“Trust in media at all-time lows” is a headline we have, unfortunately, become accustomed to. As a foundation that cares about creating more informed and engaged communities, it’s also unacceptable. So earlier this year, Knight Foundation, as part of a larger initiative, partnered with Gallup to look at Americans’ changing opinions of the Fourth Estate.

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  • Article

    Should platforms be regulated? A new survey says yes.

    August 15, 2018 by Sam Gill

    Should platforms be regulated? A new survey says yes.

    In the two years since the 2016 election, the role major social media and technology companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter play in enabling (or corroding) an informed society has become an issue of increasing concern.

    It is well known at this stage that these platforms are a key destination for news. They regularly make decisions about who gets to provide information and who gets to see it. But as misinformation infects newsfeeds, and information echo chambers become the norm, should there be rules that govern their role as news editors?

    A new survey says yes — almost eight in 10 Americans agree that these companies should be subject to the same rules and regulations as newspapers and television networks that are responsible for the content they publish. The survey is part of a series of reports released by Knight Foundation and Gallup over the course of the year exploring American perceptions of trust, media and democracy.

  • Article

    Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative announces $750,000 challenge on news and information quality

    August 6, 2018 by Tim Hwang and Paul Cheung

    Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative announces $750,000 challenge  on news and information quality

    We’re excited to announce that next month, we will launch an open call for ideas aimed at shaping the influence artificial intelligence (AI) has on the field of news and information. The challenge asks an overarching question: How might we ensure that the use of artificial intelligence in the news ecosystem be done ethically and in the public interest?

  • Article

    How can democracy thrive in the digital age?

    July 30, 2018 by Sam Gill

    How can democracy thrive in the digital age?

    Photo by ydant on Flickr.

    In the wake of revelations that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica improperly used Facebook data to influence the 2016 election, scrutiny of the social media giant continues. In the past month, Facebook has been hit with information requests from an alphabet soup of federal agencies ­— the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

    But the issue is about more than Facebook and has implications beyond breaches and rights to privacy. We’re experiencing a sea change in our relationship to a relatively small set of companies. Just a few brands — Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon — occupy many of our waking hours.

    They are where most of us entertain ourselves. They are where we meet and converse with friends. They are how many of us shop. They are where political debate is happening. The reality is that it’s harder and harder to transact our social, commercial and political lives in any kind of “offline” fashion.

    This matters for our democracy. The way we inform ourselves about public affairs has moved from the morning paper and evening news to a constant stream of mobile alerts. Political debates have shifted from in-person affairs to pseudonymous shouting matches. Our expectations for government and other institutions have shifted to an internet standard — any service that doesn’t deliver with Amazon Prime or Netflix levels of instantaneity is frustrating and obsolete.

  • Article

    Reinventing a 97-year-old science news organization

    July 11, 2018 by Nancy Shute

    Reinventing a 97-year-old science news organization

    Photo by Society for Science & the Public.

    Four years ago, Science News was on the ropes. It was founded by newspaper magnate E.W. Scripps in 1921 to provide accurate news of science, technology and medicine to the general public. But over the past decade, Science News had lost millions of dollars. Print circulation was shrinking, ad sales were dismal, and the organization’s digital operations were starved for resources despite growing audiences.

  • Article

    Who is watching local TV news? New research provides some surprises

    May 23, 2018 by Karen Rundlet

    Who is watching local TV news? New research provides some surprises

    As Knight Foundation continues to study television news, its role in informing communities, and possibilities for the future, we are also examining data around television audiences. 

    While most people in the U.S. still get their news from TV, the picture is not all rosy. New Knight research published today shows that the TV audience is largely 55+ years, and shrinking, albeit slowly, as more Americans get their news from social media and smartphones. In 2017, the Pew Research Center reported digital news had come even closer to eclipsing TV’s dominance as a news provider. The number of Americans who now get their news online stands at 43 percent, which is just 7 percentage points away from the half of Americans who get their news from broadcast television.

  • Article

    Tune in Monday to a conversation on Twitter, diverse communities and trust in news

    March 21, 2018 by Anusha Alikhan

    Tune in Monday to a conversation on Twitter, diverse communities and trust in news

    A recent Knight Foundation report, produced in collaboration with digital studio Postlight, reveals how subcultures on social media, specifically Black Twitter, Feminist Twitter and Asian-American Twitter, interact with reporters and the news. On March 26, Knight and Postlight will host an event to draw on the themes in the report.

  • Article

    Free speech on campus: New perspectives emerge from Gallup/Knight student survey

    March 12, 2018 by Sam Gill

    Free speech on campus: New perspectives emerge from Gallup/Knight student survey

    What’s clear to us is that the context cannot be taken for granted.Students at America’s colleges and universities see freedom of expression as at least in part contingent on their broader views and experience of the world.

  • Article

    Where you can meet Knight at NICAR 2018

    March 8, 2018 by Nick Swyter

    Where you can meet Knight at NICAR 2018

    Data analysis map, photo courtesy of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE-NICAR).

    The National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting’s (NICAR) annual conference devoted to data journalism is running this week from March 8 to 11 in Chicago.

  • Article

    Trust in news, misinformation and new media models top agenda at Knight Media Forum

    February 27, 2018 by Marika Lynch

    Trust in news, misinformation and new media models top agenda at Knight Media Forum

    Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO O'Reilly Media, and Emmett Carson, founding CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation onstage at the Knight Media Forum 2018. Photo: Angel Valentin

    As far as trust in the media is concerned, the 21st century is off to a bumpy start. As bots proliferate, attacks on a free press continue and the average person finds it difficult to separate fact from fiction, trust in American news sources is sinking to new lows. Just how the media can regain trust was at the heart of the conversation at the Knight Media Forum, a gathering of leaders in philanthropy, media and technology working to strengthen local news and communities.

  • Article

    Toward advancing diversity in journalism

    February 27, 2018 by LaSharah Bunting

    Toward advancing diversity in journalism

    LaSharah Bunting is Knight Foundation director for journalism. 

  • Article

    New report: How Black Twitter and other online communities interact with the media

    February 27, 2018 by Olivier Kamanda

    New report: How Black Twitter and other online communities interact with the media

    Olivier Kamanda is Knight Foundation director for learning and impact. 

  • Article

    This newsroom used On the Table as an experiment in audience engagement

    February 26, 2018 by Sandra Shea

    This newsroom used On the Table as an experiment in audience engagement

    Sandra Shea is the managing editor, Opinion, for the Philadelphia Media Network. Below, she writes about the Philadelphia Media Network's experience with On the Table in 2017. Today, Knight Foundation is announcing a $2 million re-investment in the On the Table initiative to connect neighbors over mealtime conversations in cities.

  • Article

    Two new reports provide lessons for media funders

    February 15, 2018 by Jessica Clark and Sarah Lutman

    Two new reports provide lessons for media funders

    Sarah Lutman is a consultant for the Wyncote Foundation and Jessica Clark is research director for Media Impact Funders. Below they discuss how foundations that are new to funding journalism can get a better handle on trends and practices in the field, based on two new reports produced with support from the Wyncote Foundation.

  • Article

    At Knight Media Forum, the focus is strengthening local news and communities

    February 15, 2018 by Marika Lynch

    At Knight Media Forum, the focus is strengthening local news and communities

    At a time when trust in media, and institutions in general, is dangerously low, how can news organizations work to rebuild it? What effect does the trend have on people’s engagement in solving local issues? 

    Starting Tuesday morning Feb. 20, the Knight Media Forum will tackle these topics and more, as it gathers leaders in philanthropy, media and technology to look at ways to strengthen both local news and communities. The event will be streamed online, and features a range of speakers including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who recently piloted the news service WikiTribune, and former CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer, who will address how our society can navigate the information overload that surrounds us.

  • Article

    What about television news?

    February 8, 2018 by Karen Rundlet

    What about television news?

    Photo by RobinJP on Flickr.

    Today, Knight Foundation is announcing $2.6 million in support to five projects to advance innovation and journalism excellence in local television newsrooms.