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Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism

The Knight-Batten Awards was ended after the Knight Foundation sunset the program following the 2011 winners.

The Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism reward news and information ideas that significantly enhance opportunities for digital engagement. The awards honor novel efforts that actively involve people in public issues, supply entry points that invite their participation, sit their imagination, and meet their information needs in creative ways.

Honored are pioneering approaches to news and information that:

  • Spark widespread audience engagement.
  • Encourage new forms of information sharing.
  • Spur non-traditional interactions that have an impact on a community.
  • Foster animated two-way conversations between audiences and news providers.
  • Create new ways of imparting useful information.
  • Employ new definitions of news.

Judges’ Tools

About the AwardsGuidelinesAdvisory Board2011 Winners2011 Notable EntriesSymposia

The Knight-Batten Awards was ended after the Knight Foundation sunset the program following the 2011 winners.

Entries could consist of such things as networked journalism projects, new social networking ideas, innovative citizen media initiatives, news games, creative use of mobile devices, data mining ideas, new online applications, augmented reality experiences, other advances in interactive and participatory journalism or out-of-the-box thinking.

Entries may also employ simple efforts that notably connect in new ways with a community.

Entries from all news producers are eligible. Encouraged are both top-down and bottom-up innovations, those driven by news creators and those driven by news consumers.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has funded a $16,000 awards program to honor the creative use of new technologies to engage people in important public issues and to showcase compelling models for the future of news.

The Future…

Nearly 20 years ago, James K. Batten, the respected chairman and CEO of Knight Ridder, urged journalists to adapt for the future and to “invent new ways to make the public’s business rivetingly interesting—and much more difficult to ignore.”

“We need a fresh journalistic mindset rooted in our past,” he said in 1989, “but shrewdly and tough-mindedly in touch with the realities awaiting us.”

Now, new technologies present journalists with fresh challenges—and new opportunities. “We should figure out how to turn the Web on its head, so it allows us to connect not the virtual, but the geographic communities that we still live in,” said Alberto Ibarguen, former publisher of the Miami Herald and now president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

To honor new visions for the future of journalism, the Knight Foundation has created the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism. This $16,000 awards program spotlights emerging models of journalism that most creatively use new information ideas and technologies to engage and educate people about important public issues in compelling new ways.

The Knight-Batten Awards are administered by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at the the American University School of Communication.

The Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism are the successor to the Batten Awards for Excellence in Civic Journalism, which were funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts from 1995 through 2002 and rewarded innovative journalism that helped to engage people in community life.

J-Lab maintains responsibility for the Knight-Batten Awards’ impartiality and integrity. For further information, contact J-Lab at 202-885-8100 or e-mail

To Qualify

  • The contest was last open to all news efforts originating between May 1, 2010, and June 6, 2011.
  • News producers and those in related fields may enter journalism content, new journalism processes or ideas, tools or new applications that promote the information needs of communities and/or enhance digital engagement. Individuals must have been affiliated with such initiatives at the time of publication or launch to enter.
  • Entries need not be specific stories, but rather demonstrative of innovation and could consist of networked journalism projects, new social networking ideas, innovative citizen media initiatives, news games, creative use of mobile devices, data mining ideas, new online applications, augmented reality experiences, or other advances in interactive and participatory journalism or out-of-the-box thinking. Entries may also employ simple efforts that notably connect in new ways with a community.
  • Entrants must pay the $50 entry fee by June 10, 2011.
  • Finalists will be announced in Summer 2011. Winners will be announced at the Knight-Batten Awards Symposium on September 7, 2011, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Winners are expected to participate in an educational panel during the awards and will also be invited to take part in other activities throughout the following year to educate the profession about journalism innovations.

Honored are pioneering approaches to news and information that:

  • Spur non-traditional interactions that impact a community.
  • Foster animated community conversations.
  • Create new ways of imparting useful information.
  • Employ new definitions of news.
  • Develop new processes for doing journalism.
  • Advance opportunities for digital engagement.

Judging and Participation

  • All questions on the entry form must be completed in English and all submissions must be in English or include English translation.
  • The winners will be selected by an impartial board of judges—the Knight-Batten Advisory Board.
  • The judges shall have discretion to pick more than one winner and to issue Special Distinction Awards, as merited.
  • If an Advisory Board member is from a news organization entering the competition, that organization shall receive no special treatment.
  • The Knight-Batten Awards program reserves the right to use, reproduce, or link to submissions, with appropriate credits, in educational programs about journalism innovations.

To Enter

  1. Entries must be received by Monday, June 6, 2011.
  2. Entrants must complete an online application and must include working links to stories, websites, exhibits and examples. Please specifically direct the judges to the most relevant pages of any websites and explain why they are innovative or significant to the coverage.
    • Entries must remain online for at least one year from the date of the awards to serve as an educational resource. Winners will be asked to supply a version of their entry suitable for archiving.
    • For entries that involve streaming or podcasts, make archived content available and provide URLs for where it can be found.
    • For websites requiring registration, a judging password must be provided.
  3. Exhibits not available online, such as tearsheets, CDs or DVDs, may be sent via mail. All exhibits must be clearly labeled with the confirmation number that will be supplied after the online application is completed. If your exhibits are NOT available online, please follow these exhibit guidelines:
    • For PRINT: If possible, submit the entry as an Adobe PDF document via email. Or you may mail us the PDFs on a CD or DVD. Limit entries to the 20 best days of coverage; explain additional efforts in your application. If PDFs are unavailable, tearsheets are acceptable.
    • For TELEVISION: Submit a compilation of highlights, original stories or series of programs on a DVD video or a CD as digital files. Entry must not exceed 60 minutes. Voice-overs and narratives may be included in the compilation of highlights. No commercial breaks. Winners may be asked to supply a higher quality DVD of the original program.
    • For RADIO: Submit a compilation of highlights, a program or series of programs on audio CD. Entry must not exceed 60 minutes. Voice-overs and narratives may be included in the compilation of highlights. No commercial breaks. Winners may be asked to supply CDs of the original program(s).
  4. There is a $50 entry fee for each entry. Payment of the fee is a separate step in the application process. Don’t forget to click on the payment link after submitting your application.
  5. J-Lab, which administers the awards, is a center of American University and your credit card charge will appear on your statement as American University. Click here to pay. J-Lab can also accept checks made out to J-Lab/American University. Checks and exhibits should be mailed to: Knight-Batten Awards, J-Lab, American University, McKinley Hall #317, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20016
  6. Entrants will receive an e-mail confirming receipt of entry.

Sorry. We cannot return any exhibits or supplied materials. No faxes please.

Entries must be received by Monday, June 6, 2011.

Any questions? E-mail or call 202-885-8100.


Jim Brady - Knight-Batten Advisory BoardJim Brady

Project Thunderdome, Journal Register Company Brady joined the Journal Register Company in 2011 to lead the digital transformation of all its newsrooms. A digital news veteran, the former Executive Editor of most recently served as founder and general manager of the innovative site TBD, a local news operation dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the Washington, D.C. region that combined traditional journalism and audience-powered reporting.

He was previously the sports editor and assistant managing editor for news from 1995 to 1999 at, and was on staff for the site’s official launch in June 1996. During his time in news, Brady helped coordinate the site’s coverage of the Clinton impeachment. After leaving in 1999, Brady spent more than four years at America Online, serving as Group Programming Director, News and Sports; Executive Director, Editorial Operations; and Vice President, Production & Operations. During his time at AOL, Brady was in charge of the service’s coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2000 presidential election. He later returned to as a consultant, focusing primarily on product development and strategy before being named the site’s executive editor in 2004.

Brady earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Print Journalism from The American University in 1989.

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Jody BrannonJody Brannon

National Director, Carnegie-Knight News21, Arizona State University

Jody Brannon is the national director of the Carnegie-Knight News21 journalism initiative.

She entered the world of digital media in its infancy, starting as a copy editor for The Washington Post’s first online initiative, Digital Ink, in April 1995. She rose to become manager of news and production and later managing editor of She also served as executive producer at Washington Post and Newsweek Interactive before joining as executive producer.

Under her direction, multimedia news staffs won national awards from the Online News Association, Editor & Publisher, the Newspaper Association of America, the National Press Photographers Association, Associated Press Managing Editors and the National Press Foundation.

She is on the board of directors of the Online News Association and chairs the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism.

Prior to her work in digital media, Brannon worked in magazines and newspapers, primarily as a reporter and editor at the Tacoma News Tribune and Seattle Times.

Brannon has journalism degrees from Seattle University and American University and a doctoral degree in mass communication from the University of Maryland, where she studied the early days of multimedia journalism. Since 1988 she also has regularly taught a wide range of journalism courses at the University of Maryland, Pacific Lutheran University, Seattle University and American University, including the capstone seminar in its master’s program in interactive journalism for six years.

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Amy EismanAmy Eisman

Director of Writing Programs, School of Communication, American University

Amy Eisman oversees SOC’s basic writing classes and the weekend graduate journalism programs. She teaches reporting and writing for convergent media. Eisman was an editor with Gannett for 17 years, first as a cover story editor at USA TODAY and later as Executive Editor of USA WEEKEND. Eisman was also a managing editor at AOL and a Fulbright lecturer in Moscow.

Today she trains newsrooms on Web content and writing. She co-authored, with Larry Gillick, online training modules for Gannett about breaking news online, interactivity and database journalism. With Professor Wendell Cochran, she co-wrote a module about tools for citizen journalists for Knight Citizen News Network. She’s held workshops at the, Freedom Forum, the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague and Moscow.

She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s from American.

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Howard FinbergHoward Finberg

Director of Interactive Learning, The Poynter Institute

Howard I. Finberg is the director of interactive learning at The Poynter Institute, where he leads Poynter into the world of e-learning programs. He is responsible for the institute’s e-learning project, News University.

NewsU launched in 2005 and has more than 160,000 users in 225 countries, accessing more than 200 training modules. Finberg also teaches news executives and journalists about online and the impact the Internet has on the media industry. Finberg joined the Institute in 2003 after serving as its Presidential Scholar in 2002. His task was examining technology’s impact on media and how new technologies might be integrated into Poynter’s teaching and publishing.

Prior to joining Poynter he founded and ran The Digital Futurist Consultancy. Among his clients are the McClatchy Company, MediaNews Interactive, The San Francisco Chronicle, Hearst Interactive, Freedom Communications, the Houston Chronicle and the Newspaper Association of America. He also served as a senior fellow at The American Press Institute’s Media Center.

Finberg was a corporate vice president at Central Newspapers, prior to its sale to Gannett Corp., where he managed the company’s Internet and technology investments and provided strategic and operational guidance for the company’s print and online efforts. He served as a director at Phoenix Newspapers, Inc., which publishes The Arizona Republic.

At The Republic, Finberg led the creation and launch of the award-winning online service, Arizona Central on the Web and on America Online in early 1995. Finberg was honored as the Newspaper Association of America “New Media Pioneer” in 2000. He also held senior newsroom management positions at The Republic, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune, and he worked at the San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Examiner and The New York Times.

Finberg established the Chicago Tribune’s graphics desk, one of the country’s first such operations, and was the founding editor of the country’s first syndicated newspaper graphics service. A former teacher at Northwestern University and San Francisco State University, he is the co-author of Visual Editing: A Graphic Guide for Journalists (Wadsworth Publishing, Belmont, Calif.), a college-level textbook about newspaper design, informational graphics, illustrations and photography. He has also been a frequent speaker at industry conferences and has served as a judge for a number of website competitions.

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Richard HarwoodRichard Harwood

Founder and President, The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation

Richard C. Harwood is the founder and president of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, a nonprofit, catalytic organization dedicated to helping people imagine and act for the public good.

Over the past 20 years, he has become a leading national authority on improving America’s communities, raising standards of political conduct and re-engaging citizens on today’s most complex and controversial public issues.

Harwood has devoted his energies to spreading a vision for what American society should be and putting innovative practices to use on the ground to turn that vision into a reality.

He is the author of Hope Unraveled: The people’s retreat and our way back (2005), as well as Make Hope Real: How we can accelerate change for the public good (2008).

Harwood is a frequent keynote speaker for foundations and national organizations. He is a commentator and contributor on national and syndicated television, newspapers, radio and web sites, including MSNBC, NPR, The Christian Science Monitor, CNN’s Inside Politics, The Jim Bohannon Show, Special Report with Brit Hume, C-SPAN, and many other media outlets.

In October of 1999, Harwood was a featured speaker along with Colin Powell and Doris Kearns Goodwin at the White House Fellows 35th Anniversary Program. He is a faculty member of the Public Affairs Institute and also has lectured at the Poynter Institute, a national school of journalism.

Rich did his undergraduate work in Political Economy at Skidmore College. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was a Harry S Truman Scholar. He received his M.A. in Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Gary KebbelGary Kebbel

Dean and Professor, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, College of Journalism and Mass Communications

Gary Kebbel, the former journalism program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, was recently appointed dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

As journalism program director for the Knight Foundation, Kebbel directed the $25 million Knight News Challenge, which funds digital news innovations. He has been director of AOL News, was founding editor of and He also directed AOL’s online election and government guides. He was a graphics editor at USA Today and managing editor for The Record in Troy, N.Y.; managing editor and assistant managing editor of the Post-Star in Glens Falls, N.Y.; and city editor of the Ithaca (N.Y.) Journal.

He has been adjunct instructor at Philip Merrill College of Journalism, College Park, Md.; Northern Illinois University; and Adirondack Community College. He has a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University, master’s degrees in journalism and political science from University of Illinois, and an MSW from the Catholic University of America. He assisted the State and Defense departments by teaching public affairs officers the latest digital media and social networking techniques.

project-kb-2011-matt_thompson-229x300Matt Thompson

Editorial Product Manager, NPR Matt Thompson is currently working with NPR to develop 12 topic-focused local news sites in conjunction with NPR member stations. He worked as the interim Online Community Manager for the Knight Foundation and did research context-centric news websites, which are quickly becoming the future of journalistic ventures. Before working at the Knight Foundation, he worked as the deputy Web editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and managed technology and interactive-related projects.

He also created EPIC 2014, a flash movie about journalism, set 10 years in the future. He graduated with honors in English from Harvard College in 2002.

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Amy WebbAmy Webb

CEO and Principal Consultant, Webbmedia Group

Amy is an author, speaker and future thinker, adapting current and emerging technologies for use in communications. She has spent more than 15 years working with digital media, founding several web-based companies and now advising various startups, journalism associations and media groups as well as Webbmedia’s clients all over the world.

Amy began her career as a reporter/ writer with Newsweek (Tokyo) and the Wall Street Journal (Hong Kong) where she covered emerging technology, media and cultural trends. She later contributed to the New York Times, NPR, Economist and many publications and broadcast shows. Her work has been recognized with awards/nominations from Webby, Editor & Publisher, Investigative Reporters & Editors, Society of Professional Journalists, W3 and IAVA. She has a M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and holds a B.A. in political economics from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. She also earned Nikyu Certification in the Japanese government-administered Language Proficiency Test and speaks fluently.

Amy serves on the Board of Directors for the Online News Association, is a Knight News Challenge judge, and serves on advisory boards for Knight-Batten, Temple University’s Journalism Program, and the International Center for Journalists. Amy is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and is a judge for the Emmy(r) awards. She has been on the adjunct journalism faculty at University of Maryland, Temple University, Tokyo University and University of the Arts. Amy is a featured speaker at conferences around the world and regularly appears on various broadcast shows.

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Kinsey WilsonKinsey Wilson

Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Media, NPR

Kinsey Wilson has played a leadership role in digital media for more than a decade. As a senior news executive he has provided strategic and operational oversight of print and online news operations and been a leader in industry organizations during a period of rapid technological and cultural change.

He joined NPR as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Digital Media in October 2008, with responsibility for NPR’s web, podcasting and mobile operations.

Wilson began his journalism career at Chicago’s legendary City News Bureau where he covered cops and worked the overnight desk. He was a print reporter for 15 years, seven of them at Newsday, before he made the leap to online media in 1995.

Wilson received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Chicago in 1979, specializing in African studies. He and his wife have lived in the Washington, D.C. area since 1995.

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Jose ZamoraJose Zamora

Journalism Associate, Knight Foundation

Jose Zamora is a Journalism Program Associate at Knight Foundation.

Jose helps manage Knight Foundation’s digital journalism portfolio, including the Knight News Challenge, a five-year, $25 million initiative to spur media innovation. He is a journalist, columnist, blogger and a former news executive with el Periódico in Guatemala.

He has a Law degree from Universidad Francisco Marroquín, a specialization in Media Law from Oxford’s Media Law Advocates Program and a Master’s in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. He is an Organization of American States Scholar who focused his work on Media and Democracy.

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Larry KirkmanLarry Kirkman

Dean, School of Communication, American University

Larry Kirkman is the dean of the American University School of Communication, where he directs and develops academic and professional programs in Journalism, Film and Media Arts and Public Communication with a cross-cutting focus on public affairs and public service.

Dean Kirkman came to AU in 2001 from the Benton Foundation. As director of Benton, from 1989 to 2001, he created programs in strategic communications for nonprofit organizations, public media, and communications policy. Under his direction, Benton became a leading nonprofit Internet publisher, producing online knowledge networks that served as test-beds for journalism, education and social action. He launched the U.S. Center for, and he served as Chair of the One World International Foundation from ‘02-‘06. He serves on the Public Issues Advisory Committee of The Advertising Council. He served in various roles for the Council on Foundations and its affinity groups, including: chair of the Communication Committee; chair of the Film and Video Festival; and chair of the Communications Committee for the Funders for Citizen Participation.

Prior to his work at the Benton Foundation, Dean Kirkman was the founding director of the Labor Institute of Public Affairs, where he worked from 1982 to 1989, and he worked at the American Film Institute from 1979 to 1982. As an AU professor in the 1970s, he helped bring the School of Communication into the video age while serving as editor of TeleVisions magazine.

Past judges:

Rosental C. Alves (Board Member, 2003-2009)

Director, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas

Knight Chair in Journalism, University of Texas at Austin

Rosental C. Alves is the director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, as well as a professor and Knight Chair in Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. He created the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, a four-year project to work in training programs with journalists from Latin America and the Caribbean, in 2002. The Knight Center is based at the School of Journalism in Austin, but reaches thousands of journalists throughout the hemisphere.

At the University of Texas at Austin, Alves has three basic areas for teaching and research: international reporting, journalism in Latin America, and Internet journalism. He created the first class on online journalism at UT in the 1997-98 academic year, and has been a frequent speaker in conferences and has conducted numerous workshops in several countries to train journalists and journalism professors on the use of the new medium. Alves spent 27 years as a professional journalist, including 23 years in Rio de Janeiro where he was the managing editor and member of the board of directors of Jornal do Brasil, one of the most important Brazilian newspapers. In 1991, he created the first online, real-time finance news service, the first of its kind in Brazil. And in 1994, Alves managed the launching of Jornal do Brasil’s online edition, making it the first Brazilian newspaper available on the Internet. A working journalist since he was 16, Alves received a B.A. in journalism from the Rio de Janeiro Federal University. He was the first Brazilian awarded a Nieman Fellowship to spend an academic year (1987-88) at Harvard University.

Lee Rainie (Board Member, 2003-2009)

Founding Director, Pew Internet & American Life Project

Harrison “Lee” Rainie is the Director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a research center that examines the social impact of the Internet – or, how people’s Internet use is affecting families, communities, health care, education, civic/political life, and work places.

Since its creation in December 1999, the project has issued more than 100 reports about Americans’ use of the Internet. The research findings often center on the Project’s regular monitoring of online life, including the ways in which their behavior changes as they gain more experience on the Internet. In addition, Project reports have dealt with such topics as: the impact of people’s use of email on their key relationships, the way that Internet users act on the health information they get online, the impact of the Internet on campaigns, elections, and Americans’ civic life, how broadband connections change people’s online lives, the way teenagers and college students use the Internet, the durability and usefulness of online communities, the reasons why people do not have Internet access, how email use has changed U.S. workplaces, and the way people used the Internet after the September 11 terror attacks and their views about online information on government Web sites. The project’s work can be found at

Natalie Hopkinson (Board Member, 2009)

Associate Editor,

Before joining The Root, Natalie Hopkinson was an assignment editor in the Washington Post’s Sunday commentary and debate section and a youth culture writer in the newspaper’s Style section. She is co-author of “Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation.” A graduate of Howard University, she holds a doctorate in journalism and public communication from the University of Maryland-College Park.

Chris Harvey (Board Member, 2003-2008)

Online Bureau Director & Lecturer, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland

Chris Harvey has worked as an online editor, a magazine editor, a newspaper reporter and a journalism teacher. She left her job as managing editor at American Journalism Review in August 2000 to help build the online curriculum at the College of Journalism. She created and now edits the College’s online newsmagazine, Maryland Newsline, which is staffed by students. She also teaches an introductory online journalism course.

Before coming to AJR, Harvey worked as an associate Metro editor at There, she led a content redesign of the Metro section and edited news and feature stories. She earlier taught reporting and editing at the College and ran the College’s student-staffed Capital News Service bureaus in Washington and Annapolis.

She has held reporting and editing jobs at several papers, including The Washington Times, and has free-lanced for The Washington Post and Congressional Quarterly’s “Politics in America.”

Mark Hinojosa (Board Member, 2003-2008)

Former Associate Managing Editor, Electronic News, The Chicago Tribune

Mark Hinojosa joined The Chicago Tribune in 1991 as an assistant photo editor. In 1994 he was promoted to Director of Photography. He was again promoted 1999 to Associate Managing Editor for Photography. In 2000 Hinojosa filled the newly created position of A.M.E. for Electronic News. In his new role, Hinojosa works as a liaison between the print, broadcast and the Internet, facilitating the development of stories across these different media. In his capacity as A.M.E. for photography, Hinojosa was responsible for a staff of 68, which included photographers, photo editors and lab support staff. Hinojosa is the first person at the Tribune to hold both A.M.E. positions.

Prior to joining The Tribune, Hinojosa worked as a staff photographer at New York Newsday and as a photographer/photo editor for the Kansas City Star. He has won awards for both his photography and photo editing and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize three times.

Born in Los Angeles in August 1956, Hinojosa has lived in Kansas City, Mo. and in three of the five boroughs of New York City. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Ca. Hinojosa serves on the board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the board of Street Level Youth Media, an organization committed to teaching media awareness to urban youth. He is married to a freelance journalist, with whom he has three children, and, when time permits, is an avid flyfisher.

Nick Charles (Board Member, 2007-2008)

Former Vice President for Digital Content, BET Interactive

Nick Charles is the former editor in chief for AOL Black Voices, where he was responsible for spearheading the day-to-day editorial activities across seven channels including Main, News, Sports, Lifestyle, Entertainment, Work & Money, Blogs (Community), and several sub-channels.

Charles was also the founding editor in chief of the Toyota & Jungle Media Group culture/lifestyle magazine Forward, responsible for the conceptualization and design of the 60-page title. Before that, he was a staff writer at People magazine, where he penned human interest and celebrity features. He was also a staff reporter at The New York Daily News, writing feature articles and cultural criticism, plus a weekly column on pop culture.

He spent time as a foreign correspondent for the Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer reporting from Somalia, Djibouti and Kenya, and he has contributed to various publications including The Los Angeles Times,The Nation, The Village Voice, Black Enterprise, The New York Times Book Review, Essence, Emerge, Interview, and The New York Sun, to name a few.

Charles holds a B.A. in Journalism from New York University and an M.S. in International Affairs from New School University. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Bryan Monroe (Board Chair, 2003-2007)

Vice President and Editorial Director, Ebony and Jet magazines

Bryan Monroe joined Johnson Publishing Company as the vice president and editorial director of Ebony and Jet magazines in 2006. He is also currently president of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Monroe was formerly the assistant vice president/ news at now defunct Knight Ridder, where he was responsible for the journalistic operations of all 31 Knight Ridder properties nationwide. He also completed his Nieman Fellowship at Harvard in June 2003. Prior to that, he was deputy managing editor at the San Jose Mercury News in California, where he was in charge of nearly 200 journalists and a $12 million budget. Monroe joined Knight Ridder in 1987 as director of graphics and photography at The (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) Sun News.

From 1989 to 1991 he was assistant project director for Knight Ridder’s 25/43 Project, an effort to design a newspaper specifically for readers in that key demographic, based at the Boca Raton News. He joined the San Jose Mercury News in 1991 as design director, also serving as a reporter and assigning editor. Among many duties there, Monroe led redesigns of the Mercury News in 1992 and again in 2000. The paper has repeatedly been named one of the five world’s best-designed by the Society for News Design.

He worked earlier in his career as a photographer at The Seattle Times, The Roanoke Times & World News and United Press International. Monroe is vice president/print of the National Association of Black Journalists and immediate past president of the Bay Area Black Journalists Association. He has taught frequently for The Poynter Institute, the American Press Institute and many other organizations.

Mike McCurry (Board Member, 2003-2005)

Partner, Public Strategies Washington Inc. Chairman and CEO, Grassroots Enterprise Inc.

Mike McCurry is a principal of Public Strategies Group, LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs and strategic communications consulting firm, where he has practiced since leaving the White House. He also serves on boards or advisory councils for Share Our Strength, the Center for International Private Enterprise, the Council for Excellence in Government, the Junior Statesmen Foundation, the Wesley Theological Seminary, and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

McCurry is a veteran political strategist and spokesperson with 25-years experience in Washington, D.C. He began his affiliation with Grassroots Enterprise as a member of the board of advisors in January 2000. Since then, McCurry has become chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors, leading the strategic development of the company and its software and services.

McCurry served in the White House as press secretary to President Bill Clinton (1995-1998). He also served as spokesman for the Department of State (1993-1995) and director of communications for the Democratic National Committee (1988-1990). McCurry has also held leadership roles in several national campaigns, including national press secretary for the vice presidential campaign of Senator Lloyd M. Bentsen (1988), and spokesman and political strategist in the presidential campaigns of Senator John Glenn (1984), Governor Bruce Babbitt (1988) and Senator Bob Kerrey (1992). McCurry began his political career on the staff of the United States Senate, working as press secretary to the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources and to the committee’s chairman, Senator Harrison A. Williams, Jr. (1976-1981). He also served as press secretary to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1981-1983).

McCurry received his bachelor of arts from Princeton University in 1976 and a master of arts from Georgetown University in 1985.

$10,000 Grand Prize Winner


Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Storify

Storify, the social media publishing platform that lets users create stories by dragging and dropping elements from such social networks as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube, is this year’s $10,000 Grand Prize winner in the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism.

Special Distinction Awards

West Africa Democracy Radio ($2,000)

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - West Africa Democracy Radio

This Dakar-based network of radio stations serving 13 countries in West Africa designed a publishing system that works for those without resources. Partnering with the Czech journalism nonprofit Sourcefabric, WADR integrated several open-source tools, including the Newscoop CMS, Airtime radio software and the SoundCloud audio-distribution platform to publish reports in French and English online, on air and on social media sites.

NPR’s Andy Carvin and his Twitter community ($2,000)

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Andy Carvin Twitter feed

Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, NPR’s Andy Carvin has pioneered a new form of journalism, using his online followers to piece together and validate real-time reports that documented historic events in the Middle East. By using his Twitter account as a newsgathering operation, he has demonstrated how reporting can be done remotely and created a highly engaged community of more than 50,000 Twitter followers.

Bloomberg Government ($1,000)

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Bloomberg Government

Meshing interactive data, analytics, deep-dive white papers, traditional reporting and a pay wall, BGov is building a new way to cover government with a subscription-only website that quantifies the impact of government action on business and that, it asserts, is “on track to be a profitable venture.”

The Texas Tribune ($1,000)

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Texas Tribune

The Tribune nonprofit news startup has made data fundamental to its journalism, giving users access to robust and contextualized data sets, transparently sourced and beautifully presented. The site’s interactive graphics, visualizations, document annotations, budget applications and searchable data sets are its most popular feature, drawing 63 percent of its 13 million page views in the first four months of this year.

Honorable Mentions


Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Biblion

The New York Public Library’s iPad app, initially centering on the 1939-1940 World’s Fair, allows users to enter virtual library stacks and go down beautiful rabbit holes filled with staggering depths of information. Community Engagement

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - New Haven independant

In an ambitious School Reform Town Hall and an ongoing New Haven’s Talking initiative, this six-year-old nonprofit news site has become the fulcrum for partnerships that involve the community, local media, experts and public officials in discussing issues in interactive and compelling ways.

Guardian Data

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Guardian Data

The Guardian newspaper’s innovative use of Google Spreadsheets and Google Fusion tables paved the way for sharing data through social media and crowdsourcing, including such high-profile stories as tracking Members’ of Parliament expenses and WikiLeaks disclosures.

Bay Citizen Bike Tracker

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Bay Citizen

This application plots thousands of Bay Area bike collisions on an interactive map that discloses individual accidents, key locations and road conditions.

AP Interactive Templates

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - AP Interactive

“Building templates at AP is more of challenge than for other news organizations because the users aren’t just the staff who are putting them together, but newsrooms all over the world who need to be able to use them easily, not to mention that the content must fit seamlessly into their workflows and sites.”

Breakdown: Traveling Dangerously in America News21 11-University Collaboration

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Center for Public Integrity

“Eleven journalism students from 11 universities collaborated with the Center for Public Integrity to report on transportation safety in America. Their investigation revealed that Americans are exposed every day to risks in the air, on highways, waterways and railways that could be prevented if federal regulatory agencies and states moved faster to carry out recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board.”

Project - Knight-Batten Awards -

“ is a real-time, 24/7 discovery service. Through a combination of editors, technology and the crowd, we curate breaking news around the globe from media sources and eyewitness accounts.”

Coming Out

Project - Knight-Batten Awards - NYT Coming Out

“Bullying and suicides of gay and lesbian teenagers are in the headlines, the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has been repealed, and the debate over same-sex marriage continues to divide the country. Against this backdrop, many L.G.B.T. youth wonder how accepting society will be.”

Dashboard Metrics

Project - Knight-Batten Awards - Sacramento Press

“Dashboard metrics provide at-a-glance answers to editors’ and administrators’ most common questions. We used natural language phrasing to make the system intuitive. We mashed up Google data with our own so key metrics can be found all in one place with a unified user interface.”

Dollars for Docs

Project - Knight-Batten Awards - ProPublica Dollars for Docs

“Dollars for Docs is a large-scale news application and series of investigative reports. It takes pharmaceutical payment disclosures to doctors and combines them into a single, easy-to-use website that lets concerned citizens look up their doctors by name to see if they’ve taken money.”

Great Lakes Smackdown

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Great Lakes Echo

“We ran a contest pitting invasive species against each other. Readers predicted which most damaged the Great Lakes environment. We analyzed the threats; readers rooted and voted for favorites. We justified each winner, ultimately producing video of a scientist picking and justifying the champion.”

High School Hubs

Minnesota Star Tribune - High School Hubs

“In an attempt to expand the reach of our high school sports coverage, we started the process of creating sport-specific “hub” web sites to showcase our written coverage and statistical compilations.”

Homicide Watch

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Homicide Watch DC

“Homicide Watch is an online reporting project using public documents, social networking and an original reporting guide to build a comprehensive public record of homicides. The site focuses around victims, suspects, courts and communities and provides tools to build investigative data sets.”

Mixed America’s Family Trees

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - NYT Family Trees

“The United States is in the midst of a demographic shift. Driven by immigration and intermarriage, multiracial and multiethnic Americans — usually grouped together as “mixed-race” — are one of the country’s fastest growing demographic groups.”

Multi-platform digital publishing

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - iWatch News

“iWatch News,the online daily published by the Center for Public Integrity, has launched two major projects using Treesaver technology — an HTML5 platform — that allows content to dynamically reformat to any screen size, from a handheld device to a computer screen to a digital television.”

My Water’s On Fire Tonight (The Fracking Song)

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Fracking Song

“My Water’s On Fire Tonight’ is a song that explains hydraulic fractured gas drilling or ‘fracking.’ It is based on ProPublica’s three-year long investigation on fracking, ‘Buried Secrets.’ It is accompanied by an animated video.”


Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Newsworks

“In November 2010, WHYY launched, the Web-based home for multimedia journalism and civic engagement in the Greater Philadelphia region.”

On Shaky Ground

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - California Watch

“California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting pioneered new ways to reach audiences across all platforms and new methods of collaboration – all in the name of broadening the reach of a critically important investigative story. Our innovative approaches included a coloring book aimed at young school children and community events to talk about seismic safety.”

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - OpenCourt

“ is an unprecedented initiative to bring long overdue transparency to our nation’s courts.OpenCourt is a pilot project that will experiment with how digital technologies can foster the openness of the American courts with the idea that more transparent courts make for a better democracy.”

Oscars Live Event Dashboard

AProject - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - NYT Oscar Awards

“For the Academy Awards, we built a completely novel second-screen experience to compliment the broadcast featuring a ballot competition, deep social media integration, an iPad-optimized dashboard streamed live photos and video, and a curated feed of commentary, live blogging and tweets.”


AProject - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Pipeline

“Pipeline is a topic-based website powered by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that focuses on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. It has news from nearly every department of the paper, promotes community contributions and brings data to the community level.”

ProPublica’s Culture of Sharing

Project - Knight-Batten Awards - ProPublica culture

“ProPublica believes that broad coverage of an issue increases the likelihood of real-world impact. So we made a conscious decision to enable follow-on reporting by other news organizations. We execute this strategy in every project we do, and we lead the industry in the extent of our collaborations.”

The Stream

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Aljazeera

“The Stream is an online community with its own broadcast television show on Al Jazeera English. It is a multimedia platform that harnesses the power of broadcast and social media to amplify unheard voices and tell untold global stories.”

The Tiziano Project

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Tiziano project

“The Tiziano Project provides community members in conflict, post-conflict, and underreported regions with the equipment, training, and affiliations necessary to report their stories and improve their lives. The 360 Kurdistan presents the personal stories of Iraqi citizens in the Kurdish north.”

Time to Lead

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 - Globe and Mail Canada

“The Globe and Mail has broken ground by involving readers from the earliest stages of story assigning. We listened to readers, invited them to take part in story decisions and follow the journalistic process through an innovative series called Our Time to Lead, which focused on the most pressing issues facing Canadians over the next decade. The Globe and Mail invited readers to become part of the Globe Catalyst program.”

Project - Knight-Batten Awards 2011 -

“ is a multimedia website built to inform, engage, and activate the people who are framing the debate, shaping policy, and defining success in the field of global development. The site features hundreds of videos, groundbreaking core technologies, and powerful sharing tools.”


See the agenda and video of panels and keynote speaker Katharine Weymouth, Washington Post publisher.
Read Poynter’s response to Katharine Weymouth’s keynote speech.
Read remarks by Jan Schaffer reflecting on the nine year run of the Knight-Batten Awards


Watch video from the event at the Newseum. Keynote Speaker: David Carr, The New York Times.


See presentations from the winners, including The New York Times, Apture, Printcasting, ProPublica, The Christian Science Monitor and the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,, and the Center for Public Integrity.


See presentations from the winners, including $10,000 grand prize winner’s Kevin Poulsen.


Read the keynote speech transcript from Sue Clark-Johnson President, Newspaper Division, Gannett Co.


Read the keynote speech transcript from Knight Foundation President and CEO Alberto Ibargüen.


Read the transcript from keynote speaker Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia; and other panel discussions


Read the transcript from keynote speaker Tom Kunkel, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland; and other panel discussions.


Read the transcript from keynote speaker Dan Gillmor, Columnist & Blogger at the San Jose Mercury News; and other panel discussions.

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