Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Mississippi Today, backed by an NBC exec, aims to be the Texas Tribune of its undercovered state
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Oct. 3, 2009, 6:08 p.m.

Knight Foundation rethinks its stance on for-profit deals

Everyblock won a $1,100,000 grant from the Knight Foundation in 2007 to build its innovative platform for aggregating local news and information. Two years later, soon after the Knight grant had expired, founder Adrian Holovaty announced that MSNBC had acquired EveryBlock.

The sale raised questions about nonprofit funding of for-profit ventures. After all, Knight had essentially seeded EveryBlock’s development, while Holovaty profited from its sale. Soon after the deal was announced, Gary Kebbel, Knight’s journalism program officer, said the foundation was gratified by EveryBlock’s move to MSNBC. “We always hope that innovations Knight Foundation funds are supported by the marketplace,” he wrote.

But in a session just now at the Online News Association’s conference in San Francisco, Kebbel said that Knight is rethinking how to deal with projects funded by the foundation that are later sold. “It’s a safe bet that grant agreements are going to change in the future,” he told a large crowd gathered to hear about the Knight News Challenge. (He also described EveryBlock’s sale to MSNBC as a “multi-million-dollar deal.”)

When a Knight-funded project is acquired in the future, Kebbel said, the founders may be required to relinquish some of that money: “It might be a certain percentage, it might be a certain dollar figure, it might be the amount of the grant…What we’re thinking about is creating another nonprofit that would receive that money, and that money would be either for the future development of open-source software…or it might be for community news.”

So for-profit acquisitions would still be allowed — even encouraged — but not in the same way that EveryBlock found its way into the hands of MSNBC.

POSTED     Oct. 3, 2009, 6:08 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Mississippi Today, backed by an NBC exec, aims to be the Texas Tribune of its undercovered state
“Proportionally, we hope to do just as well.”
Saying publishers’ anti-adblock tactics are illegal, a European privacy advocate plans his attack
“The amount of ire and vitriol that has been thrown my way over the past four or five months is a very clear indication that [publishers are] absolutely terrified…If they want my advice on how to do it legally, they can pay me for it.”
Should it stay or should it go: News outlets scramble to cover Britain’s decision to exit the European Union
Online, readers stayed up for the results: Peak traffic to BBC News, for instance, was around 4 a.m. GMT, and by 11 a.m. BBC.com had received 88 million page views.
What to read next
0BuzzFeed’s Another Round podcast is partnering with a social audio app to let listeners submit their stories
The podcast is working with the app, Rolltape, to make it easier for listeners to submit their own audio.
0In 60 days, drone journalism will be legally possible in any U.S. newsroom
“There are still challenges, and we haven’t even talked about state and local laws that have been piling up while the FAA lumbered toward today. But the future of drones in journalism is much brighter today than it has ever been.”
0Honolulu Civil Beat, after six years of trying life as a for-profit, is becoming a nonprofit after all
The Pierre Omidyar-backed news site is dropping its paywall and launching a membership program as part of the change.
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Foursquare
Alaska Dispatch
INDenverTimes
SeeClickFix
Center for Public Integrity
California Watch
EveryBlock
GateHouse Media
Gawker Media
Hearst
El País
Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism