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

Mar 11, 2011

Supporting news start-ups with technology

Posted by John Bracken

The crisis in the news industry has resulted in numerous attempts to create new platforms and approaches for informing, and engaging'audiences "the people formerly known as the audience." Knight Foundation has'supported a number of nonprofit news start-ups focused on local news. Our latest grant in that area was announced earlier this morning: we've made a $975,000 grant to the Bay Citizen and the Texas Tribune to support 'their work to build, and share, a free'open source publishing platform.

In developing the grant, I found that I kept over-estimating the age of these two publishers - I find it hard to believe that the Bay Citizen has only been publishing for nine months and the Texas Tribune for 16 months. They have quickly become important news sources in their communities and models for their effective use of the Internet. We hope this grant will help them to maintain their technological nimbleness and benefit other publishers-- existing ones as well as those yet to come.

A couple of additional points:

  • Collaboration is a term that gets used a lot these days, but the Citizen and the Tribune actually are doing it. The money will be split by the two organizations, and Brian Kelly and'Higinio Maycotte, the head geeks at the Bay Citizen and Texas Tribune respectively, and their teams will work closely together.

  • The grant builds on Seeking Sustainability, a meeting Knight Foundation hosted last April in Austin with'Texas Tribune, Voice of San Diego and the Knight Chair in Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin. We convened'nonprofit local and regional news organizations to talk about their work in the new news landscape.

  • Over the next few days Knight Foundation will be present at the South by Southwest Interactive festival-- a summary of our activities is here. On Saturday morning, we're sponsoring a panel on Changing News Rooms and News Consumers--among the presenters will be Lisa Frazier, the founding CEO of the Bay Citizen.

(Photo: Flickr)

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