Knight Blog

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

Making civic health data useful to help improve communities

April 3, 2012, 12:46 p.m., Posted by David Smith

David B. Smith, executive director of the National Conference on Citizenship, writes about the launch of its Civic Data Challenge today in San Francisco, which is supported by Knight Foundation. 


Today, the National Conference on Citizenship is excited to launch the Civic Data Challenge. The challenge turns the raw data of “civic health" into beautiful, useful applications and visualizations, enabling communities to be better understood and made to thrive.

We believes that data is essential to understanding how our communities work and uncovering ways to motivate greater participation. Together with our partners, we have collected and used civic health data for years. This year, we’re thrilled to join forces with Knight Foundation to explore how community engagement and attachment help build thriving communities.

We are also thrilled to have an opportunity to make this trove of community insight even more valuable and accessible to decision makers and the public. The Civic Data Challenge will bring new eyes, new minds, new findings, and new skill sets to the field of civic health.

How: Challenge participants will be provided civic health data, as well as data on health, safety, education, and the economy.  Participants will analyze the data, identify connections and correlations, and create visual representations and interactive products to showcase their findings. These may include infographics, apps, animations, videos, or other innovations.

New app helps people decide where they want to live

April 3, 2012, 12:20 p.m., Posted by Nicko Margolies

Knight Foundation has funded the Sunlight Foundation for a series of national data aps that deliver data to the public. Here, Nicko Margolies, communications coordinator, Sunlight Foundation, blogs about the launch of its newest app, Upwardly Mobile. The following is crossposted from Sunlight's blog. Photo Credit: Flickr user Joe Nicora.

We're excited to announce Upwardly Mobile, Sunlight's new webapp funded by the Knight Foundation that allows you to research where in the country you could enjoy financial security and an improved quality of life. Upwardly Mobile is an easy-to-use relocation research tool backed by powerful economic data, allowing granular comparisons without digging through arcane government reports for each indicator. We sifted through all this data so you don't have to, and this information is now presented seamlessly on any mobile or tablet platform.

Just enter your zipcode, career information and cost-of-living importance and then Upwardly Mobile gets to work generating a list of ideal places for you to move. Alternatively, you can browse individual cities to compare them to national averages. Through charts and graphs, you can explore how metropolitan areas of similar size compare to where you live now, including:

·       Occupation: Both the average salary for the selected occupation over time and income data for the entire metropolitan area.

·       Housing costs: Rents, as well as maintenance services and goods such as furniture and appliances.

·       Cost of living: Apparel, education, food and childcare.

·       Quality of life costs: Recreation, transportation and health care.

Helping non-profit news sites better understand IRS tax-exemption standards

April 3, 2012, 11:06 a.m., Posted by Elizabeth R. Miller


Often before non-profit news sites start their path to sustainability, they depend on IRS determination letter to confirm their tax-exemption status. 

A new guide is intended to help journalism and non-profit news orgs better understand the IRS’ standards when it comes to determining whether they are eligible for tax-exemption status.

With more journalism-oriented non-profit sites applying for tax-exempt status, there has been confusion as to how the IRS reviews these applications and makes decisions. Tax-exempt status is often critical to the start-up capacity and long-term sustainability of many of these sites.

The guide to the Internet Revenue Decision-Making Process seeks to simplify the process and answer questions that journalism and publishing non-profit organizations may have.

The Digital Media Law Project released it as an interactive Internet-based resource as well as a PDF.