The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced five grants totaling $2.6 million to nonprofit organizations working to strengthen quality journalism and innovation in local television newsrooms across the country.
Part of Knight's efforts to promote digital transformation and innovation in journalism, the grants include $1.9 million to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University to create an innovation hub with AZPBS (the public television station operated by the university) that will enable students and faculty to collaborate with journalists and executives from commercial and public television stations and test new digital tools and storytelling forms as well as data, mobile delivery, and audience-engagement methods; $250,000 to the Emma Bowen Foundation in New York City in support of efforts to identify local television partners in cities where Knight invests and recruit twenty college students of color to work on journalism or media innovation projects during multiyear paid internships; and $390,000 to Investigative Reporters and Editors in Columbia, Missouri, to build a network of local television journalists committed to producing watchdog journalism through regional workshops, data boot-camp trainings, and a new digital TV Watchdog Network.
In addition, the Washington, D.C.-based Radio Television News Directors Foundation was awarded $55,000 for a conference that will promote high-quality reporting, innovation in the broadcast and digital news industry, and the importance of the First Amendment; while the Carole Kneeland Project for Responsible Television Journalism in Austin, Texas, will receive $50,000 to convene and train broadcast and digital newsroom leaders on a variety of topics, including community engagement, ethics, and digital strategy.
"With the changes in the media landscape, local television news is positioned to play a key role in supporting the future of informed and engaged communities," said Jennifer Preston, vice president of journalism at the foundation. "By increasing diversity and promoting innovation and investigative reporting, these projects will create a strong future for local television news."
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