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

  • Journalism

    A new platform for disruption: Fusion’s Mariana Santos joins FIU as Knight Innovator in Residence

    Sept. 1, 2015, 2 p.m., Posted by Mariana Santos

    Mariana Santos is the interactive and animation director at Fusion and the new Knight Innovator in Residence at Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Photo credit: Carolina Wilson on Flickr.

    I recently finished a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University and returned to Miami ready to apply new skills and a startup mindset to my job as Fusion Network’s interactive and animation director. However, when the opportunity to be the new Knight Innovator in Residence at Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication came up, it was just too good to pass up. I thought, Why not do both? Since the school and Fusion are both leaders that are setting the path to innovation in Miami’s media scene, why not combine the best of the professional and academic worlds into one big innovation package?

    As the new Knight Innovator at FIU, I look forward to changing the way academic journalism is taught, by bringing a multidisciplinary approach to the curriculum, organizing hackathons for teamwork, and bringing my artists, journalists, developers, designers and activists to events where journalism meets arts, design and technology. I look forward to breaking all the boundaries of digital storytelling with the fresh ideas that students bring to the conversation, pairing it with the real needs of the industry, a perspective I can provide from my newsroom at Fusion, addressing real topics on the spot. I believe this will prepare students not only with the skills they need but with the startup mindset and leadership attitude they need to transform journalism: “Just do it!”

    My main motivation in applying for this position was the respect I have for the work FIU and its School of Journalism and Mass Communication have been delivering in Florida, especially within the world of journalism. The school has been creating great professionals, preparing them with insights for real-world jobs, always looking for ways to improve the system. It complements my own experience; I have worked in several countries, faced different media landscapes, and that has provided me with insights on how to serve different information needs across Europe, Latin America and now the U.S. I have the drive, passion and vision to bring a lot of innovation to journalism, helping people focus on the big picture, and I will keep opening doors and being a disruptor by delivering fresh ideas.

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  • Some alt text

    A summer of free outdoor theater in Detroit culminates in 'Bebop: The Musical'

    Sept. 1, 2015, 1:27 p.m., Posted by Rosie Sharp

    “It’s been a while since I directed a musical,” said Carrie Morris, director of Carrie Morris Arts Production (CMAP). “I forgot how much work it is.”

    CMAP, a Knight Arts Challenge Detroit winner, is one of four arts groups that comprise the Carpenter Exchange–a creative placemaking initiative focused on Detroit’s Carpenter Street and rounded out by fellow Knight Arts grantees The Hinterlands, Popps Packing and Power House Productions. As part of the Carpenter Exchange, CMAP has been putting on free outdoor theater events all summer.

    With her latest, “Bebop: The Musical,” Morris certainly had her work as director and producer cut out for her. An original work of satirical puppet theater written by Scott Gwinnell, “Bebop” featured a live jazz band and vocal talent, in addition to a puppet show starring fictionalized caricatures of some of jazz history’s greatest names.

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  • Communities

    How to land corporate sponsorships for Giving Days

    Sept. 1, 2015, 9:23 a.m., Posted by Anna Dilernia

    Knight Foundation recently hosted a webinar on Landing Corporate Sponsorships for Giving Days, a session targeted to the many foundations that organize these campaigns and part of an ongoing learning series. The topic was spurred by a review of Knight-funded Giving Days and input from peers who were interested in learning more about this type of funding and tactical lessons on how to get started with securing corporate sponsorships. As we look forward towards the sustainability of community foundation-lead Giving Days, topics like corporate sponsorship are just some ways community foundation organizers are looking to gain skills that can be used beyond a Giving Day event.

    The webinar included lessons learned from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s partnership with Microsoft, Colorado Gives Day’s partnership with First Bank and tips from fundraising expert Shannon Doolittle.

    Here are a few top takeaways:

    Know the difference between sponsorships and partnerships: Here’s how Doolittle described it: Corporate sponsorships are a marketing objective, a way for business to build brand and increase sales. Partnerships, meanwhile, are a form of philanthropy and giving back.  While sponsorships come form the marketing budget and are often short term and transactional, partnerships are long-term propositions that take time to develop, often include additional value beyond providing dollars, and can be transformational for an organization.

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