Knight Blog

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

How asking for just $1 can accelerate funding for local nonprofit news

Aug. 22, 2014, 12:47 p.m., Posted by Michael Stoll and Lila LaHood

Was it the novelty? Passion for investigative reporting? Unbridled bicycle mania?

It took all three to inspire more than 1,000 people to back the San Francisco Public Press’ Kickstarter campaign for Pedal-Powered News — a quirky but popular initiative to use bicycle delivery to expand distribution of our local nonprofit newspaper to reach more subscribers, retail outlets and community centers throughout San Francisco.

The Public Press has published independent public policy reporting at since 2009 and produces a quarterly ad-free print edition. We always knew we needed to do something inspirational to expand our audience, so we highlighted a key operational need and built an engaging crowdfunding campaign around it.

We raised  $21,328 outright — more than double our goal. But it would not have happened without the support of Knight Foundation, which worked in collaboration with the Investigative News Network to offer up to $10,000 in matching funds, based on our ability to recruit 1,000 donors. It was an experiment to see how nonprofit newsrooms could use crowdfunding to bring in new readers and expand their local donations.

Detroit Drumline Academy: Impacting Detroit with education and entertainment

Aug. 22, 2014, 9 a.m., Posted by Robert Gordon

This month, five Detroit arts groups are vying for the Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award, a $20,000 prize the winner can use for a project of their choice. The award is one of the ways Knight aims to bring attention to small arts organizations and their impact on the city. Here, has a quick word with Robert Gordon of nominee the Detroit Drumline Academy, a group that wants to prepare the next generation of percussionists by teaching and mentoring middle and high school students.To vote for them, text Detroit5 to 22333 and learn about the other nominees at

Q. What do you love most about your arts group?
A. What I love about my organization is our ability to affect our community using education and entertainment that gives our youth life skills and experiences they'll never forget.

Q. What would you do with the $20,000 People’s Choice Award?
A. If I win the $20,000 I am going to do three things: pay a portion of it to a few other music mentorship programs, develop an alternative music instructors group to provide instruction throughout Detroit, and throw the first Music Education Production & Business seminar at COBO Hall sponsored by my company Artisthead.

Fusion Interactive Team pushes boundaries of storytelling

Aug. 21, 2014, 12:59 p.m., Posted by Carolina Wilson

Mariana Santos, the interactive and animation director for the Fusion Interactive Team, welcomes guests at the team's show-and-tell at Fusion's Doral headquarters. Credit: Carolina Wilson.

Once upon a time, storytelling may have been defined by the use of words, images or video.

But by using digital innovations such as games the Interactive Team at Fusion, a television and digital network, refuses to consider storytelling as creating content for mere consumption; the innovators want to change the way people interact with stories.  

“As Fusion says, it’s all about the fusion,” said Mariana Santos, the interactive and animation director for the team. “We want to fuse some of the core principals of technology and an editorial and data team with design and narrative.”

The interactive team is the newest addition to Fusion, a joint venture between Univision Communications and the Disney/ABC Television Network. Santos and her team shared updates on their latest projects during a Hacks/Hackers Miami Monday meet-up at Fusion’s Doral headquarters.