Knight Blog

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

Hackathon will help recode South Florida history

Oct. 31, 2014, 10:15 a.m., Posted by David W. McCombie III

Miami Herald satellite phone and photo transmittal system from the early 1990s on view at HistoryMiami. 

Why does history matter? 

History is about telling the stories of our past. It has the power to bring people from diverse backgrounds together for exploration, discovery and learning. In this spirit, HistoryMiami, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution,, along with the museum's seven-member Advisory Board will host a 24-hour hackathon event called Night at the Museum: Recoding History.

The hackathon  will bring together developers, designers and the creative communities to design new, digital ways to bring South Florida’s diverse and rich history to more people.

"HistoryMiami hopes to use this event to help the organization rethink the way the museum's collection should be experienced,” said Stuart Chase, the museum’s director/COO. “By allowing the museum to be seen through a highly collaborative and innovative approach, HistoryMiami will highlight the collection of unique historical photographs and documents in a profoundly new manner."

Broadsides and craft brews at Miami Book Fair’s the Swamp

Oct. 31, 2014, 7 a.m., Posted by Lissette Mendez

Lissette Mendez is director of programs for Miami Book Fair International, which Knight Foundation supports. Image: 'Somewhere.' For Sweat Broadside Project II, artists and writers collaborated on pairing original artwork with poems.

The Swamp, a new event space at Miami Book Fair International sponsored by Knight Foundation, celebrates the writers, filmmakers, visual artists and musicians (and some who fall between those disciplines!) who are creating work and defining culture in the Sunshine State. Among those culture makers are the writers and visual artists who are part of Sweat Broadside Project II.

Florida-based writers and artists came together to form Word and Image Lab (WAIL), a group that encourages community conversation and opportunities for collaboration among writing and the visual and performing arts. For Sweat Broadside Project II, artist/writer duos created the broadsides, which feature their collaborative pairings of original artworks and poems. The printing processes vary widely and include letterpress, lithography, etching, silkscreen, woodcut and archival ink-jet printing. 

Foundations take on projects to improve local news and information

Oct. 30, 2014, 11:57 a.m., Posted by Steve Outing

Terry Mazany of the Chicago Community Trust and Neha Singh Gohil of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation take part in a design thinking session for their projects.

Increasingly, community foundations are playing a role in meeting the information needs of their cities. Over the next year, KnightBlog will follow four of these projects funded by the Knight Community Information Challenge, and share their progress and insights.

Community foundations aren't likely to save faltering local news institutions or bring failed media outlets back from the dead. But six years into the Knight Community Information Challenge, they now are playing a significant role in ensuring residents have the information and news they need to shape their cities.

Knight launched the Community Information Challenge in 2008 as a way to encourage community and place-based foundations to get involved in stemming what was becoming a news-and-information crisis across the U.S.: the alarming decline in local journalism as a result of the news industry's rocky transition to the digital age and the loss of many working journalists in local media. Through 2013, the challenge backed more than 100 community-information projects, which were matched with funding from community foundations.