Knight Blog

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

Pew study: People care deeply about local news

March 5, 2015, midnight, Posted by Jonathan Sotsky


According to a report released today by Pew Research Center titled “Local News in a Digital Age,” nearly nine in 10 residents across three metro areas studied (Denver, Macon, Ga., and Sioux City, Iowa) follow local news closely. However, the supply of local news and how residents consume and engage with local news varies quite a bit between cities, which vary dramatically by population size and demographics.

The report marks the latest installment in a series of research Knight Foundation has funded with Pew exploring journalism and media in the digital age.  It is one of the deepest examinations performed to date of local media ecosystems, and the research provides themes to extrapolate from when considering the evolving state of news in cities across the country.

As we know from other research of the news industry, legacy media institutions, including local television stations and daily newspapers, have reduced their resources committed to covering local news over the past decade. This report found a richer network of local news providers exists in Denver compared to the two smaller markets. (According to Pew, the 2009 closing of The Rocky Mountain News “acted as a catalyst for numerous digital media startups”; over 140 news providers were identified in Denver compared to closer to 30 in the other two cities). In turn far fewer Denver residents rely on traditional media organizations for their local news. For example, only 23 percent of Denver residents often get news from The Denver Post compared to 40 percent of Sioux City residents who often get news from the Sioux City Journal.

‘Knight Cities’ podcast: How to Go Solo

March 4, 2015, 3 p.m., Posted by Carol Coletta

An estimated one third of adults can be called “soloists,” people who work in non-traditional relationships with their employers. And the rate is growing rapidly, 15 to 17 percent every year.

A soloist is, as George Gendron puts it, an extreme version of an entrepreneur and requires much of the same support and same capacities. George should know. He was editor-in-chief of Inc. Magazine for two decades, where he founded the Inc. 500 and worked with Michael Porter on the creation of the Inner City 100, a ranking of the fastest-growing companies in America’s inner cities.

George’s latest venture is the exploration of the “Solo Economy.”

Here are five things you should know about how to go solo:

Democracy Works launches new voter tool, expands programs

March 4, 2015, 9 a.m., Posted by Seth Flaxman


Voters waiting in line. Photo by Flickr user redagainPatti.

Seth Flaxman is co-founder and executive director of Democracy Works.

Innovation is at the heart of Democracy Works, a civic tech nonprofit I co-founded five  years ago to make voting easier. As Democracy Works grew, creating partnerships with funders that shared our vision became increasingly important. Working with Knight Foundation has been a perfect example of how funders and grantees can grow and learn together as we seek to achieve transformational impact.

This week, Democracy Works announced $1,000,000 in support  from Knight Foundation and  $400,000 from the MacArthur Foundation for our second round of fundraising, which began in late 2014. Because of their support, we’re on track to become financially sustainable and can continue building innovative technology that helps Americans more actively engage in our democracy.