other and their unlikely audience. Shoppers pulled out camera phones and joined the throng of professional photographers on hand. Wide-eyed children and suit-clad dads alike applauded enthusiastically as yet another singer joined in.

Knight's grant to the Arts and Science Council to organize these Random Acts of Culture accomplished its goal, I'd say. I didn't poll the crowd, but I'm guessing many have never been to an Opera Carolina performance at the performing arts center downtown. But, now they've experienced the beauty and passion of Puccini, and hopefully they'll want to hear more.

#FOCAS10 Engages Policy Makers, Media, Biz Execs and Leaders to Explore Info Needs of Communities

Aug. 17, 2010, 12:36 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

This week at the Aspen Institute, there is a robust discussion exploring recommendations of the Knight Commission on Information Needs of Communities. The 2010 FOCAS, News Cities: The Next Generation of Healthy Informed Communities forum, will take place through August 18 and aims to arrive at specific action steps to help communities "improve their information health." The livestream is broadcasting now and the twitter stream, #FOCAS10, has been a great reflection of the discussion. Be sure to follow this important debate and join in the conversation.

Complete agenda:

Monday, August 16, 2010 (all times Mountain Standard Time) 8:30 a.m. ' 8:45 a.m.'''''''''' Opening of Forum ' Introductory Remarks 8:45 a.m. ' 10:15 a.m.'''''''' Plenary Roundtable I:' Local Journalism 2010 10:45 a.m. ' 12:15 p.m.'''''' Plenary Roundtable II:' Public Media Reform

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 8:45 a.m. ' 9:45 a.m.'' ''' ' ' Plenary Roundtable III:' Universal Broadband Access 9:45 a.m. ' 10:45 a.m.'''''''' Plenary Roundtable IV:' The New Literacies 11:15 a.m. ' 12:15 p.m.'''''' Plenary Roundtable V:' Public Engagement

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 8:45 a.m. ' 10:15 a.m.'' ''' ' Plenary Roundtable VI.' Recommendations from the Working Groups 10:30 a.m. ' 12:00 p.m.'' ' ' Plenary Roundtable VII.' Moving Forward: Synthesis of Action Steps

View the opening remarks of Knight Foundaiton CEO, Alberto Ibarügen below.

Watch live streaming video from aspeninstitute at livestream.com

Miami-Dade Group Aims to Increase Local Internet Access

Aug. 17, 2010, 9:09 a.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

This entry was written by James E. Osteen, Jr. executive director of the Miami-Dade Broadband Coalition.

The Miami-Dade Broadband Coalition officially opened its doors with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 11.

The launch was the result of more than three years of planning with stakeholders in education, healthcare, government, non-profits and the private sector. The task has been challenging but immensely rewarding.

Our goal is to increase the "technology quota" of our community, in order'to attract new industries and provide economic and educational opportunities for Miami-Dade County residents.' By banding together, the coalition's anchor members have already begun to increase the availability of 'high-speed Internet access across our community while at the same time lowering its cost.

A portion of the realized savings will be reinvested in the community through the coalition's sponsorship of training and Internet connectivity for our underserved neighborhoods. 'The coalition is funded by a grant from Knight Foundation, as part of its efforts to ensure communities have access to information through universal broadband.

While our goal is ambitious, our success will provide a more resilient, diverse and self-sustaining local economy. 'We invite you to watch our progress through our website, and hope that you will join us in 'Connecting our community for a brighter future!!'

- 'James E. Osteen, Jr.

Reporting Projects Aim to Reach Minority Communities via Mobile Sites and Apps

Aug. 13, 2010, 12:12 p.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

 

 

 

 
Allissa Richardson

When Allissa Richardson's students began to plan a website for their community news stories, they insisted on one element: it needed to be easily viewable on cellphones. That way, if they were in the grocery store and ran into someone they had interviewed, they could show them the story.

The Morgan State University students will be covering a Baltimore community that is largely urban and African-American, a demographic with a higher rate of accessing the Internet via smart phones.

The project is one of two that aim to use mobile-friendly sites and applications to reach minority communities with $17,000 in New Voices grants. Administered by J-Lab and funded by Knight Foundation, the program seeds innovative community news ventures.

The second project, out of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, involves covering refugee communities in and around the city, which has been designated by the federal government and the Catholic and Lutheran churches as a receiving community for refugees from Sudan, Iraq and the countries of the former Soviet Union.

'Another professor and I were experimenting in a web journalism class with restricting our students to covering immigrant communities to get them out there reporting,' Professor Tim Anderson explained. 'Our students found some really rich stories, what people had gone through to get here and make new lives.'

That formed the impetus for a new project to get students not just finding stories in those communities, but to get them working to figure out the information those communities need, involving members of the communities in the formation of a partner relationship.

Many members of the refugee communities have access to the Internet, and are pretty comfortable with it, through their refugee centers and libraries, Anderson said. He plans to explore mobile applications to see if that will help reach deeper into the community, while using some of the grant money for mobile devices to make it easier for his students to report in the field.

Richardson's students, meanwhile, will also use mobile devices in reporting, heading into the community with iPhones and iPads. They'll report stories, shoot video, edit it on their mobile devices and send it to be posted ' all from the field.

'A lot of my students are scared to go into these communities with a big, clunky video camera,' Richardson explained. 'I thought, 'what can I give them that doesn't make them feel like such an outsider?' And I'd already seen them taking notes in my classes with their thumbs. They're completely comfortable using their cell phones.'

Their stories will run on the website of the 'local African-American newspaper and in their own student newspaper.

News University Hits New High of 150,000 Users

Aug. 12, 2010, 10:59 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Poynter's News UniversityPoynter's News University now has more than 150,000 registered users.

It's easy to see why:' NewsU offers affordable self-paced online courses to enhance professional skills in journalism, management and advertising.

Titles range from 'Advice for the Newly Named News Director' to 'Video Storytelling for the Web,' and more than a hundred courses are free.

For educators, NewsU just released a Syllabus Exchange, where ideas and teaching materials can be shared.

The Exchange is similar to the News21 initiative blogged last week, and allows educators from all schools and universities to share syllabi, assignments and other teaching materials.

15% of NewsU users are from outside the U.S., making the most of being able to access resources at any time and from any place.

Looking for free training?

Browse courses and search by price.' Innovation at Work: Helping New Ideas Succeed is one of many courses available free to participants through Knight Foundation's support in developing and providing training for the digital age.

Subsidized courses are also available to assist under-represented groups get the skills and training they need, with financial backing from the Knight Foundation aimed to improve diversity in newsrooms.

Brazilian Journalism Association Enhances Skills, Makes Journalists Safer

Aug. 10, 2010, 7:09 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

In 2002 investigative reporter Tim Lopes was murdered.' He was trying to expose the violence and intimidation that residents of a Rio slum were subjected to at the hands of gang bosses.

The TV journalist's death gave spark to a movement that would improve journalism, protect journalists in their work, and aim to hold governments in Latin America accountable.

Only weeks after the murder, Lopes' friend and colleague Rosental Alves, Knight Chair in International Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, hosted a workshop for 75 editors and reporters to show them how working together increases safety.

Those journalists, with assistance from the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, led by Alves, went on to form the Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (Abraji).

Fast forward eight years: 'Abraji just held its annual congress with 700 participants; it has trained more than 4,000 journalists; and it has 1,800 members.' Abraji won Brazil's prestigious Esso Journalism Prize for Best Contribution to the Press in 2003, and is now recognized as one of the most active investigative journalism organizations in the world, attracting funding for its cause from members and other supporters.

In the 2002 Annual Report of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Alves was quoted as saying 'I can only imagine that, as a journalist who dedicated most of his career to investigative journalism, [Tim] would be proud of us.'

Abraji has come a long way from its formation in 2002, improving the skills of Brazil's journalists as it goes along.' By creating and facilitating communication among journalists, Abraji is contributing to a safer environment in which they can work and do better journalism.

St. Paul Opens Library Job Center, Helps Businesses Through Light Rail Construction

Aug. 9, 2010, 1:19 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman's''recent 'news update''included two posts that are both near and dear to Knight Foundation - and great news for the city.

First, Coleman announced'a new 'fund to help small businesses survive construction of the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit line, 11-miles of rail that will connect Minneapolis and St. Paul.''The''Central Corridor Funders Collaborative''was instrumental in'supporting the planning for the project and then leveraged $1 million in public funds with'a'$500,000' grant'.'Knight was one of the lead foundations that helped launch this funders collaborative. 'The line is scheduled to open for riders in 2014.

The second focused on the public launch of'Knight's''library grant to support a''Mobile''Workplace . It will provide'ten classes every week throughout the summer to teach residents the essential computer skills they need to compete in the 21st century.''By bringing these classes out into the community, we are able to reach residents who don't have ready access to computers or the internet. Many of the people who attend these classes have never used a computer before, and digital literacy has become a prerequisite for the modern workplace.' 'One great part of this initiative is that we are able to offer classes to residents in English, Somali, Spanish, Hmong, Karen, Amharic, and Tigrinya.

The grant was part of Knight's Library Initiative, a 20-city effort to enhance digital access and training.

Knight Chair Michael Pollan Appears on NBC, The Daily Show and PBS

Aug. 9, 2010, 1:10 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Michael Pollan Michael Pollan, Knight Chair in Science and Technology Reporting at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism since 2003, has been recently speaking about his latest book - Food Rules - in which he lays out clear guidelines for eating wisely.

Pollan has widely lectured on food, agriculture, health and the environment, and was recently featured on NBC Nightly News, The Daily Show, and PBS.

Knight Foundation has 22 Knight Chairs in Journalism at 21 U.S. colleges and universities. 'Former Knight Foundation President Creed Black founded the Knight Chairs in Journalism program and explained that their purpose 'is to strengthen American journalism education by bolstering core curricular values and encouraging innovation ' to improve standards and effectiveness ' to assure a large number of journalists in the next century experience quality training.'

Under the direction of Pollan, the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism at Berkeley offers advanced reporting courses and instruction on reporting on the sciences and subjects involving science, including health, nutrition, the environment and agriculture.

Six Months after the Earthquake, News in Haiti Helps Humanitarian Information Needs

Aug. 6, 2010, 1:42 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

News You Can Use

Across Haiti, residents tune in to Enfomasyon Nou Dwe Konnen (News You Can Use) to find out the latest information on basic services in their earthquake ravaged country. Questions from callers center on basic humanitarian needs, such as how to get a death certificate for a person whose body was never found or whether tenants should pay rent on properties that have collapsed.

Knight-funded Internews began producing the segment the week after the January earthquake, and has answered more than 380 questions. Now, just over six months later, close to 75 percent of Haitian adults listen to Internews' humanitarian broadcasts. The spots contain information on food, shelter and employment, urgent news for the nearly two million people still living in internally displaced persons camps.

This is an important time for Haitian journalism, and Internews is working to train journalists and strengthen the news and information infrastructure. The presidential election scheduled for November will also provide an opportunity for local journalists to cover important national issues. 'One of the candidates is hip hop star, Wyclef Jean, and his candidacy will increase international attention on the country and the election.

Internews is also reaching Haitians who migrated to rural areas after the earthquake through collaboration with the nonprofit organization Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities. 'The partnership is implementing a traveling news service.

Knight Foundation and Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities sponsored a meeting in May looking at how the media responded to the crisis. 'The event also evaluated the role technology and communications played in helping address the information needs of Haitian communities in the aftermath of the earthquake. 'Other Knight grantees at the meeting included representatives from Global Voices and Knight News Challenge grantee Ushahidi.

Charlotte Residents Come Together to Build 500 Miles of Trails

Aug. 6, 2010, 7:26 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

 

 

 
Carolina Thread Trail

A small post in the Charlotte Observer this week caught my attention: The Carolina Thread Trail has now invested more than $1 million in community grants for trail development.

For a 15-county initiative with more than 500 miles of trails that will take 15-20 years to build out, this may seem a small figure. But these community grants are the first step in bringing residents together to plan and decide on the best routes for the trails. Knight Foundation has supported these sessions with a $1 million grant for the early planning of the trail.

As the trails are first envisioned, planned and then built, they'll link together to create a "green interstate" of walking and biking paths circling Charlotte.

Near center city Charlotte today, we'll celebrate the completion on one such link. Little Sugar Creek , once the most polluted creek in town, has been literally uncovered and a new linear park built alongside it. Little Sugar Creek Greenway is part of the Thread Trail, and a visible part of it. Unlike more rural or forested stretches of the greenway, this section along a major street to uptown has a more urban feel with fountains, a clock tower and a kiosk offering a restroom and spot to buy drinks.

It has taken years and millions of dollars to complete, but what a transformation.

Veteran Social Entrepreneur Joins Knight Foundation

Aug. 5, 2010, 11:48 a.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

Siobahn Canty

Siobhan Canty joins Knight Foundation this week ' bringing two decades of experience in community engagement and nonprofit development to the Strategic Initiatives program.

Canty most recently worked as a U.S. change leader for Ashoka, Innovators for the Public. She also founded a consulting practice for nonprofits and businesses, and was president and CEO of Greater DC Cares, the largest volunteer facilitator in the Washington, D.C., area.

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

From today's release: 'Siobhan has the experience Knight needs to help identify and cultivate organizations that understand the life cycle and effective management of engaged community members,' said Paula Ellis, Knight Foundation's vice president of strategic initiatives.' 'Her range of experience ' from local community organizer to national innovator in volunteering ' allows her to see the issues of engagement from a unique and valuable perspective.'

New Online Resources for Journalism Educators

Aug. 4, 2010, 5:08 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

News21News21 launched a web-based resource center to share tools colleges and universities can use to advance the way they teach journalism.

Resources include class syllabi and materials from the 12 participating universities, as well as training sessions and guidance on encouraging innovation.

News21 is a program of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education. The initiative is an effort to improve student skills in reporting and digital media.

Student work from the program is available online, as well as an 'Explore and Compare' feature where visitors can view and comment on different presentation methods of the same story.

News21 entered its fifth year, and Kristin Gilger, executive editor of the national program and associate dean at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, said 'we're ready to share what we learned with other schools.'

Journalism Education's Four Transformational Trends

Aug. 4, 2010, 9:11 a.m., Posted by Amy Starlight Lawrence

Eric Newton, Vice President for Journalism at Knight Foundation, gave the opening remarks to journalism educators in Denver at the Aug. 3, 2010 pre-conference workshop, 'Journalism Schools as News Providers: Challenges and Opportunities.'

First easy to use database of journalism programs worldwide

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

With help from Knight Foundation, World Journalism Education CouncilThe World Journalism Education Council (WJEC) has launched a new project to help journalism educators get better organized.' The project, named the World Journalism Education Census,'It aims to provide a complete directory of programs at universities worldwide with links to university websites and information about the programs.

2,338 journalism programs are currently active in the census ' sorted by country.' This Knight-funded initiative provides shows students, teachers and professionals which universities do what and how to contact them.

Journalism projects that desire international assistance can use this tool to find institutional partners, and the work can also be used for further studies and research. Users have included visitors from 135 countries.

The census is constantly vetted for accuracy and completeness. 'In addition to the international programs in other countries, the council has also identified 371 international programs among the 480 U.S. programs listed, and will complete this task in the fall.

WJEC also issued the'Declaration of Universal Principles of Journalism Education which were approved in June 2007 as principles to serve as a standard for journalism education worldwide. The website also has a video of this declaration.