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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:
May 26, 2016 / Joseph Lichterman
Nearly half of U.S. adults get news on Facebook, Pew says — More than 40 percent of American adults get news on Facebook, according to a report published Thursday by the Pew Research Center and the Knight Foundation. (Disclosure: Knight is a supporter of the Lab.) Two-thirds of F...
May 17, 2016 / Shan Wang
Knight and Columbia launch a $60M effort to advance freedom of expression in the digital age — The Knight Foundation and Columbia University are partnering to launch a new organization focused on First Amendment research and litigation. Knight and Columbia will each commit $5 million in operating funds and $25 mil...
May 11, 2016 / Shan Wang
We know people read news on their phones. But from what sources? — People read the news on their smartphones (duh). They will even read longform (to a certain extent). But do these smartphone users prefer getting their news from apps or news sites? What are their news-reading behaviors ...
March 29, 2016 / Joseph Lichterman
FOIA Mapper aims to make it easier for journalists to know where to look for public documents — The process of filing a Freedom of Information Act request can be complicated. When you FOIA a document and all you get back is black ink pic.twitter.com/ithkccXKgX — SecuriTay (@SwiftOnSecurity) March 22, 2016 Whe...
March 15, 2016 / Joseph Lichterman
The Coral Project unveils its first product to make comments better — On Monday at SXSW, The Coral Project provided more details about the first product it’s developing to help news organizations better manage comments. The Coral Project is a joint effort between The New York Times, ...

Recently around the web, from Mediagazer:

Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: October 17, 2013.
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Explore: NewsTilt
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NewsTilt was a short-lived content network built around individual journalists. The site was launched in April 2010 by Nathan Chong and Paul Biggar as part of NewsLabs, a project of the noted startup incubator Y Combinator. Both NewsLabs and NewsTilt were shut down in June 2010. The site intended to create a network to serve…

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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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