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Posts Tagged ‘Knight foundation’

3 Takeaways From the Knight News Challenge ‘Lessons Learned’ Report

KNClessonslearnedreportThe Knight News Challenge released a report this week on “Lessons Learned,” from past projects. The report, completed in a collaboration with Arabella Advisors, uses survey and interview data with 2010-2011 winners and is a great resource for anyone looking to submit a proposal for the next challenge — or anyone thinking of starting a news focused project in their newsroom.

Some takeaways:

1) Figure out what kind of manpower you need. You can mix full time staff with volunteers, but you definitely need a dedicated, paid, group of people to be focused on the project all of the time. Passion is always a plus. We all have a passion for journalism and innovation, so much so, that it’s kind of a boring trait to have. But nothing gets people motivated like being compensated fairly for their time. Think about this in the newsroom: you want more interactive data visualizations. You can’t just ask someone to do it in their free time if you’re serious about increasing the use of them on your site. You need to give someone more money to launch that project or hire another team member.

Read more

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Knight Foundation Funds 3 Public Media Initiatives

knightlogoThis week the Knight Foundation announced funding for three new public media projects. The projects, each receiving $250,000, are aimed at finding new revenue streams and ways to engage audiences with new types of content. The projects include:

WGBH/FRONTLINE: will pull from PBS’ documentary series and create YouTube videos to engage Millennial audiences.

WBUR: “to create a new business unit, the “BizLab”, that will explore fresh opportunities to generate new memberships and revenue sources,” with the idea of sharing their innovations with the public media system.

Public Media Company: will expand their Channel X by hiring a news director to build and diversify their library of content and outreach to journalism schools and newsrooms.

All of the projects aim to not only innovate but make public media young again. Michael Maness, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism and media innovation, says that: ”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.”

What do you think of the projects? Any good ideas for them? Let us know @10,000Words.

Knight News Challenge Winners Focus on Open, Available, and Secure Internet

knight2-262x193Today the winners of the first Knight News Challenge of 2014 were announced. This round, the theme was about strengthening and maintaining an open internet. The nineteen winners will all receive grants; nine of them receive $200-$500 thousand each, while the other ten receive $35,000, and the chance to participate in the Knight Prototype Fund, where they will develop their ideas fully, or as John Bracken, who oversees the fund for the Foundation, puts it, “get the ideas out of their heads.”

This News Challenge garnered over 700 “ideas” somehow centered on the rather general idea of “strengthening” the web. Interestingly, all of the winners have similar goals around internet privacy, security, open access, and journalism. Three of the winners center around public libraries and internet access. Bracken says a few patterns started to emerge. Read more

Knight Foundation Grants $3.89M to Build Open Source Platform for Engaging with Readers

knight2-262x193Yesterday, the Knight-Mozilla Open News initiative announced that it will lead a collaboration among Mozilla, the New York Times, and the Washington Post to create a new platform. With $3.89 million in funding, they’ll work together on a platform that will allow readers and users to upload pictures, videos, and other media for news outlets to use. From the release:

This open-source community platform will allow news organizations to connect with audiences beyond the comments section, deepening opportunities for engagement. Through the platform, readers will be able to submit pictures, links and other media; track discussions; and manage their contributions and online identities. Publishers will then be able to collect and use this content for other forms of storytelling and to spark ongoing discussions by providing readers with targeted content and notifications.

It’s sort of an unusual partnership, but it could turn out to be very fruitful. Instead of shying away from the internet, the projects seems to capture the essence of all things digital and all things journo: it’s open sourced so other outlets can use it, allows for management of data and verification, and treats readers as equal partners in news gathering. If that’s not what the digital publishing industry needs right now, I don’t know what is. The platform will also have a new sort of commenting system where users can highlighting system for journalists to better interact with readers. Instead of banning comments, they plan to make them more useful. Dan Sinker, the head of the Knight-Mozilla Open News Initiative writes on his blog:

Finally, this is a project that has the opportunity not only to improve community engagement in journalism, but to strengthen the web itself. Technologies likeBackbone.jsD3, and Django have all been forged and tested in the demanding environment of the newsroom, and then gone on to transform the way people build on the web. We don’t know that there’s a Backbone lurking inside this project, but we’re sure as hell going to find out.

Here’s to seeing what happens.

Culture and Political News — With a Hardcover

hrdcvrDanyel Wilson and Elliot Smith think, like most of us, that journalism as it’s practiced today needs fixing. So they’re focusing on the “soul” of our beloved craft and launching a magazine, in the form of a book. Yes, you read that correctly.

If you want to see it to believe it, you can donate now to their Kickstarter fund for the project, HRDCVR, which is open until June 5th.

Smith and Wilson are both journalists themselves, working at places like XXL and Vibe, respectively. So the magazine has a focus on culture and politics, with an emphasis on music, tech, and elections. Wilson “refined” the project while studying at Stanford University on a Knight Foundation fellowship. The magazine comes with an ethos of ditching the niche and the mainstream — something many publications are flocking towards — and being “multistream.”

Smith says in their release for the Kickstarter campaign that HRDCVR plans to:

make content from the revolutionary stance of everyone being equally interesting. We embrace the politics and cultures and passions of actual and projected populations in the United States. Our creative teams reflect and take inspiration from the humans and the humanity behind the new demographics

They’ve already raised about 4% of their goal, so if you want to see the highly designed (and heavy?) magazine, donate soon. You can follow the project at @HRDCVRx and fund it here.

For more on HRDCVR and to hear Wilson’s social media tips, read Hey, How’d You Become Hip-Hop’s Social Media Authority, Elliott Wilson?

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