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Knight Foundation Pledges $200K To Huffington Post Investigative Fund

knightfond.jpgLooking to the New Year, we’re sure that non-profit journalism is going to play a big role in the world of media and reporting.

The Huffington Post
‘s non-profit arm, The Huffington Post Investigative Fund, came on to the scene this year. But today, the fund got an injection of cash from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, an organization known to support such non-profit groups, including recently launched online pub The Texas Tribune.

hpif.jpgThe Knight Foundation has contributed $200,000 the HuffPost Fund, becoming one of its key donors along with the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, Atlantic Philanthropies, the Markle Foundation and HuffPost itself.

Since the announcement of its creation earlier this year, the Washington, D.C.-based HuffPost Investigative Fund has hired 11 full-time staffers, including executive director Nick Penniman, former publisher of Washington Monthly, and former Washington Post editor Lawrence Roberts, who is serving as the fund’s executive editor. HuffPost’s editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington, is leading the non-profit’s board. Said Huffington:

“Knight’s grant is an important milestone in the young history of The Huffington Post Investigative Fund. We’re incredibly grateful to Alberto Ibargüen and Eric Newton of Knight Foundation for their passion for championing innovative solutions in the face of the crisis facing investigative journalism. Everyone who understands the vital role good journalism plays in our democracy is looking for ways to preserve and strengthen it during this time of great transition for the media, and Knight is playing a lead role in this effort.”

Full release after the jump

Previously: HuffPo Investigative Fund Gets Ready For Action


Knight Foundation to Support The Huffington Post Investigative Fund

Washington, DC (Dec. 22) — As part of its ongoing support for investigative journalism, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announces a grant of $200,000 to The Huffington Post Investigative Fund. In making the contribution, the Knight Foundation joins the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, Atlantic Philanthropies, the Markle Foundation and The Huffington Post as key supporters of the venture.

“The Huffington Post Investigative Fund is experimenting with a new way of providing important journalism, functioning as a non-profit that draws audience from a popular for-profit,” said Eric Newton, vice president of Knight Foundation’s journalism program. “It’s a worthy test of a new idea, and since we really don’t know how investigative reporting is best supported in the future, an interesting experiment.”

Based in Washington, D.C., The Huffington Post Investigative Fund has a full-time staff of 11 and a budget of $2 million. It is headed by executive director Nick Penniman, formerly the publisher of the Washington Monthly, and executive editor Lawrence Roberts, formerly the investigations editor of the Washington Post. Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, chairs the nonprofit’s board. Collectively, its staff members have won more than four dozen major journalism awards, including multiple Pulitzer Prizes.

“We’re thrilled and honored to receive Knight’s backing,” said Penniman. “In these times of great upheaval for the news industry, Knight Foundation is helping us blaze a new trail for how you finance, create and distribute investigative journalism.

Said Arianna Huffington: “Knight’s grant is an important milestone in the young history of The Huffington Post Investigative Fund. We’re incredibly grateful to Alberto Ibargüen and Eric Newton of Knight Foundation for their passion for championing innovative solutions in the face of the crisis facing investigative journalism. Everyone who understands the vital role good journalism plays in our democracy is looking for ways to preserve and strengthen it during this time of great transition for the media, and Knight is playing a lead role in this effort.”

“The Huffington Post is an ideal partner for Knight Foundation. They are entrepreneurial and care passionately about meeting the information needs of communities,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation. “As a media leader, few are as innovative as Arianna Huffington. She believes in freedom and practices it. She believes in journalism and has hired outstanding investigative reporters and editors. And she believes in the power of technology to change the world for the better.”

“It’s also extremely important to us to partner with Atlantic Philanthropies in supporting The Huffington Post, as it was to partner with the Houston Endowment on the Texas Tribune or the San Diego Community Foundation in supporting the Voice of San Diego,” added Ibargüen. “These collaborations are essential as we look for the next sustainable model for the delivery of news people need.”

The Fund’s mission is to be an online innovator of investigative reporting by merging the classic watchdog function and traditional values of the press with the best tools of new media. Since its operations began in the early Fall, it has produced more than 50 stories, including 20 videos. Highlights include an investigation of a top subprime lender showing how fraud was at the heart of the housing boom and bust; a three-part expose of how the credit rating companies have fended off regulation from Congress and the SEC; and a project shedding light on inequities in denials of health insurance claims, reported with help from citizen journalists. The Fund has also completed multiple citizen journalism and “distributed research” projects and collaborated with other nonprofits on various stories, including the Center for Public Integrity, ProPublica and the Investigative Reporting Workshop.

Through open-source publishing, any content the Investigative Fund produces is free for anyone to publish at the same time that it’s made available to The Huffington Post. The relationship helps the nonprofit distribute its reporting to a larger audience than it is capable of attracting on its own. In addition to The Huffington Post, more than 40 other outlets have republished the Fund’s pieces.

“We’ve built a first-rate staff of veteran investigative reporters and up-and-coming journalists,” said Roberts. “Having Knight’s support is an exciting endorsement of our efforts so far and of our potential.”

Knight Foundation’s $15 million Investigative Reporting Initiative was announced this year at the annual convention of the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization, the nation’s leading group of investigative journalists. Grantees under the initiative include News21, the Center for Investigative Reporting, ProPublica, the Center for Public Integrity and the Texas Tribune.

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