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Key links:
Primary website:
knightfoundation.org
Primary Twitter:
@knightfdn

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is a national foundation that funds a variety of causes, including journalism projects and organizations.

The foundation was founded in 1950 by the Knight brothers, who owned the Ohio-based Knight Newspapers, which later became Knight Ridder.

Since 1950, the foundation has invested nearly $400 million in journalism through midcareer training programs, endowed journalism chairs at universities, newsroom diversity projects, high school journalism training, the International Center for Journalists, the Knight Citizen News Network, the Knight Digital Media Center, and many other initiatives.

In recent years, Knight has increased its funding interest in journalism innovation, most notably through the Knight News Challenge, but also through other efforts. In early 2011, Knight launched a four-year, $4.2 million “test kitchen” at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, for instance, and partnered with the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation to embed technology fellows in newsrooms, a partnership that was renewed in 2013. Knight regularly gives grants to new journalism projects and news organizations and in 2011 began investing in news projects with the Knight Enterprise Fund. It also launched a smaller, quicker way of funding news projects in 2012 with the Knight Prototype Fund. However, it generally does not provide ongoing funding for individual outlets.

The Knight Foundation also gives grants to more established organizations, such as grants in 2013 of $985,000 to TED to measure the impact of innovative ideas and $3.1 million to New York University to provide community technology training.

(The Knight Foundation provides funding to the Nieman Foundation and the Nieman Journalism Lab, including for the creation of Encyclo.)

Knight News Challenge

The foundation runs the Knight News Challenge, a five-year annual contest that awards startup grants to innovative news projects around the world. The challenge gave its first awards in 2007 and its fifth round in June 2011. After its initial five-year run ended, the foundation announced that the News Challenge would be continued with three annual contests starting in 2012. The first of those contests focused on networks and resulted in six awards, and the second contest focused on data.

Through 2010, the challenge has funded 50 projects for $23 million. Past winners include EveryBlock, Spot.Us, Ushahidi, DocumentCloud, Chi-Town Daily News, Gotham Gazette, Global Voices, and Spot.Us.

The foundation and News Challenge’s primary purpose is to fuel innovation in journalism, and they have done so by broadening their focus to include the broader information needs of communities as well. The News Challenge also represented a shift toward a more open and participatory process for the foundation. The foundation requires each winning News Challenge project to release its code as an open-source resource for other organizations.

A video on the Knight Foundation’s mission:

Peers, allies, & competitors:
Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
June 30, 2015 / Joshua Benton
What’s the view from Europe on where news is headed? Check out these videos from Newsgeist — Newsgeist — formerly known, just as idiosyncratically, as Newsfoo — is an annual-or-so unconference/gathering of journalists, technologists, media execs, and other future-of-news types for discussion, mingling, and ...
June 25, 2015 / Justin Ellis
Here’s how you can follow the 2015 version of SRCCON away from Minneapolis — The second iteration of SRCCON, the conference spun out of the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project, is underway today in my hometown of Minneapolis. As far as journalism-related conferences go, SRCCON falls more on the techn...
June 22, 2015 / Justin Ellis
MinnPost introduces members-only content with MinnPost+ — Minnesota’s nonprofit news outlet MinnPost hopes to show that membership has its privileges. Starting tomorrow, the site is launching MinnPost+, a new tier of “bonus content” only available to people wh...
May 12, 2015 / Justin Ellis
Knight Foundation invests $1 million in creator-driven podcast collective Radiotopia — A little over a year ago, a group of public radio-minded podcast producers banded together with an idea: to combine their powers to grow a shared audience and develop a better business model for fledgling audio entrepren...
April 30, 2015 / Justin Ellis
Knight Foundation funds 20 new media and technology projects through its Prototype Fund — The Knight Foundation is awarding more than $700,000 to a new round of technology projects, with a focus on storytelling, data, and community building. Twenty projects will each receive $35,000 as part of the Knight Prot...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: October 17, 2013.
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Explore: News Corp
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News Corporation, often known simply as News Corp., is a publishing company founded and substantially owned by Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch. News Corp was formed in 1979 out of an Australian newspaper publishing company Murdoch owned. For decades, it was among the world’s largest media companies, with  a wide variety of holdings across publishing, film,…

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Encyclo is made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation.
The Nieman Journalism Lab is a collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age.
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