COLLEGE PARK, Md. – J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism will create a new self-help training site for citizens media projects and continue a pioneering program to seed community news ventures with a new $1.4 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The grant will support the building of the Knight Citizen News Network (KnightNet.org) scheduled to launch in March 2007, fund the start-up of 20 more micro-local news projects over the next two years under the “New Voices” program, and develop an award for citizen journalism.
The funding was announced as part of a $4.4 million, multi-part grant to the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Of the gift, $2 million will be added to an earlier $3 million building fund campaign gift from the Knight Foundation to create The Knight Institute for the Future of Journalism and name a new journalism building, the John S. and James L. Knight Hall. Construction will begin in 2008.
The Knight Institute for the Future of Journalism will work with Maryland’s Knight-funded programs to help ensure that as journalism evolves, in all its many forms, it retains the important professional values and watchdog principles essential to a democratic society.
“With the Knight Institute for the Future of Journalism and the state-of-the-art Knight Hall, we’re helping Maryland take a journalism program that has been a 20th century example of quality and turn it into a 21st century example of innovation,” said Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation president.
The remaining $2.4 million of the grant will support J-Lab and the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, two centers of the Merrill College.
The $1.4 million in new funding for J-Lab will help develop training modules for the Knight Citizen News Network, a self-help training portal for citizen journalists; begin the second phase of a nationwide New Voices community news program; and expand the institute’s annual Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism to include an award for citizen journalism.
The Knight Center for Specialized Journalism will receive $1 million to continue its series of annual seminars and courses to improve journalists’ knowledge of complex subjects.
John S. and James L. Knight were Akron, Ohio, brothers who founded Knight Newspapers (forerunner of Knight-Ridder) and later the Miami-based Knight Foundation.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes journalism excellence worldwide and invests in the vitality of U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since its creation in 1950, the foundation has invested nearly $300 million to advance journalism quality and freedom of expression. For more on Knight’s work, visit www.knightfdn.org.
J-Lab helps news organizations and citizens use new media technologies to create fresh ways for people to participate in public life.