Knight Blog

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

Knight honored for strengthening community in Charlotte

Nov. 8, 2012, 11:16 a.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation was recently honored  by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Charlotte Chapter as the Outstanding Philanthropic Organization in the city.

For the last 20 years on National Philanthropy Day, the association has recognized individuals and organizations for their commitment to the sector. More than 500 attended this year’s awards luncheon.

Susan Patterson, program director/Charlotte at Knight Foundation, accepted the award. “I was honored to represent Knight at this event,” she said, “but as I told our many nonprofit partners in the room, we wanted to use this opportunity to salute them and all that they do to make our community such a wonderful place to live, work and play.”

Knight has invested more than $75 million in the Charlotte community since making its first grant in 1969. 

For the last 20 years on National Philanthropy Day, the association has recognized individuals and organizations for their commitment to the sector. More than 500 attended this year’s awards luncheon.

Susan Patterson, program director/Charlotte at Knight Foundation, accepted the award. “I was honored to represent Knight at this event,” she said, “but as I told our many nonprofit partners in the room, we wanted to use this opportunity to salute them and all that they do to make our community such a wonderful place to live, work and play.”

Knight has invested more than $75 million in the Charlotte community since making its first grant in 1969.

The foundation was nominated by one of its grantees, the Community School of the Arts. Former winners selected the nine awardees.

First Amendment education surveys keep challenging us to try new things

Nov. 8, 2012, 9:02 a.m., Posted by Eric Newton

firstamendment

We’ve done the largest string of studies about First Amendment education in America’s high schools, so what are we learning? This essay sketches out what our “Future of the First Amendment” surveys have been saying in 200420062007 and 2011. My bottom line: I had seen First Amendment education as a school issue; now, I think young people may be able to learn about the nation’s five fundamental freedoms outside the classroom as easily as they do inside. Maybe even easier.

Why did we start this research? Among adults, support for the First Amendment dropped frighteningly after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. In 2002, the First Amendment Center’s annual “State of the First Amendment” survey reported that 49 percent of Americans said they thought the First Amendment went too far in the rights it guarantees. Suddenly, America’s fundamental freedoms – long championed by the family that created Knight Foundation -- seemed to be debatable. At the time, Knight Foundation’s journalism program had a large high school journalism initiative. So we called the survey group used by the First Amendment Center. We proposed a new version of their survey for America’s high school students, teachers and administrators.

The core of the Future of the First Amendment survey covered the basics. What do school folk and their students know about the amendment? Do they care about the 45 words that give Americans the right to say nearly all the other words? Each survey of our four surveys asked the core questions on freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly and petition. Yet we also added new questions to help us probe why students believe the way they do.

2004: More than 100,000 students, teachers and administrators took the first Future of the First Amendment survey. It revealed a surprising lack of First Amendment understanding and appreciation in high schools. Three-fourths of the students said they either didn’t know much or care much about the First Amendment. This news made national headlines. Liberals and conservatives alike agreed something should be done.

NJ News Commons helps residents vote, track results in wake of Hurricane Sandy

Nov. 7, 2012, 10:57 a.m., Posted by Lisa Williams

sandy

Knight currently supports the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to help develop a collaborative of news organizations and journalists in New Jersey. Below, Lisa Williams writes about how the project is getting an early test of its new model. The following is cross-posted from the Knight Digital Media Center's blog.

Hurricane Sandy created havoc in many seaside communities in New Jersey, and also caused damage with downed trees, powerlines and flooding in inland communities.   

The New Jersey News Commons, a new project to pump up the amount of civic news and information for New Jersey residents, got an early test of their collaborative model with Sandy. The project, which was funded by the Knight Community Information Challenge and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, is a collaborative of several different newsrooms responding to a singular problem for the Jersey news ecosystem: the dominance of the New York and Philadelphia news markets, which often squeezes out news by and for New Jersey residents.  New Jersey's public television affiliate, NJN, closed up shop and went off the air in 2011, leaving a big hole in public media in the Garden State.  A new public television network, NJTV, was launched in July of 2011 -- but under the operation of WNET, New York's public television operation. 

The collaborative includes a mix of traditional and online newsrooms -- including NJ SpotlightWHYY NewsworksNew Jersey Public RadioWBGOPatchBaristanetMyVeronaNJElizabeth Inside Out andHoboken Mile Square View.

The demand for Jersey-specific news has been high -- in its first week alone, NJNewsCommons.org netted 200,000 page views.