Knight Blog

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

Knight School honors faculty member who helps students embrace digital and media literacy

April 12, 2012, 1:23 p.m., Posted by Susan Patterson

Knight Foundation endowed the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte to teach digital and media literacy to students and the community. Here, Susan Patterson, Charlotte program director/Charlotte, writes about a distinguished member of the university's faculty. 

A professor in the new Knight School of Communication was honored with a Distinguished Professor Award this week at the university’s annual spring convocation.

whiteDr. Zachary White joined the faculty just two years ago and says the teaching experience at Queens has been even better than he could imagine it. He is part of the Knight School team introducing digital and media literacy to freshmen students in the university’s core curriculum.

Here's what one of his students had to say about him: "If I had to explain his style, it would be personable, witty, intelligent and fun. Whenever he teaches I can tell it is with true passion....the most used sentence I have heard is he is such a cool guy...What stands out to how much he loves learning, even though he is the expert. His facial expressions when students give great answers that make him think, speak for that."

The Joseph W. Grier Jr. Distinguished Professor Award was established in honor of the former chairman of the Queens University of Charlotte board of trustees. Nominations for this award are solicited from members of the board of trustees and the alumni board, from faculty, students and staff. The recipient must have made an outstanding contribution to Queens University of Charlotte and the teaching and learning process.

Themes, surprises and outliers from 1000+ #newschallenge apps on Networks

April 12, 2012, 12:27 p.m., Posted by Ryan Jacoby

Earlier today, Knight Foundation announced the 52 projects advancing to the next round of the News Challenge on Networks. Here, consultant Ryan Jacoby, a former business designer at IDEOreflects on trends he saw while reviewing this year's entries. 

jacobyI had the distinct pleasure and daunting challenge of reviewing all 1000+ entries submitted for this year’s Knight News Challenge on “Networks.” As I reflected on what I read, my goal was to look for themes, surprises, and outliers. I also gave some thought to areas that might have been overlooked.

Without question, networks are powerful constructs. As John described, today’s networks not only allow us to reach people with information, but they also allow us to create direct connections amongst people, resources, and ideas. New connections yield new solutions. Today’s networks reduce friction and transaction costs, allowing people to coordinate and mobilize with relative ease. Distances can be overcome and boundaries can be spanned. Barriers can be avoided and modest resources can be amplified. In essence, networks allow us to accomplish more together than any small group can do on their own.

Based on your entries, here are ways (in no particular order) that you sought to leverage the power of networks:

  • Creating new “network knowledge” by amplifying weak signals, distributing analysis, creating metadata, and data mining
  • Giving a voice to underrepresented groups of people
  • Educating people; providing them with new skills, critical health information, perspective on current events, and information about their environment
  • Credentialing, authenticating, and validating network participants and information
  • Challenging conventional wisdom and overcoming unilateralism
  • Creating “safe” and “private” networks that escape scrutiny
  • Encouraging civic engagement
  • Monitoring and maintaining the quality of shared resources, especially ecological resources such as water
  • Organizing marketplaces, especially for journalism
  • Mobilizing and coordinating people for particular events, whether it be for disaster-recovery efforts or covering a timely news story

Knight News Challenge on networks - moving to the next round

April 12, 2012, 9:18 a.m., Posted by John Bracken


Photo Credit: Flickr user Thomas Hawk

We just finished selecting the 52 proposals that will go to the next round of the Knight News Challenge on networks. (You can see 49 of them listed below; two were closed entries and we don’t have permission from the applicant to share.)

Included in this 52 are the five applications that generated the most chatter on Tumblr: Amauta; Cont3nt, the Unconsumption Project, and PreScouter.

This week, 19 experts are reading and voting on those final 52 in preparation for an all-day gathering at our office on Friday. Our goal is to leave that meeting with 10-15 projects that we will explore even more deeply over the next couple of weeks. We expect to bring 4-6 of those for consideration by Knight Foundation trustees in mid-June, and publicly announce the winners at MIT on June 18.

Later today, consultant Ryan Jacoby will have a summary of the trends he saw in reviewing all of the 1,078 applications we received. I’ll just add that the review process was a difficult one - we’ve had to decline a lot of promising ideas. Each application was read three times, many were read more. However, I am excited about this final batch and confident that we’re going to end up with some exciting projects.

I want to say thanks to all who applied, as well as to the extraordinary group of people who reviewed the review of the entries with us:

Joaquin Alvarado Brian Boyer, Steve Buttry, Blaine Cook, Amanda Cox, Jake  Dobkin, Kate Gardiner, Josh Greenberg, Julie Moos, Catherine Orr, Julie  Shapiro, Hari  Sreenivasan, Kio Stark, Elena Rue, Kristen Titus, Sarah Rich, Jeremy Mims, Tim Hwang, Eric Rodenbeck; Andrew Golis, Amanda Lenhart, Ryan  Jacoby, Max Ogden and Benjamen Walker.

Here’s who is moving forward in the challenge: