Knight Blog

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

Building a new journalism school? Build the newsroom first

March 22, 2013, 8:59 a.m., Posted by Lisa Williams

The following is cross-posted from the Knight Digital Media Center. It is written by Lisa Williams, the CEO and founder of and a consultant for the Knight Community Information Challenge. 

What would you do if you could build a brand-new journalism school from scratch? Monclair State in New Jersey is doing just that.


"Do universities hear the critics of journalism education" by Eric Newton on KnightBlog

Not too long ago, I visited Gainesville, Fla., home of the University of Florida/Gainesville, where I participated in Journalism/Interactive.  The main focus of this organization?  Reforming, and reinventing journalism education.  

Journalism education is at a crossroads: As tuition continues to rise while employment in the field has taken a terrifying nosedive in the last five years, many people feel that journalism education hasn't changed fast enough to give graduates a shot at entering, and staying in, their chosen profession.  Surveying 1,900+ professionals, the Poynter Institute found that more than half felt that journalism education wasn't keeping pace with changes in the industry.

When I listened to instructors from schools across the country at Journalism Interactive, what I heard was that for many of them, getting to consensus about changing a curriculum that took decades to build was a real slog. Journalists with decades of experience and Ph.D.s with serious scholarly work were, understandably, less than eager to do things that felt like minimizing the importance of skills  they'd spent a lifetime acquiring to replace them with classes about entrepreneurship, programming, or data visualization. 

Up In The Sky! It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s Poetry!

March 22, 2013, 8:51 a.m., Posted by Brett Sokol

The following is Part 3 of O, Miami: How a festival infused a city with poetry, an in-depth look at the unorthodox event. Click here for Part 1 and Part 2

The Ferrari said it all. If you were looking to make a dramatic statement that O, Miami was a very different kind of poetry festival — irreverent, playfully subversive, and not least, steeped in the often blindingly over-the-top spirit of South Florida — what better way than to put one of your featured poets behind the wheel of a gleaming red convertible Ferrari, hand him a bullhorn, and then have him literally proclaim his poems to the streets?


Interactive Report:

Downloadable Report:
O, Miami Report PDF

“I appreciate the typical wine-and-cheese poetry reading, but that’s so stale,” explains Dave Landsberger, the Ferrari-driving poet in question.

“Let the younger poets do younger, weirder things. Let the older poets do the more reverent things. There’s a place for both — and that’s why O, Miami was such a success.”

Landsberger certainly did his part to make a splash for the festival’s April 2011 debut, drawing a crowd as he double-parked his rented Ferrari alongside Lincoln Road, reading out one of his own poems, but only allowing himself to bask briefly in the resulting applause — he spotted a curious police officer approaching. From there he roared up to an impromptu reading in the parking lot of a North Miami Beach Wal-Mart, and then back to the drive-through window of a Biscayne Boulevard fast-food restaurant — where he made a new poetry devotee out of a Checkers employee with a performance of Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” “Victory!” he laughs.

Though family commitments forced Landsberger, a 2010 MFA graduate of Florida International University, to return to his native Chicago, he is scheming for a way to relocate to the sub-tropics – and not just to escape the snow.

886 applications in News Challenge on Open Gov: What’s next

March 21, 2013, 10:18 a.m., Posted by John Bracken

The submission phase of the News Challenge on Open Gov ended Tuesday. (We extended the deadline by a day when the our servers collapsed under a flood of traffic we saw on Monday).

We ended up with a total of 886 submissions including some sent to us privately.

Here’s what happens next. (Also, see Chris Barr’s post last month on how we’re organizing this News Challenge).

  • Feedback, through March 29. We’re asking anyone interested in this topic to comment on and ask questions about the ideas on the site. If you have submitted, check out the feedback and, if you want, edit your submission. You’ll get an e-mail notification any time someone comments on your entry or replies to a comment of yours. (Side note: the ‘applause’ feature is not a factor we’ll use in reviewing submissions.) Next week, we’ll huddle with the eight readers who are helping us by reading submissions and engaging on the site. By the end of that week, we’ll have a set of semifinalists who will enter the Refinement stage.