Above: Montclair’s Community Journalism Executive Training Session. Photo credit: Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.
Seven years ago, as the disruption in the media industry became increasingly apparent, Knight Foundation launched its Media Learning Seminar for community and place-based foundations. The annual gathering quickly became a way for funders to learn the latest trends in news and information – and to find and fund solutions to the growing gaps in community news and information.RELATED LINKS
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“Today, there are hundreds of community and place-based foundations thinking about the information needs of their communities like never before – and not just thinking, but acting to meet those needs in ways through programs that are innovative, creative and tailored to the specific needs of their constituencies,” Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen said today, as he officially opened the 2014 seminar.
With so many community information experiments launched, the foundation has looked for ways to both cement the movement, and continue advancing the field.
Ibargüen spoke of two ways the foundation will do that going forward.
The first centers on disseminating lessons. Knight has built a new website that spotlights much of its research, case studies and insights on how to launch and run a community news and information project. You can find it at infoneeds.org/resources.
Second, Ibargüen said that Knight believes that the best way to advance the field is to tighten its focus, rather than spread challenge grants broadly. So the foundation plans to go deeper with a smaller number of potentially higher-impact projects.
Ibargüen announced grants to four community and place-based foundations, investments that will help the projects scale and ultimately spread the insights and learnings to the broader field.
- The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation as it continues its important work on the news ecosystem in New Jersey. This investment will help local news startups experiment with revenue models to make them more sustainable in the long term ($2,000,000).
- The Chicago Community Trust as it builds on its successful Smart Chicago Project, which is taking open government resources directly into neighborhoods through a variety of civic-minded apps ($500,000).
- The Silicon Valley Community Foundation for a project aimed at helping ethnic and public media better inform the citizenry of changes to state education standards ($500,000).
- The Incourage Community Foundation of Wisconsin as it works on a number of fronts, including supporting hyperlocal news outlets, to leverage information to create a more active and engaged citizenry ($250,000).
We will explore these projects in depth in the coming weeks on KnightBlog. We hope you’ll continue to check back, and that the new community information resources site helps funders and other organizations with their projects.
Marika Lynch, consultant at Knight Foundation