Knight Blog

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

Reinforcing Miami’s position as a gateway to the coral reefs of the Caribbean

Dec. 30, 2011, 9:26 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

Recently in Miami, thirty-one ideas were selected as winners of the 2011 Knight Arts Challenge.

Below, Colin Foord talks about how the teaming up of Coral Morphologic, one of the challenge winners, and the Miami Science Museum will build excitement for its arrival downtown at Museum Park by collaborating on a multimedia art-science project at Miami International Airport.

Bas Fisher invites artists to create tours that reflect their relationship with Miami

Dec. 28, 2011, 2:42 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

Recently in Miami, thirty-one ideas were selected as winners of the 2011 Knight Arts Challenge.

Below, Naomi Fisher describes how Bas Fisher Invitational, a challenge winner, will offer a behind- the-scenes look at the city and its artistic offerings by expanding the popular, artist-led Weird Miami bus tours. The tours will introduce locals, as well as tourists, to lesser-known places and cultural projects.

Peter London Dance Company helps develop the next generation of performers

Dec. 27, 2011, 12:30 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

Recently in Miami, thirty-one ideas were selected as winners of the 2011 Knight Arts Challenge.

One of the challenge winners, Peter London Global Dance Theater, will support and develop the talents of exceptional local dancers and choreographers who have historically had limited access to local, professional performance opportunities. Below, Peter London describes his goal of building a world-class contemporary dance company that benefits the community through its artistry. 

Nominate “local heroes” fighting for government transparency as part of 2012 Sunshine Week

Dec. 22, 2011, 11:31 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller


UPDATE: The deadline for nominations has been extended to Wednesday, March 7.

Do you know individuals who have played a significant role in fighting for transparency in government? Or that have focused attention about the importance of protecting and promoting access to government information?

If so, Sunshine Week is now seeking nominations for its 2012 “Local Heroes” awards, which recognizes people fighting for greater government transparency. The annual awards honor individuals that are using information now available through public records and open meeting laws to make a difference in their communities.

The nomination form for Sunshine Week’s “Local Heroes” awards is available online. This year, nominees are also being encouraged to submit videos.

Apps for Communities Challenge celebrates winners

Dec. 20, 2011, 9:12 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

Last week in Silicon Valley, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Knight Foundation announced the winners of the 'Apps for Communities Challenge.'

$100,000 in prizes were awarded for apps that bring local information to underserved communities.

Former FCC Chair Reed Hundt: The digital revolution is just getting started

Dec. 19, 2011, 9:44 a.m., Posted by Robertson Adams

Reed Hundt, former chairman of the FCC

This post is part of the Digital Revolution and Democracy series, which offers idea-inspiring interviews with thought leaders who are shaping the future of media and democracy. More at

New teacher's guide uses social media to teach about First Amendment

Dec. 16, 2011, 9:58 a.m., Posted by Elise Hu

Livestream of #FreeToTweet entries at the Newseum 

Researchers say schools do an “adequate” job of teaching the First Amendment in a historical context, but they fail in giving students practical ways to learn about freedom of speech and the press.

So Thursday, Knight Foundation and The First Amendment Center offered a new way to update lessons - by launching a teacher’s guide for using social media to teach about the Bill of Rights, whose 220th birthday was celebrated at The Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Apps for Communities: making local information actionable

Dec. 15, 2011, 1:56 p.m., Posted by Damian Thorman

Apps for Communities Second Grand Prize Winner Homeless Santa Clara County

Earlier this year, Knight and the FCC put out a call for the best software applications, or apps, that deliver personalized information to people least likely to be online. The Apps for Communities Challenge is part of our efforts to foster digital inclusion and promote broadband adoption, which the Knight Commission called critical.

Today, we’re excited to announce the winners - all of whom show a real passion for making local information actionable.

Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University

Dec. 15, 2011, 9:09 a.m., Posted by Beverly Blake


By Beverly Blake:

Like many communities across America, Macon, Georgia is facing a future that could lack the news and information we must have to make important, local decisions. So what do we do? Do we sit back and simply hope it doesn’t happen? In our case, Knight is partnering with our great friends at Mercer University, Georgia Public Broadcasting/GPB Media, and The Telegraph, our daily McClatchy paper, to create the future we seek - to build what we believe will be a new model of journalism education rooted squarely in building community.

#FreeToTweet scholarship competition helps celebrate the First Amendment

Dec. 15, 2011, 8:33 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

Today, in celebration of the 220th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, students are being encouraged to share via social media how they enjoy their right to free expression.

Through midnight tonight, students ages 14 to 22 who creatively tweet their appreciation for the First Amendment using the hashtag #FreeToTweet will automatically be entered into a nationwide scholarship competition.


The Knight-funded scholarships (there are 22 of them - one for every decade since the Bill of Rights’ ratification) are worth $5,000 each.

Several celebrities will also voice their support for the First Amendment and will be encouraging their followers to be #FreeToTweet. They include Ke$ha, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Darius Rucker, Heart and Wynonna Judd.

Ken Paulson, president and chief executive officer of the First Amendment Center, wrote an editorial about the importance of honoring the Bill of Rights titled “The holiday that got away”. He writes:

Supporting NPR's digital transition

Dec. 14, 2011, 9:23 a.m., Posted by John Bracken

Today Knight Foundation is announcing a $1.5 million grant over two years to support NPR’s digital transition

The grant will enable NPR to provide deeper training to journalists in its newsroom and to expand the program to include staff at public radio stations. The grant builds on an investment we made in 2007 to help NPR staff become “more competitive and effective" in the digital age.

Why journalists should weigh in on FCC disclosure rules — while there’s still time

Dec. 13, 2011, 7:52 p.m., Posted by Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman was Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the FCC and the lead author of the report "Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age." He is now Visiting Senior Media Policy Scholar at the Columbia Journalism School. The following is crossposted from Poytner.


Steven Waldman

With little fanfare, the Federal Communications Commission has issued rules that could greatly help the cause of journalism – if they’re not watered down in the next two months.

Why these rules matter

These rules are important and people who care about journalism and the public’s right to know can weigh in effectively by December 22.

In response to the report on Information Needs of Communities (INC), of which I was the lead author, the FCC in October approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with the nondescript title of “Standardized and Enhanced Disclosure Requirements for Television Broadcast Licensee Public Interest Obligations.” The Commission (appropriately) requires broadcasters to disclose certain information as part of the compact that resulted in them getting these valuable licenses. Mostly, this “public inspection file” sits, ignored, in filing cabinets.

Tools, tips and strategies for making media mobile

Dec. 13, 2011, 12:20 p.m., Posted by Melissa Ulbricht

Over the summer, released its Mobile Media Toolkit, a Knight News Challenge winning project to advance the use of mobile technology to produce and distribute news and information. Melissa Ulbricht, toolkit project manager, wrote this post about how the toolkit is making media creation more participatory and portable. 

Understanding how mobiles are and can be used for media production and dissemination is now more important and relevant than ever before.

Miami launches new fundraising platform for the arts

Dec. 13, 2011, 9:21 a.m., Posted by Valerie Nahmad Schimel

Free Gospel Sundays at the Adrienne Arscht Center in Miami, just one of the cultural projects individuals can contribute to on

Wednesday, Dec. 14 marks a new beginning for Miami’s arts community, as launches its new, online fundraising platform. Developed in partnership with the Charlotte-based Arts & Science enables individuals to connect directly with arts organizations to help support individual projects.

Cultural organizations list projects on the site (i.e. instruments for children in a youth orchestra, costumes for an upcoming theater production) and interested individuals can contribute to help meet fundraising goals. debuted in Charlotte this August and has raised over $200,000 to date. 

Knight Commission on Athletics' Executive Director to receive recognition from the NCAA

Dec. 12, 2011, 2:31 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

The NCAA will honor the Knight commission’s Amy Perko with an award that celebrates former student athletes.

Perko will be one of six to receive the Silver Anniversary Award, which recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletic careers. Perko is the executive director of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

Knight’s Tatiana Hernandez recognized as emerging leader in the arts

Dec. 12, 2011, 12:05 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

A leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts has elected Tatiana Hernandez, arts associate at Knight Foundation, to its Emerging Leaders Council.

The Emerging Leaders Council, an elected advisory body to Americans for the Arts, works to identify and cultivate the next generation of arts leaders and provides a way for new leaders to share their interests with others as they continue to develop their skills.

Uncle Luke goes to Sundance

Dec. 9, 2011, 12:30 p.m., Posted by Jillian Mayer

By Jillian Mayer, director The Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke

In fall 2011, we submitted our short film, The Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke to the Sundance Film Festival. Commissioned by the Borscht Film Festival, which received a 2010 Knight Arts Challenge grant, we were able to start pre-production in January. Over thirty people worked on this twelve-minute short film which was inspired by the booty-bass music of Luther Campbell (aka Uncle Luke) and based on the French short film, La Jetee.

New works coming to the Miami City Ballet

Dec. 9, 2011, 10:38 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

Last week in Miami, 31 ideas were announced as winners of the 2011 Knight Arts Challenge.

Below, Nicholas Goldsborough describes how the Miami City Ballet, a challenge winner, will broaden its programming and support the future of ballet by establishing a fund for the creation of new works. The project aims to excite audiences and infuse dance with new energy.

Soul of the Community study spurs resident-driven agenda for Arizona

Dec. 8, 2011, 10:40 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller


Photo Credit: Flickr user Chris M

Recently, the Center for the Future of Arizona announced the winners of a contest that sought five big ideas for bringing Arizonans together and taking action on issues they feel strongly about.

The effort centers on a resident-driven agenda for the state, one spurred by the Knight-funded Soul of the Community study. The research looked at why residents loved where they live - and how that relates to a community’s economic growth. 

PRX to launch Public Media Accelerator with $2.5 million investment from Knight Foundation

Dec. 8, 2011, 10:03 a.m., Posted by Jake Shapiro


Jake Shapiro, CEO of Public Radio Exchange:

I have exciting news to share, for PRX and public media.

PRX has evolved considerably over the past several years, focusing our strategy on three areas: ContentDistribution, and Leadership/Innovation.


The significance and origin of the exciting NBC news partnerships with nonprofit news

Dec. 7, 2011, 2:17 p.m., Posted by Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman was Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the FCC and the lead author of the report "Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age." He is now Visiting Senior Media Policy Scholar at the Columbia Journalism School. The following is crossposted.

During the FCC’s consideration of the Comcast-NBC merger, Comcast had  suggested showing their commitment to communities by increasing the hours of local news at the stations. At the time, I was running the FCC “future of media” project (which later produced the Information Needs of Communities , so our team was called in to study this merger condition.  I was suspicious of the original proposal since most stations were increasing their hours already – but doing by adding 4 a.m. newscasts, with little additional reporting.

Knight Foundation recognized for fostering an informed and engaged San Jose/Silicon Valley

Dec. 7, 2011, 10:26 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller


Nivisha Mehta, Silicon Valley Philanthropy Day Chair, joined by Silicon Valley Community Foundation's Emmett Carson and ZER01's Joel Slayton, presenting the Outstanding Foundation Grant Maker Award to Trabian Shorters and Judith Kleinberg of Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation recently won the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s “Outstanding Foundation Grant Maker Award” from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Silicon Valley Chapter.

Knight Program Director Judith Kleinberg accepted the award during a luncheon on Silicon Valley’s Philanthropy Day. The community event pays tribute to local leaders that “exemplify philanthropic excellence."

Knight Foundation’s grantmaking in San Jose/Silicon Valley focuses on arts and culture and creating a sense of place and vitality for the community. It also leverages the power of technology and supports digital and media literacy training to help residents in becoming more informed and engaged in important issues.

University Park Alliance: strengthening the future of Akron

Dec. 6, 2011, 4:40 p.m., Posted by Jennifer Thomas

University Park Alliance's Core City Vision

The Atlantic Cities recently featured the University Park Alliance and its work to create a "sense of place" and strengthen Akron’s urban core.

The article “Building Community Around Downtown Jobs” features the alliance as leading the multi-sector team of city leaders who are working to reshape the downtown Akron area. on the future of communities and journalism; Knight report cited as a “constructive blueprint”

Dec. 6, 2011, 10:53 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller



On, author Adam Thierer asks: Do citizens have access to the right information - or know how to take action based on it - to make informed decisions about their communities and society?

His query hits at the core of the Knight Commission’s report on community information needs, which Thierer calls a “constructive blueprint” in the discussion on the topic.

In exploring for the reader the complex dynamics at play, he writes that the role government can and should have is rather controversial.

Four artists named as 2011 USA Knight Fellows

Dec. 5, 2011, 4:11 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

Poet Campbell McGrath at the announcement of the 2011 Knight Arts Challenge Miami winners

Four artists have been named USA Knight Fellows for 2011 by the national grantmaking and advocacy group United States Artists. Each will receive $50,000 in unrestricted funds to use as they choose for their work in architecture and design, dance, literature and media, the selected artists.

Knight Foundation wins big at the regional Emmys – again!

Dec. 5, 2011, 10:07 a.m., Posted by Valerie Nahmad Schimel


Knight Foundation won its second regional Emmy Saturday, Dec 3 as Ideas in Motion won a 2011 Suncoast Emmy Arts/Entertainment-Program award. The 30-minute documentary follows five Knight Arts Challenge Miami winners on their journeys to realize their artistic visions. Highlighted artists include the Florida Grand Opera, Teatro Avante, Kathleen Hudspeth of Turn-Based Press, Lauren “Lolo” Reskin of Sweat Records and Free Gospel Sunday at the Adrienne Arsht Center. Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation vice president of arts, Kirmaya Cevallos and Marlon Johnson share the nomination.

TEDxWomen asks: What does an informed and engaged community look like in a connected world?

Dec. 1, 2011, 3:39 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller


TEDxWomen attendees at a lunch hosted by Knight Foundation. Photo credit: Michael Priest Photography

Does community engagement necessarily follow information? Has technology and the new ability to make connections within communities killed traditional roles of citizenship? If you could do anything to increase the pool of informed, engaged citizens, what would it be?

These were some of the questions discussed today during a Knight Foundation- sponsored lunch at TEDxWomen in New York entitled “Informed and Engaged Communities in a Connected World.”

TEDXWomen: innovative solutions for global challenges

Dec. 1, 2011, 8:29 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation




Today, Knight Foundation is supporting TEDxWomen, hosted by the Paley Center for Media concurrently at their offices in New York and Los Angeles.  

This year’s conference seeks to bring awareness to and engage more people in discussions about the role of women and girls as powerful change agents with innovative solutions for global challenges.

— By Jeff Coates, Knight Staff