Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Not a revolution (yet): Data journalism hasn’t changed that much in 4 years, a new paper finds
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 45,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Not a revolution (yet): Data journalism hasn’t changed that much in 4 years, a new paper finds
“Our findings challenge the widespread notion that [data-driven journalism] ‘revolutionizes’ journalism.”
One of India’s most famous newspapermen is turning to digital with a political journalism platform
Shekhar Gupta said he named his new venture The Print to signal to readers that its standards would be high: “We feel there is a belief that once you go digital, the bar is lowered.”
The New York Times released new staff social media guidelines, so phew, thankfully that’s settled
“In social media posts, our journalists must not express partisan opinions, promote political views, endorse candidates, make offensive comments or do anything else that undercuts The Times’s journalistic reputation.”