Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Knight Foundation Funds Future of Journalism

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today released the winners of nine projects that will use crowdsourcing, mobile technology and digital investigative journalism to bring news and information to communities in new ways in the 2009 Knight News Challenge. I am heartened by this news, because projects like these are going to help transform the future of journalism.

The largest grant recipient was Document Cloud, for $719,500, according to the Knight press release. The team, made up of the
New York Times and ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative newsroom, will create an easily searchable, free, public online database of public records.

Other winning ideas included:
  • Helping citizens around the world use cell phones to report and distribute news, using the wisdom of the crowd to accelerate investigative reporting and enhance breaking news reports.
  • Developing a mobile media toolkit where media organizations and citizen journalists worldwide can easily download mobile applications to create and broadcast local news;
  • Launching a digital space where the public can report errors in media reports and track the ensuing dialogue and possible results.
The Knight Foundation has been a leader in getting journalists trained in the latest techniques of new and digital media. The next round of grants will be available for submission on Sept. 1. With so many NABJ members out of work, the board should consider developing a project and applying for a grant. The project could help in several ways: one, putting members to work; two, creating something that could benefit all of journalism; and three, raise NABJ's profile further as an organization that can help shape the future direction of journalism.

I have been passionate -- and vocal -- about making sure journalists are prepared for the new world order, and when I am elected Region II Director of the NABJ board, I will encourage members to look at these and other opportunities to keep us all employed.

Voting is now open for the 2009-2011 board of directors, and I hope you will read the campaign materials of all the candidates and support those who are serious about making sure members have the skills they need to survive in an industry that has become hypercompetitive. You can see who I've endorsed, here.

The Region II candidates webinar will be held Wednesday, June 24 from 1:00-2:00. Click here to register, and I look forward to your questions and comments.

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