Articles by Jennifer Preston

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    A shadow on freedom of information

    March 12, 2017 by Jennifer Preston

    A shadow on freedom of information

    As Sunshine Week kicks off today, reminding us that we the people have the right to access public information, a new report sponsored by Knight Foundation warns that obtaining government records has become more difficult in the last four years at both the state and national level.

    In “Forecasting Freedom of Information,” the work of University of Arizona associate professor of journalism David Cuillier, a survey of 300 people–journalists, advocates, record custodians, technology companies, scholars and freedom of information experts–revealed lengthy delays, ignored requests, excessive fees and, in many cases, an unwillingness to consider producing government records because of outmoded technology. 

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    Culture Change: How Knight is helping accelerate digital transformation in news organizations

    February 17, 2017 by Jennifer Preston

    Culture Change: How Knight is helping accelerate digital transformation in news organizations

    Photo by Steve Bowbrick on Flickr.

    Shortly after arriving at Knight Foundation in the fall of 2014, I visited daily news organizations in cities across the country to better understand how we might better support local journalism and the information needs of communities, the heart of our work in the Journalism program.

    Most newsrooms had not yet shifted their focus to digital from print, but I didn’t find resistance to change. Instead, I met one newsroom editor after another clamoring for guidance to help transform their newsroom’s culture and practices.

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    Knight News Match helps generate more than $2.4 million to advance journalism in the public interest

    January 23, 2017 by Jennifer Preston

    Knight News Match helps generate more than $2.4 million to advance journalism in the public interest

    Photo by Jon S on Flickr.

    In another sign the public will support quality journalism, nonprofit news organizations raised more than $1.2 million in just a few weeks with Knight Foundation’s News Match program

    Now, Knight will double the donations made to the 57 participating nonprofit news outlets. That will put at least $2.4 million more into strengthening local coverage, beat reporting and investigative reporting around the country in 2017.

    We launched the Knight News Match on Dec. 19 to help nonprofit news organizations use their end-of-the-year fundraising to leverage public concern over fake news drowning out real news. By all accounts, it was an enormously useful fundraising lever for organizations, big and small, from ProPublica to the Voice of San Diego, an early pioneer in local online news.

    We could not be more thrilled. This project is at the heart of Knight Foundation’s commitment to foster informed and engaged communities.

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    New Facebook Journalism Project will tap Knight’s network of local news organizations

    January 11, 2017 by Jennifer Preston

    New Facebook Journalism Project will tap Knight’s network of local news organizations

    Photo by M M on Flickr.

    As the first social media editor at The New York Times in 2009, I had access to top-tier talent at Facebook to help experiment with this new platform to find and build audience for Times coverage all over the world. It worked.

    Other large news organizations and famous journalists that could scale national and international attention did too. After joining Knight Foundation in 2014, I learned that was not the case for most major metropolitan daily newsrooms, local television stations and even the most sophisticated local online news sites. Local news didn’t get the same attention on the platform. Local news did not scale. 

    Now, local news has a better chance to find its way more effectively into the Facebook News Feeds for millions of people across the country, people who are seeking quality, trusted news from their local journalism organizations.

    That’s why we’re supporting the new Facebook Journalism Project announced today that will help bring a new emphasis to local journalism as part of its efforts. Our support to Facebook is not financial; we will help connect Facebook’s engineers, product developers and news partnerships team with our extensive network of local news leaders and organizations. The goal is to help them use this extraordinarily powerful platform to inform and engage people in cities and towns, big and small.

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    How you can advance quality journalism by supporting the Knight News Match

    December 19, 2016 by Jennifer Preston

    How you can advance quality journalism by supporting the Knight News Match

    Photo by Birger Hoppe on Flickr.

    Newspaper publishers John S. and James L. Knight believed that informed and engaged communities are essential to a healthy democracy. Knight Foundation has lived that belief for decades as a leading supporter of journalism. As the industry has evolved, so has our approach, and we’ve expanded our support over the last 10 years to include the work of nonprofit news organizations emerging amid the disruption of the digital age.

    As the year draws to a close and many organizations complete fundraising drives, we want to help even more. That’s why we’re launching the Knight News Match. Through Jan. 19, 2017, we will match donations from individual donors to a group of 57 nonprofit news organizations, up to a total of $1.5 million. Individual organizations will receive up to $25,000.

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    How the new ownership model for Philadelphia newspapers can help create a better future for journalism

    January 14, 2016 by Jennifer Preston

    How the new ownership model for Philadelphia newspapers can help create a better future for journalism

    Above: Philadelphia by Morgan Burke on Flickr.

    When H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest donated The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com to a nonprofit media institute under the umbrella of The Philadelphia Foundation, it raised the question: Is this a model for the future of news organizations, or an esoteric outlier?

    The answer is “yes.” Both. As Clay Shirky predicted in 2009: “For the next few decades, journalism will be made up of overlapping special cases … No one experiment is going to replace what we are now losing with the demise of news on paper, but over time, the collection of new experiments that do work might give us the journalism we need.”

    Knight Foundation is trying to bring a better future for journalism faster by investing in experiments, supporting innovation and sharing lessons learned across news and information projects, from how nonprofit news sites can be sustainable to how traditional newsrooms can leverage technology to go faster and deeper and connect with their readers on mobile and social platforms, as well as print.

    That’s why we, as well as the numerous other foundations that fund media, will be closely watching ventures such as the one in Philadelphia, a complex new approach to foundation support for journalism intended to ensure the long-term viability of the city’s core news organizations. We are already convinced of the role community foundations can play in informing and engaging communities; we partnered with more than 100 to support local information projects between 2008 and 2013.

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    Knight gathers journalists, technologists and filmmakers at SXSW to explore trends and opportunities in virtual reality

    March 17, 2016 by Jennifer Preston

    Knight gathers journalists, technologists and filmmakers at SXSW to explore trends and opportunities in virtual reality

    Above: Virtual Reality Journalism discussion at SXSW in Austin. Credit Jesse J. Loesch.

    PBS Frontline Executive Producer Raney Aronson Rath (holding mic) discusses VR Journalism at SXSW. Also, left to right, Randal Kleiser; Mitch Gelman, USA TODAY NETWORK (in gray); Molly Swenson, RYOT (with hat); Jamie Pallot, Emblematic Group (in jeans). Photo by Jesse J. Loesch

    What is the best way for journalists to immerse audiences in virtual reality? How do they preserve a narrative thread into the scenes they are creating? Can the use of virtual reality provide misleading experiences?

    These were just a few of the questions explored during a convening of more than 50 journalists, technologists and filmmakers for a virtual reality and journalism meetup at SXSW Interactive on Sunday sponsored by Knight Foundation and StoryNEXT.

    As immersive storytelling develops, Knight is gathering research and best practices from the field, while bringing leaders together to share their experiences and explore trends.

    The latest findings show that journalism could be a key factor in the evolving medium’s success, according to a report from Knight and USA TODAY NETWORK, titled “Viewing the Future? Virtual Reality in Journalism” that was released during Sunday’s event. 

    Companies have invested billions of dollars in the upcoming release of headsets and other ways that will make virtual reality experiences more widely accessible to consumers. News organizations in the vanguard of the trend realize that the development of high-quality journalism may be essential in determining the medium’s value to everyday users and its ultimate success.