Three news organizations to advance public media innovation with $750,000 in support from Knight Foundation

Press Release

July 10, 2014


DENVER, COLO.—July 10, 2014—The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced funding for three new projects aimed at helping public media organizations create new ways to engage with audiences, develop diverse revenue streams and discover new content.

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The projects, led by three different public media organizations, aim to encourage innovation and experimentation in nonprofit news and share lessons learned with the wider news community. Each supports a stronger future for public media.

"In order to succeed, public media organizations must respond to new audience demands and discover ways to engage a diverse group of supporters, beyond their traditional following,” said Michael Maness, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism and media innovation. "These projects will help create shareable lessons within the public media space, and help organizations explore new innovations in business development and content creation.”

The organizations receiving support include:

WGBH/FRONTLINE: ($250,000): to develop new content to engage Millennial audiences through digital innovation; specifically, FRONTLINE will produce short form videos drawn from PBS’s award-winning documentary series to be hosted on YouTube.

WBUR ($250,000): to create a new business unit, the “BizLab”, that will explore fresh opportunities to generate new memberships and revenue sources such as, spreading WBUR content to more digital platforms, finding new markets for content and developing relationships with the business, education and tech community.  WBUR will share the results and resources developed with the public radio system.

Public Media Company ($250,000): to expand Channel X, an online marketplace where public TV and radio broadcasters can license content geared toward younger audiences; a news director will be hired to work with content producers to increase Channel X’s library of content and build relationships with journalism schools, newsrooms and other sources.

Support for these projects is one part of Knight's efforts to help public and nonprofit news organizations establish long-term sustainability and advance excellence in journalism. Knight has made various other investments in this area, including the $5 million Knight Local Media Initiative, which has supported more than 30 organizations to date in developing innovations in media.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit Media contact: Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, [email protected]


FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 65 Emmy Awards and 16 Peabody Awards. FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS.

About 90.0 WBUR, Boston’s NPR News Station

Founded in 1950, WBUR began broadcasting NPR programming in 1970, offering Morning Edition and All Things Considered along with local news programming, establishing its iconic identity as a news and information station.  One of the nation’s most successful public radio stations today, WBUR produces extensive local and national content from its studios on Commonwealth Avenue at Boston University, in addition to airing content from NPR, The BBC, PRX and other independent content providers. WBUR’s over-the-air mix of news, information and entertainment programming is complemented with a robust digital presence, including HD and satellite channels; mobile applications; and live streaming, podcasts and original online content such as Cognoscenti (opinion); CommonHealth (health care) and much more at its website,  The work produced at WBUR has won countless honors, including national Peabody and Murrow awards.  Media contact: Kristen Holgerson, Director of Marketing, WBUR, 617-771-5539, [email protected].

About Public Media Company

Public Media Company (PMC) is a national nonprofit that delivers solutions to increase public media’s impact in their communities. PMC works with public media organizations and their board members/licensees to prepare for change, secure market opportunities, negotiate partnerships, and enhance programming services. Since 2001, PMC has worked with more than 275 public media organizations in 46 states on public media transactions that reach 68 million people. Media Contact: Ken Ikeda, 510-604-4858, [email protected]