Knight News Innovation Lab

Northwestern University

Date Awarded
Grant Period
12/13/10 to 02/28/15
Focus Areas
Journalism, Media Innovation

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Chapel at NU

To create the Knight News Innovation Lab at Northwestern University to accelerate media innovation in the Chicago area

Knight Lab is a team of technologists, journalists, designers and educators working to advance news media innovation through exploration and experimentation. Straddling the sciences and the humanities, we agree that there has never been a more exciting time to be working at the intersection of media and technology. Every bit of what it means to be a journalist is being reassessed, redefined. While traditional news outlets are cutting back, many leading companies, digital-first organizations and startups are inventing the future of journalism. As an industry, we are witnessing a rebirth. As the Knight Lab, we are participating in a revolution.

The Lab develops prototypes, projects and services that help make information meaningful, promoting quality journalism, storytelling and content on the internet. Lab projects arise in response to ideas from news consumers, students, and faculty as well as in collaboration with news publishers of all sizes. As our technology becomes more realized, we work with publishers to install prototypes, gather feedback and iterate on the ideas that have momentum. We strive to make a difference no matter the project’s scale.

Located just outside Chicago, Northwestern University Knight Lab is a joint initiative of Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. The Lab was launched and is sustained by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with additional support from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

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Project Team

Miranda Mulligan


Miranda Mulligan: Journalist, designer, strategist, speaker and, in general, an Internaut! Now running Northwestern University Knight Lab. Previously she was the design director for digital at The Boston Globe where she led the responsive web design approach for Mulligan has also worked for The Virginian-Pilot and Ocean Drive Magazine. She was an intern with The Sun-Sentinel and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and has volunteered her time with the Online News Association, Virginia Press Association, the National Press Photographers Association, the Society for News Design and local hacks/hackers chapters.

Joe Germuska is chief nerd at Northwestern University Knight Lab running the Lab's software development. Before, Germuska was on the Chicago Tribune News Apps team. He co-founded OpenGov Chicago(-land), and has been hosting a weekly radio show on WNUR-FM Conference of the Birds for twenty years. Germuska is a 2012 Knight News Challenge grantee for a project that furthers the Investigative Reporters and Editors census project funded with a $450,000 grant. During the previous year, he was a team member for the 2011 Knight News Challenge award to the PANDA project.

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