Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibarügen
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The blog of the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibarügen
Eric Newton is the V.P. of the Jouranlism Program at Knight Foundation. Jeff Jarvis 'and crew at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism have launched a web site devoted to new business models for news. It features business-side information and profiles of the new "plants and animals" in the evolving news ecosystem. MinnPost, Voice of San Diego and more. Will continue to get richer and richer over the coming months as new business models are added. Worth a look.
Jose Zamora is a Journalism Program Associate at Knight Foundation NPR continues to put in place its digital makeover, which started with a Knight Foundation grant to train its staff on digital media and transform the radio news organization into a digital media organization.
Today NPR launched a new site that allows more public participation and it is easier to navigate than ever before. The new listening, reading, commenting and sharing features are simple and inviting.
The beginning of the editors welcoming note reads: "We hope that you find it brighter, lighter, faster, easier to use, easier to search and more fun to surf."
Since the beginning of the grant NPR has become more and more a news organization of the web instead than a news organization on the web.
J-Lab Executive Director Jan Schaffer discusses the winners of the Knight-Batten Awards.
Last week, J-Lab announced the winners of the annual Knight-Batten Awards for Innovation in Media. The New York Times won top honors for a body of work that includes their debate analysis tool, Document Reader, Word Train, "Living With Less" project, custom newspaper newsbox and Represent. Special Distinction Awards went to Apture, ProPublica's ChangeTracker, PBS' Patchwork Nation, Printcasting, and the Center for Public Integrity. The Wilmington Star News won a Citizen Media Award for MyReporter.
1H2O, a documentary by Sanjeev Chatterjee and Ali Habashi of the Knight Center for International Media at the University of Miami's School of Communication, was shown to 20,000 children in 150 locations across India on March 22nd for World Water Day 2009.
Google Map Showing 1H2O Screening Sites
The documentary, which has no commentary or dialogue, shows the world water crisis from the perspective of communities at risk of flooding and droughts. It communicated a complex topic simply enough that the children understood that water was a precious commodity at risk from commoditization and climate change. See a clip from the film below:
The filmmakers decided where to show 1H2O by working with Pratham, a citizen's group that supports childhood education in communities across India.
The New York Times is partnering with Knight grantees recognized as innovators in developing new economic models for journalism.
In Sunday's Public Editor Column, Clark Hoyt said The Times is working with Spot.Us to pay for Lindsey Hoshaw's proposed report on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The NYT mention has gotten Lindsey, Spot.Us, and crowdfunded journalism attention from all over the web, including the Huffington Post, Poynter Online's NewsPay blog, and Econsultancy's blog. The percentage of visitors to the site who became donors increased to 10 percent from 1 percent. New contributors to the Garbage Patch pitch include Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Craig Newmark of Craigslist, and Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibarügen.
Hoyt also said The Times works with ProPublica on some investigative stories, and that editors and executives at the paper were in discussions about seeking out foundations to underwrite news sections or categories like the Science Times.
For more on new economic models, check out the City University of New York's New Business Models for News Project.
SnagFilms.com kicks off its SummerFest on Friday to celebrate its first year online. The web site will show one unreleased documentary film opening in the fall each week for a month. The first of these will be a Morgan Spurlock (of 'Super Size Me') film called 'The Entrepreneur,' about an automobile entrepreneur's failed attempt to bring a Chinese car line to the U.S.
Snag Films, a Knight grantee, launched last summer as a platform for independent documentary filmmakers and 'filmlanthropists' to reach a wider audience. Anyone can watch the site's more than 840 films for free, then "snag" the films and put them anywhere on the web.
As another part of its first birthday celebration, the site has launched a 'Top Ten Film of Year One' widget, and 'Movie Matcher,' which provides much-needed exposure to independent filmmakers. Users click on such tags as heavy, quirky, human rights and student filmmakers, and are presented with films that match these descriptions.
If every American went to the Newseum in Washington, D.C., would the First Amendment be in better shape?
Every year, the First Amendment Center issues a State of the First Amendment report based on telephone interviews. In 2008, 40 percent of respondents'the greatest percentage thus far'were not able to identify one of First Amendment freedoms.
Visitors to the Newseum respond to similar kinds of questions on kiosks as they exit the First Amendment Gallery. More of the Newseum visitors, by that poll, appreciate the First Amendment than do members of the general public, by the State of the First Amendment survey.
Just 12 percent of Newseum visitors say the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees, but 20 percent of the public says the same. Similarly, 39 percent of the public and 18 percent of Newseum visitors say the American press has too much freedom.
It's not a scientific comparison, but it appears people at the Newseum have the kinds of attitudes about the First Amendment that its supports would love to see in the general public surveys. Why? It is because the Newseum, which has the world's largest copy of the First Amendment on its facade, simply attracts freedom-lovers? Or is there something special they learn inside? Or both?
The issue of First Amendment education has been in the news for years, since a major national study showed more than 75 percent of'high school students did not know about or care about all of these fundamental freedoms.
Last week, Colby College's Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement launched the Lovejoy Journalism and News Literacy blog about the strengths, weaknesses, and consumer expectations of different news media.
Knight funded a series of Lovejoy Journalism and News Literacy initiatives in 2008. These included a digital resource center, a summer internship program, a journalists-in-residence program, and an annual course modeled after the news literacy program at SUNY Stony Brook.
The center also gives Lovejoy Awards for 'courageous journalism.'
Elijah Parish Lovejoy was a nineteenth century American newspaper editor who is considered the first martyr to press freedom for having died when pro-slavery arsonists set his printing press on fire.
Digital journalists covering local communities find digital skills extremely useful, but understanding how to run a business, including budgeting, revenue generation, social networking and marketing is equally important.
The Knight Digital Media Center designed an intense one-week boot camp where bloggers, journalists and citizens interested in launching a local news and information site can acquire all these skills. The all-expenses-paid program starts by covering the following topics:
- Developing a sustainable business plan.
- Marketing and audience development.
- Content production and management models.
- Legal and tax issues.
- Identifying capitalization sources.
- Developing and implementing
Investigative journalism site ProPublica, a Knight grantee, is seeing the impact of its work.'
A joint investigation with the Los Angeles Times found that the California Nursing Board took more than three years to punish nurses for abusing or neglecting patients. On Monday, the day after the expose was published, Governor Schwarzenegger fired three of the six members of the board, including President Susanne Phillips. The board's chief executive, Ruth Ann Terry, resigned on Tuesday.
Another series of reports by ProPublica exposed the environmental damage from hydraulic fracturing, or 'hydrofracking,' injecting toxic fluids underground to break rocks and reach deep natural gas reserves. In most states, the process is exempt from government regulation. The expose found that the cost of controlling the water table pollution is not as great as estimated by some industry executives. Congress is discussing removing hydrofracking's exemption from the Safe Water Drinking Act's rules. ' Another important story: On July 1st, the Washington Post's Binyamin Applebaum and ProPublica's Paul Kiel reported that the Treasury Department steered $135 million in TARP funds to a bank in Hawaii, at which Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) was a founder.
ProPublica is a nonprofit investigative journalism organization that reports and publishes news in the public interest. Last month, Knight Foundation gave a grant to them, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and the Sunlight Foundation as part of our new Investigative Reporting Initiative.
As local news coverage shrinks, bloggers are bringing communities the news and information they need.
But what are the needs of bloggers covering local communities?
- Sustainability models
- Digital training
- A blogger network
- Designing skills
- Legal support
These were the most common answers to that question at a meeting organized last week by UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and its Knight Digital Media Center.' The goal of the meeting was to share ideas, discuss common problems and opportunities, and explore ways to collaborate.
By the end of the meeting a blogger network was formed. Everyone agreed to share content, cross-link to each other and start meeting once a month. A Google group was also created to keep the conversation going.
The Knight Digital Media Center started thinking of different ways to support local community bloggers.
If you are a hyper-local blogger you can find useful resources here:
And don't forget to join Placeblogger
Notes from the war between cyber dissidents and their repressive governments'
On June 16th, the State Department quietly asked twitter not to undergo a scheduled maintenance because the texting service had become a main medium for news about Iranian election protests. Since then, the Iranian government has shut down cell phone connections and SMS texting. Protesters have switched to word of mouth and personal cameras.
Over 100 journalists from around the world have been petitioning for the release of Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari,'who has been in an Tehran prison since June 21st.
In North Korea, American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee are still being held, though not at a work camp,'as the government demands an apology. Their crime? Entering the country without permission to do stories for Current TV, Al Gore's TV network/web site focused on video 'pods' aimed at young people. For more on Laura, Euna, and other women journalists who have been detained abroad, visit the International Women's Media Foundation.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Iran has replaced China as the world's top jailer of journalists, though China has been detaining TV crews and cutting Internet connections in Xinjiang, where there are riots over the treatment of the Muslim minority.
The World Press Freedom Committee points out that only 21 percent of the world's people live in countries with a fully free press. However, the remaining nations hold a majority in every intergovernmental organization where press freedom issues are considered.
The preceding graphs are from the Committee to Protect Journalists 2008 prison census: Online and in jail, released December 4, 2008.
Clips available for 1H2O users (remixers) also include footage from South Korean, Nigerian, and Mexican TV news. Link TV will also award prizes to the best remixers of the 1H2O footage. Check out the quick remix example below:
Know the News allows users to cut and paste video clips from international broadcast media outlets to make their own mini-documentaries. The clips show different perspectives on one topic, and come from such outlets as CNN, MSNBC, and Al Jazeera.
The remixes are meant to resemble Global Pulse programs. Global Pulse, a 4-minute program shown on Link TV (available to digital cable viewers), shows how different nations see the same news in different ways.
The University of Miami's Knight Center for International Media, the Independent Television Service, and News Trust teamed up with Link TV on the project.
In 2008, UM's Sanjeev Chatterjee and Ali Habashi produced the documentary One Water about international droughts and conflict. The One Water project now includes curriculum development and an environmental journalism web site, which is hosting an online video competition about water issues until August 15th.
Students and fellows'at M.I.T.'s Center for Future Civic Media are also working on interactive programs that highlight environmental news, including'vanishing forests (Brad Simpson's "Chop Watch")'and'CO2 emissions (Leo Bonanni and Matthew Hockenberry's "Source Map"). C4FCM Co-Director Chris Csikszentmihalyi's project extrACT'informs and engages citizens'living in'rural U.S. communities where natural gas drilling takes place.
Tech-minded folks who care about journalism have been arguing for years that news organizations should adopt common standards for presenting news stories online. Developing a common format for news stories would make it easier for website users to tell where a story came from and who wrote it, and make it easier for computers to sort through and compare stories, identifying patterns and improving searches.
In 2008, Sir Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web) and Martin Moore of the Media Standards Trust won a Knight News Challenge grant to help carry these ideas forward and create standards for news story presentation online. Thanks in part to that grant, last week saw the launch of Value Added News, a new initiative to help make news stories more transparent. The effort has already drawn the support of the Associated Press, among others. The Value Added News website likens the new standards to nutritional labels on food, "giving people the information they need to enable them to make informed choices."
Martin Moore can probably explain this better than I can:
The idea is that by enabling straightforward, consistent mark-up of news articles, it will be easier for people producing journalism to distinguish their articles online (e.g. from commercial or government information), and make searching for those articles quicker and more intelligent.
This isn't about the subjective stuff, rather about highlighting the who-what-where-when of a news article so that:
* A journalist, or someone producing journalism, can accurately identify their work on the web * A member of the public has more information with which to assess the provenance of an article when they're looking at it (i.e. who wrote it, when it was first published etc.) * A member of the public can search the web using the news mark-up to focus their search * News organisations, third party aggregators, and members of the public can use the news metadata to create new ways in which to access and navigate news
We think that better signposting of news on the web will be good for journalists, good for news organisations and good for the public.
This effort to provide more structure and better metadata for news stories online is part of a larger movement towards better presentation of information online. Just as techy folks have been arguing for standards in the presentation of news stories, they've been doing the same for everything from government data to e-commerce information.
Watch video of Sir Tim Berners-Lee making the argument for information standards at TED:
A recent Christian Science Monitor article profiled 'News Games' ' the emerging genre of non-fiction games that expose players to the news-making process and help them understand the complexity of issues in the news.
Ian Bogost, the head of Persuasive Games, is an associate professor at Georgia Tech who classifies the roles and uses of news games on his blog. Among these are serious, complex games and quick and easy 'tabloid games.'
Some games help the public understand how a newsroom works. The Newseum in Washington, D.C. has released two games via News University, Be a Reporter and Be an Editor, and anyone can play them online. Link TV's interactive Global News Literacy modules show players how news is covered in different countries and allow users to remix their own clips.
Link TV's News Remixer
Games can also make complicated problems easier to understand and solve. Knight News Challenge winners have received grants to create games for community engagement.
Paul Grabowicz's Remembering 7th Street allows players to explore the history and demise of the Oakland, CA jazz scene in the 1940s and 50s.
Remembering 7th Street
Nora Paul, director of the University of Minnesota's Institute for New Media Studies, modified the Neverwinter Nights game to create 'Playing the News', starting with'games about using ethanol as fuel. Angela Anthony's game will'turn energy conservation into a friendly competition among neighbors.
Playing the News' Ethanol Issues Board Game
The Knight News Game Awards were presented in May at the 6th annual Games for Change Conference. Check out Best News Game winner Play the News; Lifetime Achievement Award winner September 12th, a Toy World; and honorable mentions Budget Maze and Hurricane Katrina: Tempest in Crescent City.
A Play the News game called Israel-Iran Enrichment Faceoff
Knight News Challenge winners blog about their games on PBS's Idea Lab.
The American Society of News Editors' site my.hsj.org hosts the largest collection of online student news sites we know about. The 2,961 sites include student-produced news from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and even from a military base in Japan. The site publishes a weekly National Edition showcasing the best student pieces and has expanded its capacity to host students' blogs.
The my.hsj site is the companion to highschooljournalism.org, which provides journalism teachers and students with lesson plans, mentoring partnerships with local daily papers, and created a campus wire service among member publications.
Diana Mitsu Klos is the Senior Project Director of the ASNE High School Journalism Initiative. She and her team incorporate students' suggestions on the my.hsj blog into their educational programming and web site development.
OneCommunity is an organization located in Akron (and Cleveland!), Ohio, devoted to expanding the use of broadband to spur economic development in Northern Ohio. The organization operates the Knight Center of Digital Excellence, which helps communities across the country take advantage of digital technologies. Last week, US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and FCC Chair Julius Genachowski visited OneCommunity's backyard to highlight the work being done by groups like OneCommunity and how this work fits into the Obama administration's plan for the federal stimulus funds:
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke emphasized that many of the programs delivered through OneCommunity in Northern Ohio will serve as an example for the Commerce Department's work across the country. Locke also stated how important broadband is to the Obama administration, with pervasive high-speed availability laying the groundwork for a better future.
'Imagine a country where students can take classes from anywhere, where you can have access to world class doctors through the web,' said Secretary Locke. 'Not only will this broadband initiative is put people to work immediately building the network, it will enhance the lives of our citizens by providing high speed access at a low cost to provide life-long learning.'
Read more about Locke and Genachowski's visit to Akron and about the Obama administration's plans for the stimulus at the Knight Center's Community Connection.
NewsU has launched a new course called Leading an Online Newsroom: What You Need to Know. The course is taught by Susan Karol, executive director of the Suburban Newspapers of America Foundation, and funded by Knight Foundation.
The course consists of five 'classes', each with tips and commentary from editors on best practices for online newsrooms. There are also interactive activities that simulate running an online publication and respond to news events:'class participants'choose which staff members to send to cover a story, and learn how to adjust their workflow for breaking news.
It also features a 'Case Study Showcase' of seven online news organizations' successes and challenges. Participants can also add their own newsroom to use as an example.
The NewsU team is working on its third course, which will be on innovation in community news, and will hold two webinars this month. Check out'a list of NewsU courses (.pdf), which'are free for everyone who registers on the web site.
Brant Houston holds the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Journalists from 25 nonprofit journalism organizations formed the first-ever investigative news network at a three-day gathering at the Pocantico Conference Center this week.
Pledging collaboration on both editorial efforts and business operations, the network created a steering committee to immediately pursue funding for a grant to develop plans for shared operational resources and for collaborations on major investigative projects.
The group also issued a declaration outlining the need for the network in a time of diminishing resources for investigations by the mainstream media.
Jose Zamora is a journalism program associate at Knight Foundation Report from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Convention, where my panel discussed business models' The most popular new models were niche advertisements, paid content, public contributions and foundation support.
The panel was moderated by Frances Robles, foreign correspondent for The Miami Herald. Among the panelists were Patricio G. Espinoza, an Emmy Award winning journalist who runs espiMedia.com; Eduardo Hauser, CEO of DailyMe.com; and Calvin Sims, Program Officer at The Ford Foundation.
Patricio Espinoza talked about niche digital media as a new business model. He caters to niche audiences in specific neighborhoods and finds local merchants who want to reach them. Bartering is also a good way to enter local advertising markets, he says. Content is vital, but so is a great sales person.
Eduardo Hauser explained the importance of knowing who is interested in the content you want to produce and figuring out who is willing to pay for it.
I explained how Knight Foundation is experimenting with different models through the journalism program and the Knight News Challenge to find out which models works best. Knight is experimenting with nonprofit models, like voiceofsandiego.com and ProPublica.Other models include niche publications, hyper-local blog aggregators and reverse publishing like EveryBlock.com, Placeblogger, Printcasting and VillageSoup.com. And there are hybrid models between journalism schools and media organizations like the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and with crowd-funding through Spot.US.
If you have a project that combines new models with news and information for specific geographic communities, please apply to the Knight News Challenge. The contest opens again Sept. 1, 2009. And if you are interested in learning more about these and other projects keep tuned to Knight Blog.