Knight Blog

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

Research show how media partnerships can help fill news gap

March 6, 2012, 1:29 p.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller

At an event last year at Columbia University, Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibargüen says he hopes the new FCC report on community information needs engenders a vigorous debate, and action.

A new report explores the ways that non-profit and commercial media organizations can partner to strengthen investigative reporting, reach a broader audience and increase their impact.

From Outsourcing to Innovation” gives practical tips for creating an effective partnership, which it says can ultimately help the nonprofit’s bottom line. Produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism’s Investigative Reporting Program, the report also explores the role of the government and technology sectors in supporting the media hybrids.

The study is one of 11 funded by Knight and the Carnegie Corporation of New York in an effort to take action on the Federal Communications Commission’s landmark report, “Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age.”

Knight and Carnegie dedicated more than $800,000 to help implement the report’s recommendations, including this series and other projects that examine how tax law is affecting nonprofit media, how to develop reliable metrics on media philanthropy, and more.


Championing urban innovation in Detroit

March 6, 2012, 9:57 a.m., Posted by Rishi Jaitly


There's something in the air in Detroit. 

It seems all of us, especially young Millennials, are leading an initiative, a project or a company that aspires to strengthen our city. There are countless examples, including many anchored in Knight grants, that showcase our city's "do-er" spirit. This spirit of urban innovation is advancing economic opportunity, quality of life and civic engagement across Detroit.

But real data also hints that a movement is underway. Between 2000 and 2010, there was a 59% increase in the population of young adults living downtown. A recent Knight-Gallup study discovered a striking level of community "attachment" among young Detroiters. Quicken Loans Founder Dan Gilbert, an advocate of offering young innovators the spaces they need to thrive, is now our city's third-largest landlord. And last summer, 1,065 black males shared their own stories of civic engagement through BME Detroit.

What's next? 

While many observers have begun to take note and ponder whether Detroit is the "Silicon Valley of Social Entrepreneurship," what are practical things we should do on the ground to accelerate this movement?

Social game demonstrates importance of youth voices in community issues

March 5, 2012, 3:54 p.m., Posted by Jessica Goldfin

Any parent of tweens and teens knows it’s tough to talk with them about important issues. This makes one of the results of the Knight-funded real-world social game, Battlestorm, even more surprising. The game results showcase the power of youth as catalysts for conversations about hurricane preparedness among families, friends and communities along the Gulf Coast, which is still struggling to heal from past disasters.

A combination of dodgeball and freeze tag, Battlestorm was played by members of the Boys and Girls Clubs in communities throughout the region. The game used preparedness-related terms, symbols and game mechanics to promote the importance of hurricane preparedness through activities focused on youth as leaders. For example, in the course of the game, the “Town” team transports resources (balls) from one side of the court to the other while “The Storm” team plays and “shelter” power tokens offer players safe haven on the court from Hurricane players.

An evaluation of the game found that as a result of being involved with Battlestorm, players started conversations with parents and friends about hurricanes. 

  • 68% of Battlestorm players started/continued talking with parents about the topic vs. 38% in a control group.
  • One third of Battelstorm players’ parents reported learning something new about hurricane preparedness from their teen.
  • By the end of the game, 64% of Battlestorm players had spoken with friends about hurricanes, and 40% of players spoke with friends about the elements of a hurricane prep kit.

For example, on the way home from an after-school program, a girl from the East Biloxi Unit told her father that she was playing a game about hurricanes called “Battlestorm.” This reminded her father that the family’s flood insurance needed to be updated.