Knight Blog

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

Questions and insight at Council on Foundation's session on "Journalism and Media Grant Making"

Sept. 23, 2011, 9:52 p.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

Crossposted from the Council on Philanthropy's blog.

With community and place-based foundations increasingly supporting local information projects – they spent $58 million on the sector last year  - the audience for the “Journalism and Media Grant Making” session at the Council on Foundations’ Fall Conference came prepared with sophisticated questions and their own insights to share.

Here’s a sample of the conversation:

How are nonprofit news sites becoming sustainable – particularly since there isn’t one magic business model?

The most successful have diversified revenues sources that include foundation grants, advertising, major donors, memberships and sponsorships, said Eric Newton, Knight Foundation’s senior adviser to the president. People will pay for content, Newton said, noting that the public has funded public media for more than half a century. But sites have to be entrepreneurial by nature.

The expense equation is important too. A budget solely devoted to good journalism is doomed to failure, said Michele McLellan, a Knight Foundation consultant who helps guide community foundations investing in this area. Funders need to take a close look at the site’s business development plan and technical capacity, both key to building and engaging audiences who will sustain the site.

Knight Foundation heads to the 66th Annual Conference on Citizenship to discuss civic health and Soul of the Community

Sept. 22, 2011, 8:50 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller


This afternoon Knight Foundation will help lead a discussion on measuring civic health at the 66th Annual National Conference on Citizenship, an annual event that explores the revised roles of citizens, nonprofits, and governments in a 21st century democracy. The theme for this year’s conference is “Redefining America’s Social Compact.”

The Civic Health Index, funded in part by Knight Foundation, is an annual report that elevates the discussion of our nation’s civic health by measuring a wide variety of indicators. This effort to educate Americans about civic life also seeks to motivate citizens, leaders and policymakers to strengthen it.

Tomorrow on Sept. 23, Paula Ellis, vp/strategic initiatives at Knight Foundation will present on a panel titled “Best Practices in Creating Civic Strategies” from 10 - 12:15 p.m. The session, moderated by Lattie Coor, chairman, Center for the Future of Arizona will bring together local, regional and national leaders to talk about civic strategies that help communities thrive and discuss the future of our nation’s civic information infrastructure.

Just two weeks left in the Apps for Communities contest

Sept. 21, 2011, 11:39 a.m., Posted by Damian Thorman, J.D.

In less than two weeks, the Apps for Communities contest closes. We challenged developers and designers with creating apps that improve daily life in cities by making local public information more personalized, usable and actionable for all Americans.  We’ve had over 45 submissions so far and more are rolling in as the deadline approaches. 

Knight Foundation has partnered with the Federal Communications Commission because we believe there is great synergy between the two organizations' ability to reach out and improve the lives of residents by gathering technologists to focus on the needs of local communities.
We are fortunate to have some fantastic judges:

·         Marc Andreessen — Co-Founder and General Partner of Andreessen Horowitz
·         Charles Best — Founder and CEO of
·         Cory Booker — Mayor of Newark, New Jersey
·         Brad Feld — Managing Director of Foundry Group
·         Tom Lee — Director of Sunlight Labs
·         Jennifer Pahlka — Founder, Executive Director and Board Chair of Code for America