The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Vice president of communications Marc Fest relates the state of journalism to the new Star Trek movie, Under Construction, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Knight Hall journalism building at the University of Maryland on May 21, 2008.
What do you think the current state of journalism is like?
This week, Trabian Shorters, V.P. of Communities at Knight Foundation, and I attended the NetSquared conference in San Jose, California. (Knight Foundation was a conference sponsor.)
In its third year, the NetSquared conference tightly programs two days of sessions on how to use social media tools like Flickr, the popular photo-sharing service, along with the real draw: twenty-one project presentations competing to be voted into the top three, with award money and the prestige of "winning" NetSquared.
The twenty-one projects are organized into broadly thematic panels (mapping, aggregation tools), and trends this year included specific asks to extend existing sites and databases with geolocative details, mobile interfaces, and formatted public data.
Most impressively, between sessions and in the hallways, conversation exploded. Presenting to an audience of their peers, the panelists fielded smart questions and excitedly announced finding technical help, calling out other conference attendees and thanking them. After panels, longer and more technical conversations often continued into the hack room, which became the Second Life Mixed Reality event on the second day.
This is a video I took between sessions and between conversations:
Bravo to the NetSquared team for creating a brief incubation of sorts where all projects could hone their ideas and grow from the interested and invested community gathered.
Professor Rich Gordon blogged yesterday on IdeaLab (the group blog of Knight News Challenge winners), about six open full scholarships for programmers to study journalism at Medill School at Northwestern University.
The entire post is here, and Gordon asks for thoughts about the scholarship pitch and the concept in general. Commenters are weighing in about how to increase applicants and how to promote the opportunity.
What do you think? How could we increase applications for these full scholarships for programmers and developers to study journalism at Northwestern?
Share your thoughts by commenting on the original post (comments have been turned off below).
At Knight HQ, we think of the Knight News Challenge winners as part of a special community, so we were delighted to see 2008 winner David Cohn's recent video interviews of fellow News Challenge winners Martin Moore and Ryan Sholin from the Editor and Publisher conference in Las Vegas last week.
And Ryan Sholin is working on a project called Reporting On, which will let reporters talk to each other as they report; David talks with Ryan about the Reporting On project, cycles of sharing, and feed readers.
Thanks, David, for posting these interviews.
What questions to do you have for these three winners?
Last week in Las Vegas, sixteen 2008 Knight News Challenge winners were announced and a total of $5.5 million was awarded for ideas to innovate digital information delivery.
President and CEO of Knight Foundation Alberto Ibarügen noted in a Wall Street Journal interview (linked to from Mashable, Reportr.net, and Poynter's Romenesko) that he wants to experiment even more, characterizing a rising trend of mobile funding as a place to "begin."
Two mobile News Challenge projects, Bev Clark's Freedom Fone (a news database accessed by mobile devices in Zimbabwe) and Joel Selanikio's News on Cellphones project (news delivered on less expensive mobile devices), were congratulated on the MobileActive blog. Both organizations are part of the MobileActive community.
Below, Bev and Joel explain their projects at the Editor & Publisher conference last week. (Note: This is casual footage shot with a Flipcam.)
Fellow winner David Cohn, whose Spot Journalism project will "crowdfund" freelance journalists to cover important stories through micropayments, has already generated a line of questioning on entrepreneur Rick Burnes's blog.
Cohn addresses thoughtful queries about how his project can promote an open marketplace instead of a press release factory in the comments.
This is how David explained the phases of his project last week at Editor & Publisher in Las Vegas:
What questions do you have about the News Challenge and these projects?
(More News Challenge projects will be featured on this blog in coming weeks.)
This week, the Knight Digital Media Center at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism presents a week of intensive workshop training for journalists in multimedia.
Mark Glaser of MediaShift (a blog the Knight Foundation supports), is live-blogging some of the workshops.
From MediaShift posts, find out about the Christmas Tree approach to incorporating multimedia, why UC Berkeley journalism school new media director Paul Grabowicz advises "print might be going away but not text," how video should be part, and not all, of a specific piece, why RAW format isn't necessary for the web, and try building this Flash template that "will help you do the interactivity for about 90% of Flash designs."
The Center offers more tutorials here.
What other topics would you like to see covered at a multimedia training week?
For the Knight News Challenge (our $25 million, five-year contest that rewards ideas and projects that use digital news or information to inform and inspire geographic communities), we've made a News Challenge bingo widget for you to grab and put on your Web site.
Correctly match the name of the winner with their grant sideways, vertically, or across to win (our admiration). For more details on how to really win a News Challenge grant, check the site and interact with the winners on the new Ning (social network).
To grab the widget, click 'share' on the right side at the bottom in either the large bingo game:
Or the small bingo game:
What other types of Knight Foundation content would you like to share with friends online?
Please leave us a comment and show us where you put the bingo game on your site.
Last Wednesday, the Knight News Challenge winners were announced at the Editor & Publisher/Mediaweek Interactive conference in Las Vegas.
Knight Foundation president and CEO Alberto Ibarügen chatted with one of the winners, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, after the announcement; inventor of the World Wide Web, Berners-Lee is working with Martin Moore on a transparent journalism project.
The full details on all sixteen grants are here.
Video from all the winners explaining their projects, as Bev Clark does for her Freedom Fone project below, will be posted on this blog this week.
This year's winners will also join last year's News Challenge winners blogging for IdeaLab.
Fans of the News Challenge and these projects can join the News Challenge Ning social network to interact with the winners.
Knight Foundation employees are in the final days of the Biloxi build, and the Habitat for Humanity Web site quotes a few of us in yesterday's daily diaries section.
Biloxi ' Roofing isn't the only hot job. Crews of twos and threes worked at each house to put insulation in the attics ' a job that left volunteers sweating through their t-shirts. Pilar Guzman Zavala, 29; Camila Domonoske, 19, and Julie Brooks, 40, handled the attic insulation at 607 Roy Street Wednesday. The trio earned the sobriquet, 'The Attic Elves' for their ability to navigate the tight space.
Zavala and Brooks are both employees of the Knight Foundation, this year's platinum sponsor for the Carter Work Project. 'We're getting a workout up there,' Brooks said. She described the tightrope walking they have to do to avoid stepping on the drywall, and to navigate the beams as some 'quality gymnastics exercise.'
Pascagoula 'Jennifer Hebert hasn't lived on the Gulf Coast since she was a girl, but her first home was in Lafayette, La., and one of her parents is from New Orleans. 'I watched the hurricanes happening on TV,' said the South Florida resident, 'and I saw the devastation happening to my people. I'm a city girl, but I had to come out here, come back home, to do my part.' ' Shala Carlson
Pascagoula ' Volunteer Paula Ellis of Miami, Fla., has been conducting an experiment since the roof went up on the Habitat house where she is volunteering this week: what's the easiest beverage to toss up to her fellow workers? 'I do better with the Gatorade,' she said, after a few failed attempts to get a water bottle up to the roof. 'Gatorade has a better throw weight.' ' Shala Carlson
Pascagoula'Jessica Goldfin, a 23-year-old first-time Habitat volunteer from Miami, Fla., was well warned about the infectious enthusiasm that runs rampant at the Carter project. But still she succumbed.
'I've got Habititis,' she said, shrugging her shoulders. Her first time volunteering won't be her last. ' Teresa K. Weaver
Best wishes to all of the Habitat volunteers this week; here at Knight Foundtion HQ, we look forward to more stories, pictures, and video (posted here next week) upon your return.
The building continues in Biloxi at the Habitat for Humanity's 25th Annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project, and Knight Foundation colleagues are sending back pictures and video of the first few days.
For most of the houses, Journalism Associate Jessica Goldfin writes, the homeowner is working as part of the build crew, "which is really inspiring and cool."
For the house Jessica is working on, the future homeowner Christine commented on Monday, "Wow, this is my bathroom," and, later, "it is starting to look like my home."
Builders are also leaving messages for the homeowners on the structure itself; so the walls will talk--or whisper, perhaps, of the efforts volunteers made this week and their best wishes for the homeowners.
Many of our number were able to meet Jimmy Carter, including Knight Foundation president and CEO Alberto Ibarügen:
(video by VP of Communications Marc Fest)
What would you write on the walls of a Habitat house you were helping build?
This week, thirty Knight Foundation employees are working alongside thousands of other volunteers constructing and rehabilitating houses in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Knight Foundation is directly sponsoring eight houses, and we'll be posting video and updates from those eight houses all this week.
One Knight Foundation program director, Anne Corriston, is blogging her experience here; in the past few days, she has been moved by messages of hope, impressed by veteran Habitat volunteer skillsets, and wary of pig boots.
Below, Leah Witmer, who manages special Habitat projects in the Gulf Coast region, describes her job and how excited she is about thirty new houses.
Have you volunteered with Habitat for Humanity?
Leave tips and encouragement for the build crews in the comments below.