HOME
          
LATEST STORY
What are the boundaries of today’s journalism, and how is the rise of digital changing who defines them?
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
July 24, 2012, 9:14 a.m.
Business Models

Knight Foundation funds new projects for fact-checking and transparency

Several of the new projects first popped up through the last round of the Knight News Challenge.

The Knight Foundation added to its investment in media on Monday, supporting five new innovation projects from startups and established media companies. The funding from Knight will go toward fact-checking and transparency work, as well as to efforts to increase support for and visibility of women in the tech sector.

The Washington Post will receive money for TruthTeller, a live fact-checking tool for audio and video content, which the paper plans to use during this fall’s presidential debates. Wired magazine plans to use Knight funds to build off its journalism-on-Github experiment by developing a WordPress plugin that would allow readers to assist in error reporting, translation, and other feedback. Sourcemap, which allows users to track the supply chain of products, is developing a mapping tool for the Concord, Mass., school department to follow the path of food to the schools’ meals.

All three projects will be funded out of Knight’s new Prototype Fund, which provides organizations or individuals with $50,000 or less to test ideas.

Knight is offering its more traditional line of grant funding to startup projects TheLi.st and SuperPAC App. Developed at the MIT Media Lab, SuperPAC App, as the name suggests, helps users capture audio from ads with their smartphone and identify who’s paying for a political ad, where it’s airing, and more.

TheLi.st is a project from Rachel Sklar, founder of Change the Ratio and more, and Glynnis MacNicol, a founding editor of Mediaite. More on TheLi.st from Knight:

Sklar and MacNicol are launching TheLi.st, a hub for women in technology that includes a subscription listserve and discussion community, free content and resources for women in the field, and events and convenings on the topic.

John Bracken, Knight’s director of journalism and media innovation, was in Cambridge Monday to announce the new projects at the Awesome Foundation’s Awesome Summit: Connect. Bracken told me several of the projects announced today came to Knight through the most recent round of the News Challenge. Though they didn’t get funded through that route, the projects still showed enough promise to support through other means, he said. The beauty of the Prototype Fund, Bracken said, is that it gives Knight the ability to use a small amount of money to see where ideas can go.

Knight — by far the largest philanthropic funder in the journalism-innovation space — has been tinkering with its funding methods in the last several years to emphasize speed in innovation. Bracken told me the revamped News Challenge was designed to produce projects that build off existing work and can succeed under their own power. But with the Prototype Fund, he expects to see some failures. Broadly speaking, the News Challenge is aimed at stable projects; the Prototype Fund should be pursuing riskier bets. “If the vast majority of those projects work, we’re doing our jobs wrong,” he said of the Prototype Fund. The basic steps of the fund’s work: “Idea, test, learn, share.”

With the News Challenge, the Enterprise Fund, and the Prototype Fund, Knight is setting up systems to help companies and entrepreneurs at different stages in their growth. Bracken said Knight is trying to learn lessons from venture capital firms on how to structure investments and better support companies in their network. Though the foundation is refining its methods, Bracken said its goals of supporting journalism and the information needs of communities hasn’t changed.

“When you set up a mechanism for people to tell you their ideas, and the people are awesome and the ideas are awesome, it’s incumbent upon you to mine that,” he said.

Disclosure: The Knight Foundation is a funder of the Nieman Journalism Lab.

POSTED     July 24, 2012, 9:14 a.m.
SEE MORE ON Business Models
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
What are the boundaries of today’s journalism, and how is the rise of digital changing who defines them?
In a new book, a group of academics look at how the big defining questions of the field — what is journalism? who is a journalist? who decides? — are changing.
Esquire has a cold: How the magazine is mining its archives with the launch of Esquire Classics
“We’re continuing our experiments with seeing what kinds of great archival stories people want to read and what formats seem to be most popular.”
The Atlantic redesigns, trading clutter and density for refinement
It wants to be a “real-time magazine” on the web, connected to its print heritage. But stripping out the visual noise won’t please everyone.
What to read next
2439
tweets
The Economist’s Tom Standage on digital strategy and the limits of a model based on advertising
“The Economist has taken the view that advertising is nice, and we’ll certainly take money where we can get it, but we’re pretty much expecting it to go away.”
579What USA Today Sports learned covering the Final Four on Periscope and Snapchat
These new platforms are optimized for realtime news on phones, but there are lots of questions for news organizations — from what content to share to how to measure their effectiveness.
410Journalists shouldn’t lose their rights in their move to private platforms
The shift to distributed content means concepts like fair use are increasingly in the hands of private companies — like SoundCloud.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
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 ➚
Drudge Report
Flipboard
The Atlantic
Chicago News Cooperative
Chicago Tribune
DNAinfo
The Daily Voice
Fwix
Mashable
Quartz
Arizona Guardian
Creative Commons