Knight Blog

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

News editors growing to adopt adopt digital-first mentality

Sept. 16, 2014, 6 p.m., Posted by Arnie Robbins

Arnie Robbins is the executive director of the American Society of News Editors, which Knight Foundation supports to establish long-term sustainability and advance excellence in journalism. Above: Neighborhood Explorer by The Dallas Morning News.

It’s not like there’s a great manual for this stuff. There’s not a rich tradition or history of what works and what doesn't work.

It’s just crucial that we move as quickly as we can, learn as much as we can, and adopt a digital-first mentality as much as we can.

Which is why, at the American Society of News Editors, we know that whatever we can do to hasten the speed at which news organizations adopt digital tools in newsrooms the better. Because we know that some of these digital tools will change as quickly as they are adopted. Some will work; some won't.

It’s why we know that we must include a variety of tactics to help one another: from strong digitally focused sessions at large annual conventions to smaller conferences with a sharp focus on digital news and what works to webinars offering training on topics to our changing news landscape.

It’s why we experimented with our Hacking News Leadership conference in May at the University of Texas in Austin. By all accounts it was a terrific conference.  ASNE’s first regional conference in recent memory, Hacking News Leadership attracted more than 70 attendees from around the country, including editors, reporters, technology specialists, educators and other members of news organizations. 

Worth over wealth: Hacking h(app)iness in the Magic City

Sept. 16, 2014, 4:18 p.m., Posted by John C. Havens

Social Good Summit Miami, 2013. Photo by Anusha Alikhan. 

John C. Havens is the founder of the nonprofit H(app)athon Project and a principal of Transitional Media Consulting. He will deliver the keynote at the upcoming Social Good Summit Miami, sponsored by Knight Foundation. The summit will examine the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives.

You’re in a convertible Mercedes, dressed in an Armani suit, ushered in to one of the most exclusive clubs in Miami.  Your wallet is jammed with cash, plastic and more phone numbers than you’ll ever use. You have the perfect tan and the perfect life.  So let me ask you a question:  Are you happy?

Your response, “Are you an idiot? Of course I’m happy.”

Great.  Now here’s my next question:

What are you worth?

I’m not interested in the aggregate value of your bank accounts and worldly possessions.  I’m wondering about your sense of wellbeing.  Cars rust. Clothing attracts moths or goes out of style.  And whether you’re able to maintain a lifestyle based on the accumulation of money and stuff, science shows this quest for hedonic happiness won’t improve your intrinsic sense of worth.  In fact, pursuit of ephemeral or mood-based happiness for the sake of it can actually lower your wellbeing over time.

Knight Cities Challenge offers $5 million to uncover ideas to make cities more successful

Sept. 16, 2014, 9 a.m., Posted by Carol Coletta

Today we’re announcing the Knight Cities Challenge, a broad effort to uncover innovative ideas to make our cities more successful, and we’re investing $5 million to support projects that do this. Our question: “What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?”

We don’t have preconceived notions on what winning ideas will look like, but the research on what matters to the success of cities is clear. Cities that want long-term success should stimulate increases in talent, opportunity and engagement.


Talent is critical because the percentage of college graduates in your population explains 58 percent of your metro area’s success (if you measure success by per capita income).  And talented people, who are among the most mobile groups in society, want to live in vibrant, diverse communities.

Opportunity is critical because it is fundamental to getting more people on the ladder of economic success. Cities that break down economic divides and provide opportunity to people from different backgrounds stimulate ideas and connections that enable their communities to thrive.