Archive for the ‘Foundations’ Category


Need digital technology funding? Knight Foundation study highlights journalism innovation contests

Anyone who listens to NPR more than once in a blue moon probably remembers the catchy plugs for sponsors such as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has granted millions to public broadcasting (and others) to support journalism “… in the digital age.”

Similarly, journalists and industry followers even mildly interested in digital media trends are likely familiar with the Knight Foundation’s popular Knight News Challenge, a five-year, $25 million initiative that annually seeks innovation submissions from journalism and information technology entrepreneurs.

Click image for Knight Foundation report

Click image for Knight Foundation report

Continuing its quest to research and fund digital-age projects supportive of quality journalism, Knight commissioned a study from Arabella Philanthropic Investment Advisors on 29 “media, information and communication contests.” Of course, the News Challenge is included in the analysis.

Some highlights:                           

-Knight currently gives away the most annually, with $5 million, though Google will soon supersede that with its $10 million Project 10100.

-The amount of submissions per contest ranges from a few dozen to over 12,000.

-Sponsors and funders come from all sectors, including government, non-profit, education, and for-profit. The sector that sponsors the most contests (not surprisingly) is foundations, followed by for-profit technology companies.

But the analysis is not a competition among groups vying for the title “best funder.” Rather, the report highlights (very concisely, in my opinion) the various funding opportunities for those interested in sharing information on constantly changing digital platforms.

Plus, it’s not all journalism. Many of the projects and programs highlighted are for the more technical-minded: application developers and telecommunications gurus.

But there’s a general theme: Sharing information – either through published/broadcast news reports or over social media networks – is a critical component in the Internet age. Whether journalism entrepreneurs or computer science whizzes seek the money is moot. The point is that there’s a lot being done to spur and spread information-sharing technology. And there’s plenty of room for more players, both funders and seekers.

Scott Leadingham is editor of SPJ’s Quill magazine and spends way too much time on Twitter (@scottleadingham) following industry news.

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