Knight Blog

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

Free & Inexpensive Online Publishing and Communications Tools

April 29, 2009, 12:28 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Jose Zamora is a Journalism Program Associate at Knight Foundation

Good news: the Knight Citizen News Network has compiled a list of 73 free or inexpensive online tools that can help citizens start their own community news experiments.

This list of freebies is a good starting point. Please let us and KCNN know which you like best, and whether there are others you would recommend.

Knight Pulse: How Do You Build Community with Chicago News?

April 29, 2009, 7:04 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

From our Knight Pulse community site:

Founding Editor of Chi-Town Daily News (a Chicago non-profit online newspaper and Knight News Challenge winner) Geoff Dougherty talks with Daniel Honigman, Social Media Strategist at Tribune Interactive about building community with Chicago news.

Find out who Colonel Tribune is, how Chi-Town does outreach on public housing, an idea about associating actions with a story, the importance of SEO (search engine optimization), and why to organize offline events for online readership.

Other ways to encourage community around local news? How is the online news community different in Chicago?

Welcome to Dennis Scholl, Congratulations to Damian Thorman and to Susan Patterson

April 24, 2009, 3:15 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Please join us at Knight in welcoming a new colleague and congratulating two of our own for a lifetime achievement award and a new elected position.

Welcome to Dennis Scholl, the new Miami Program Director for Knight.

Dennis Scholl (full-res)

From the press release,

Scholl will work with local leaders to identify opportunities for investing in innovative ideas and programs. His efforts will include leading the Knight Arts Challenge, a $40 million initiative to unite South Florida through the arts.

An art collector for more than 30 years, Scholl has lead local and national philanthropic efforts in the visual arts. He served as founding chair of the Guggenheim Photography Committee, of the Tate Modern American Acquisitions Committee and of the Miami Art Museum Collectors Council. He has also served on the boards of the Aspen Art Museum, the North Miami Museum of Contemporary Art and the alternative art space Locust Projects, of which he was chair.


Congratulations to Damian Thorman, National Program Director for Knight Foundation on his election as Vice Chair of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

Damian Thorman

Congratulations to Susan Patterson, Charlotte Program Director for Knight Foundation, on receiving a lifetime achievement award at the Hornets Nest Girl Scout Council's 4th annual Women of Distinction Award Luncheon. Here she is with her mother, who was her first Girl Scout leader.

Susan receiving a lifetime achievement award (with her mom at right)

New Video with Knight Pulse / GOOD Community Leaders

April 23, 2009, 5:07 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Last month, Knight Pulse, the community site on the future of news for Knight Foundation, held an event in Los Angeles with GOOD Magazine, tapping six community leaders.

More in coming weeks on these projects in design, urban homesteading, neighborhood installations, community service, and storytelling on Pulse and on the GOOD site.

A New Breed of Journalists

April 22, 2009, 12:19 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Jose Zamora is a Journalism Program Associate at Knight Foundation

'In the future there will be a new breed of journalists who can do all this (multimedia journalism) and it's second nature to them,' said Travis Fox last Friday at this year's International Symposium on Online Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.

Fox is the Emmy Award-winning video producer for He was explaining that in contrast to the past, when online news sites used video to generate interest in their sites and to get extra revenue from video ads, in the future, video will be used to generate multiple revenue streams, because video/multimedia material can be used for any medium.

Fox explained how the script and stills from his video can be used for an article in the newspaper and the online edition of the daily, while the sound file can supply radio content, and the video itself can be used for a television story.

This was part of the discussion at a panel I moderated about multimedia storytelling and the future of online journalism at this year's symposium, which gathered 298 journalists and new media experts from around the world.

The other presentations for this panel were made by Mar'a Teresa Ronderos, Editor, (Colombia); Fred Ritchin, Director, PixelPress; David LaFontaine, Partner, Artesian Media and Managing Editor, Newspaper Association of America's Audience Planbook; Bill Gentile, Journalist-in-Residence, American University; and Travis Fox, Video Producer,

We are interested in your thoughts. Please comment below.

Knight Commission Asks About Your Information Needs

April 21, 2009, 1:55 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy ( wants to hear about your information needs starting today through Friday, May 8th on the PBS Engage site (the social media hub for PBS efforts):
PBS Engage | What are your information needs

On the site, there are five questions you can leave a comment on (or leave a general comment here) along with blog posts and video from the Commission's seven public forums and the Commission's preliminary report (that you can comment on in a Scribd shared document).

Marissa Mayer, Google's Vice President of Search Products & User Experience, and Co-Chair of the Commission, will post answers to questions about the Commission's work via Google Moderator at on May 15th.

You can also leave a phone message for the Commission (202) 721-5599 or write to them at: The Aspen Institute, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036.

Questions? Let us know in the comments. Please leave all comments for the Commission on the site.

From Knight Pulse: What Happens When We Aggregate Journalists' Tweets?

April 20, 2009, 2:59 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

This post originally appeared on the Knight Pulse community site:

Gregory Galant (@gregory) and Adam Varga (@varga) of Sawhorse Media tell us about their new site,, that aggregates Twitter (the popular microblogging site) streams from journalists.

Find out why they built the site, how they are limiting the feeds and given context, a possible new feature, and their message to Oprah.

Are all of a journalist's tweets journalism? What do you think about aggregating Twitter updates from journalists and news organizations?

Shot 4.17 at Sawhorse Media offices in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Digital Information Tools by the Knight Drupal Initiative

April 14, 2009, 12:15 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Jose Zamora is a Journalism Program Associate at Knight Foundation

Last week Development Seed released new open-source code in preparation for part of their Knight funded mapping project. This piece of software allows anyone to switch between mapping providers without writing any code.

Development Seed received a $195,000 grant to add a mapping tool to Drupal. With it, people will be able to geo-tag stories and see their location on a map. The developers are also creating a news monitor that allows people to aggregate multiple local news sources based on topic or issue to the open and free Drupal platform.

Knight Foundation's grant to Development Seed is one of a package of six grants that made up the Knight Drupal Initiative, a contest that tapped into a massive network of computer programmers to get their recommendations for speeding media innovation. In separate posts I will talk about each of the grants.

The Drupal community is a group of more than 350,000 members, mostly computer programmers who write free software together, collaboratively, on the web and the individuals and organizations that use the software to publish content online. You can learn more about Drupal at:

A video on how this new piece of software works is available on Planet Drupal TV.

Do you have innovative ideas on how to use this mapping tool to improve the way you receive, share and understand news about your community?

New York Times mentions two Knight projects.

April 13, 2009, 11:40 a.m., Posted by Marc Fest

Marc Fest is Vice President of Communications at Knight Foundation.

An article in today's New York Times talks about some of Knight Foundation's experiments in hyperlocal journalism. Specifically, it mentions Knight projects and

One of the questions in the article is what will happen to local news, as cities' newspapers keep failing? That question has prompted Knight Foundation's local news experiments for the past three years. In particular, we recognize that information is a core need of communities in a democracy. That's why Knight Foundation funds community experiments through the Knight News Challenge; community information sites through the Community Information Challenge; an examination of policy through the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy; and studies ways to bring about universal access in local communities through a digital access project.

In the article, Journalism Program director Gary Kebbel says the news business 'is in a difficult time period right now, between what was and what will be.' And that's why Knight Foundation funds community news experiments.

Finalists in the 2009 Knight Arts Challenge Announced

April 10, 2009, 5:03 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

From more than 1,500 ideas, 45 finalists will move on to the next round of the 2009 Knight Arts Challenge!

The Knight Arts Challenge is an experimental contest that aspires to bring together South Florida's diverse community through the arts. Great arts ideas poured in from the community during the month of February, and the 45 finalists include galleries, an opera company, and an independent music store along with many more smart, funky, and meaningful ideas. Projects stand to receive a total of $4 million in matching arts grants, and the winners will be announced next fall.

The finalists are as follows:


3D Miami/Frederic Snitzer
To further position South Florida as a cultural destination by exhibiting the contemporary sculpture of 90 artists throughout Miami-Dade County.
Available Space
To enrich community life by creating temporary, interactive public art displays in empty storefronts and vacant lots in underserved neighborhoods.
BELIART/Bernice Steinbaum
To spark interest in the arts among school children by producing an interactive, educational DVD set that focuses on great works.
Christy Gast
To provide free materials for nonprofits, schools and artists by creating a clearinghouse for donated art supplies and surplus goods.
To cultivate progressive architecture by commissioning young, local architects to create an outdoor urban refuge using green materials.
To provide access to expensive tools by creating a communal facility where artists can use heavy machinery and metal-casting equipment to produce their art.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
To expose new audiences to contemporary art by exhibiting the sculpture of Barry Flanagan and Tom Otterness on Fairchild's grounds.
Friends of the Bass Museum
To promote imaginative thinking among school children through a curriculum-based art program.
Girls' Club
To nurture the career of a South Florida artist by supporting an exhibit at an alternative gallery space dedicated to contemporary female artists.
Goldman Properties
To create a hub for creative activity in Wynwood by opening a multi-disciplinary office, performance and gallery space for a diverse group of arts organizations.
Greater Miami Convention and Visitor's Bureau
To raise museums' profiles by designating May as Miami Museum Month, when residents can join one of 18 museums and visit another for free.
Jerome Soimaud
To artistically explore Miami's African-American neighborhoods by producing a free art exhibition entitled "Black in Miami."
Locust Projects
To promote experimental art by commissioning three site-specific projects to be exhibited outside the traditional gallery setting.
Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs
To facilitate the exchange of ideas and goods by creating a 'Cultural Craigslist' where artists and groups can post openings and workshops, and can buy, sell or donate materials.
The Nature Conservancy
To highlight the importance of conservation by funding the Miami exhibition of "Design for a Living World," a series of works by leading artists using sustainable materials.
Sculpture Key West
To promote contemporary art in a unique, historic setting by producing and documenting an annual sculpture exhibition at Key West's two Civil War-era forts.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
To highlight Vizcaya's historic and artistic importance by commissioning site-specific artworks inspired by this National Historic Landmark.
Eli Weberman
To provide a cultural destination in Wynwood where artists can live, exhibit their work and mingle with potential customers, tourists and other artists.
To expand the reach of the museum by turning its exterior walls into a public art display.

Actors' Playhouse Productions
To celebrate South Florida's diversity by producing the first-ever musical in Spanglish on the Cuban migration to the United States.
City of Miami Mayor's Office of Film & Cultural Affairs
To enrich Downtown Miami by presenting weekly performances during lunchtime.
Florida Grand Opera
To attract a younger audience to opera with a student matinee performance that features sets using projected and animated images.
Florida Grand Opera
To cultivate a new audience for opera by giving away 2,000 tickets to a performance of Carmen through a drawing.
Miami City Ballet
To celebrate the ballet's 25th anniversary by producing five company premieres by choreographers who have shaped the group's artistic identity.
Miami-Dade Parks
To increase community cultural offerings by expanding a free concert series at neighborhood parks to include both traditional American and Latin music.
The Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts
To expand the offerings at the historic theater ' and ensure its sustainability ' by creating an endowment fund.
Performing Arts Center Trust
To foster an understanding of the performing arts by bringing every Miami-Dade fifth grader to a production at the Arsht Center.
Mario Ernesto Sanchez/Teatro Avante
To support and enhance an award-winning Hispanic theater festival by adding a comprehensive Latin American theater conference.


Alliance for Musical Arts, Theater and Tutoring
To cultivate community pride by creating a Drum Line for 50 elementary school kids who will learn percussion skills and perform at local events.
Amy Rosenberg
To explore and celebrate Overtown's rich music history by presenting an outdoor event featuring local musicians while historic neighborhood images are projected.
Chopin Foundation
To increase access to free performances by expanding the 'Chopin for All' concert series, adding events in Palm Beach County and engaging local schools.
Miami-Dade Public Schools
To further develop local musicians by creating a mentoring program where professionals give guidance through master classes and collaborative performances.
Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc.
To increase opportunities for blind and sighted artists by expanding the center's unique music inclusion program.
New World Symphony
To attract new and younger audiences by commissioning local artists to produce videos to accompany the music during select performances.
Performing Arts Center Trust
To broaden appreciation for South Florida's gospel tradition by expanding Free Gospel Sundays at the Arsht Center.
Sweat Records
To strengthen a local resource by expanding community programming and creating an online site exclusively for buying local music and art.
UNCF/United Negro College Fund
To expand knowledge of a culturally significant musical instrument by supporting the Florida Memorial University Steelband Program.

Broward County Film Society
To celebrate cultures from around the world through a free film and community discussion series.
Miami International Film Festival
To strengthen the reputation of South Florida's film industry by launching a marketplace where filmmakers and industry professionals can buy and sell film rights.
Plum TV
To increase the visibility of the visual arts community by producing a documentary TV series that follows key players as they prepare for Art Basel Miami Beach.

Hannah Kahn Foundation
To foster a dialogue through an author reading series.
Kathleen Hudspeth
To promote traditional print media and artists' books by creating a communal print shop serving the arts community.

BankAtlantic Foundation
To increase exposure to the arts by expanding a program that partners arts nonprofits with local elementary schools.
Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs
To ensure a thriving future for the arts by developing a plan to secure dedicated public funding sources for the arts in Miami-Dade County.
To help local artists gain exposure by creating a regional arts news service that would provide free stories and electronic press kits for broadcast.

For more details, see the Knight Arts site.

NewsVision looks at networking

April 8, 2009, 11:05 a.m., Posted by Michele McLellan and Eric Newton

Posted by Eric Newton, VP, Journalism Program:

150 enterprising Washington DC news people talked about using social media to connect with citizens and work with former rivals ' this from the day-long NewsVision symposium March 30, Knight Conference Center, Newseum ' in this video, innovators from the Orlando Sentinel, USA TODAY, Publish 2 and the University of Maryland looked at new ways networking can improve journalism ' panel slides here (the first and last are the funniest).

The Newspaper Guild , the Knight Foundation , and the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism , sponsored NewsVision in partnership with ONA and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Good quote: "This is a crisis we will not waste. The answer for us is not to retrench and just to go back to what we do best ... we have to innovate." -- NPR CEO Vivian Schiller ' NPR is retraining in partnership with the Knight Digital Media Center . Videos of Politico's John Harris , others are at the NewsVision site' also a new survey of online journalists.

Facebook experiments

April 8, 2009, 10:14 a.m., Posted by Michele McLellan and Eric Newton

Knight is funding two experiments that seek to engage young people with news on Facebook. The Daily on Facebook and Hot Dish offer users news and opportunities to take action and earn points and prizes. A University of Michigan researcher will study how young people use the sites for the next two months.' More about the project at the Knight Digital Media Center's Leadership 3.0 blog.

Information Needs and Trends

April 7, 2009, 11:34 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Jose Zamora is a Journalism Program Associate at Knight Foundation

The Knight News Challenge contest has allowed Knight Foundation to partner in digital media projects around the world. The contest provides a global view of new media trends and helps Knight Foundation discover some of the information needs communities have in the digital age.

In the second year of the Knight News Challenge Knight discovered two major trends:

1. The use of Drupal open-source software as the base for many projects that intended to bring digital journalism to local communities; and 2. The need for local online news sites.

Out of the Drupal trend, Knight created in partnership with a massive community of programmers, the Knight Drupal Initiative. This initiative led to the funding of six projects that aim to speed media innovation and lower the barriers to online publishing.

Out of the trend that demonstrated the need for local online news sites Knight hosted a digital journalism meeting. The meeting led to the funding of four online only community news sites. The Voice of San Diego, MinnPost, Chi-Town Daily News and the St. Louis Beacon. Last week the Voice of San Diego received recognition from Investigative Reporters and Editors for bringing citizens in their community the information they need to lead informed lives and hold their governments accountable.

Is there an online news site in your community? Do you think online news sites are the future of news and information? Please comment below.

Knight News Challenge Projects in Your Community

April 6, 2009, 10:52 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Jose Zamora is a Journalism Program Associate at Knight Foundation

Is there a Knight News Challenge Project in your community?
View Knight News Challenge Projects in a larger map

The Knight News Challenge projects are designed to be replicable in any community. If there isn't one in yours, please contact us to determine how we can help you bring one of these projects to your community.

The Knight News Challenge seeks to speed media innovation by funding projects that meet three criteria: 1. Use digital open-source technology 2. Distribute news and information 3. In determined geographic areas / local communities

Over the past two years Knight Foundation has funded more than 30 news experiments through the Knight News Challenge. Experiments that use technology in communications creatively to inform local communities.

The Knight News Challenge is a five-year, $25 million initiative that is open to anyone, anywhere in the world.

To learn more about the contest please visit: The next round of the contest will open this September.

CUNY J School Video on Adding Value Online, Video Storytelling, and the News Ecosystem

April 6, 2009, 8:23 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

CUNY Journalism School Professor Jeff Jarvis on adding value online:

Michael Rosenblum on the first rule of video storytelling:

and Professor Jarvis on the news ecosystem (and how to be found):

Thoughts? Would you like to see more videos like this?

Can public access stations bring local communities together?

April 1, 2009, 8:10 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Reposted from Knight Pulse:

Tony Shawcross of Denver Open Media, a Knight News Challenge winner, talks about the suite of open source Drupal tools his team has developed for public access stations to automate tasks and let viewers determine the broadcast schedule.

How could you use these Drupal tools? Other thoughts on the role of public access stations in local communities?