Knight Blog

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

Educational, memorable and entertaining: the Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel

Aug. 21, 2014, 9 a.m., Posted by Maria Luis Carrillo

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 Maria Luis Carrillo of nominee Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel, which wants to bring the traditional dances of Mexico’s La Huasteca region to Detroit. To vote for the dance troupe, text Detroit4 to 22333 and learn about the other nominees at

Q. What do you love most about your arts group?
A. Performing and expressing through dance the rich culture and history of Mexico.

Q. What would you do with the $20,000 People’s Choice award?
A. Our goal is to increase our dance knowledge and in turn amplify our dance program and continue to take it to all pockets of the community and beyond.  This would be attained by inviting professional dance instructors from Mexico to come to Detroit and collaborating with our extensive folklore network.

What open data can tell us about depression

Aug. 20, 2014, 10:30 a.m., Posted by Bob Filbin

Bob Filbin is the chief data scientist at Crisis Text Line, a winner of Knight News Challenge: Health.

Every day, thousands of teens face bullying, abuse and family conflicts. Many struggle with depression, self-harm or even thoughts of suicide. Launched in August 2013, Crisis Text Line offers free, 24/7 text support to teens nationwide. Since then, teens have exchanged over 3 million messages with trained specialists about the crises they face.

Crisis Text Line is the largest service for teens on the medium they use and trust the most: texting. Many teens who use Crisis Text Line are seeking crisis support for the first time. Others tell us they’ve tried other services that offer phone support or online chat, but they prefer texting. This means Crisis Text Line is collecting unprecedented data on the crises teens face.

One way Crisis Text Line uses its data is to help provide the best possible experience to teens who use our service. For example, we can see when teens struggle the most with anxiety (7 a.m. during the school week), and schedule specialists to help them accordingly. But we also recognize our data, in the hands of citizens and journalists, has the potential to prevent crises from happening. That’s why Crisis Text Line developed Crisis Trends. Using data from specialist reports, Crisis Trends empowers journalists, researchers and citizens to identify trends in how teens experience crises over time and by state.

‘Knight Cities' - A conversation with Gil Penalosa on building better communities

Aug. 20, 2014, 9 a.m., Posted by Carol Coletta

Copenhagen regularly tops the list of the world’s best cities. It is celebrated for its culture of conviviality, elevated by the large number of people walking, biking and lingering in the city’s streets and public spaces.