The Knight Foundation has awarded $2.8 million to the University of California, Berkeley to increase its multimedia workshops for journalists and $2.4 million to the University of Southern California to increase its leadership workshops and special topic seminars for journalists.
An additional $1.5 million grant will help NPR work with the Knight Digital Media Center as the non-commercial news organization increases its expansion into digital news. The investments intend to speed the news industry's digital transformation and accelerate NPR's transformation into a public media company.
The Knight Digital Media Center will increase its training and become a “virtual center” to help journalists succeed in the 21st century. A key part of that effort: helping NPR retrain its workforce to be increasingly competitive and effective in the digital age.
Over the next five years, the Knight Digital Media Center will provide:
- --400 diverse journalists with multimedia storytelling training.
- --160 editors with special technology training.
- --Four newsrooms with on-site transformation workshops.
- --A redesigned portal web site to train more than 20,000 web users with distance learning and offer an array of Knight-funded training/learning programs focused on transforming journalists and news organizations for the digital future.
- --An annual “New Leadership Conference’’ with editors and online managers from leading news organizations.
- --Annual seminars on “Decision-making for Portal Editors,’’ “Best Practices of Specialized Journalists Online” and “Timely Topics for Digital Journalists.”
- --An annual workshop on “Managing Multimedia Multiculturalism’’ for 20 newsroom leaders, sponsored by USC and The Maynard Institute.
Within two years, the grant to NPR, working with the Knight Digital Media Center, will train:
- --About 600 NPR staff in its new audio production and content management systems.
- --40 NPR senior managers, leaders and training staff to support’s NPR newsroom of the future project, “Newsroom 2.0.”
- --400 NPR reporters, producers, editors and other staff in multimedia skills.
“We are honored that Knight Foundation recognizes the public service mission of NPR News and the American public's interest in finding our journalism on all platforms and in all the places they want it," said Ken Stern, chief executive officer, NPR. "NPR has made a significant commitment to transforming our reporting, storytelling and production efforts to multimedia, and this grant will play a critical role in the comprehensive project we have launched. Knight Foundation has supported NPR and our journalism in the past, and today's grant will be integral to NPR's future."
The Knight Foundation also funds innovative projects such as NewsU, which is online training for those interested in becoming journalists. It also funds the Knight News Challenge, which is a contest that offers $5 million for digital media ideas that "foster community".
"You would think that's pretty easy," says foundation spokesman Marc Fest, "but last year only 200 applications ended up meeting all contest requirements and being innovative at the same time." It's well worth reading the rules, because, according to Fest, 26 of last year's 200 finalists won a total of more than $12 million. The deadline for applications this year is Oct 15, 2007. Apply online at www.newschallenge.org.
- --The Knight Digital Media Center is a partnership between two top journalism schools, USC’s Annenberg School and U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. The center has trained hundreds of midcareer journalists to better cover complex topics ranging from immigration to water quality. Its alumni have won numerous reporting and editing awards. Their improved journalism has been read, heard or viewed by millions of Americans.