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Digital Training Comes of Age

August 24, 2012 in Craft, Education, Resources, Technology

Journalists want to learn new digital tools and techniques. Will they be comfortable learning those things digitally, using webinars, e-learning and self-directed classes? If online education is easier to provide than ever, are news organizations rising to the occasion?

In its search for answers, this new Knight Foundation report details the Web-survey responses of 660 active alumni from the roughly 3,000 journalists who received Knight-branded professional development within the past two years.

  • Digital Training Comes of Age shows a growing demand for training as journalists adapt to the 21st century’s evolving media ecosystems. Journalists want more training in digital tools such as multimedia, data analysis and technology. Most give their news organizations low marks for providing training opportunities.
  • Digital classes are gaining popularity as a cost-effective way to reach more trainees. Significant numbers of journalists who have participated in online classes say they are as good as, or better than, conventional training in the classroom.
  • Training organizations are adapting to the digital age. They are providing more training online and rethinking how their programs can foster the transformation of journalism.
  • Professional development has impact. Training helps journalists adopt new digital tools, create change in their organizations, or find new ways to be part of the news ecosystem.
  • Continuing education drives change in forward-looking organizations. Training and staff development helps them achieve their goals and become more adaptive.” Source: The Knight Foundation

Based on the 660 journalists surveyed, the Knight survey identified the following 10 key points:

  1. Lack of training is a major source of job dissatisfaction.
  2. Overwhelmingly, journalists say they want more training.
  3. Increasingly, journalists want digital-tools training.
  4. Journalists say they aren’t getting the training they most need.
  5. Most journalists give their news organization poor marks for training.
  6. Journalists used their training and are likely to recommend it.
  7. Online training is growing more popular, especially internationally.
  8. Many journalists pay for their own training.
  9. News organizations must become learning organizations.
  10. Work focus shifts to digital and combined media.

The survey findings show a variety of reasons why news organizations today need to spend more time and resources toward professional development of their employees and include digital learning opportunities as much as possible.

This can be achieved by creating a “learning culture” in the newsroom.

This “learning culture” must be pervasive throughout the whole organization – from the top all the way to the bottom.

There are many ways that news ventures including nonprofits can start creating this kind of culture.” Source: NPJhub.org

From Competition to Cooperation: Engaging Cable, Satellite, Internet and Mobile Broadband Service Providers in Meeting the Information Needs of Communities

July 13, 2012 in Distribution, Policy, Resources

Filling gaps in accountability journalism, including waning statehouse coverage, was the central focus when the Center for Media Law and Policy, a joint project of the journalism and law schools at UNC, convened a day-long workshop Jan. 20, 2012, to reflect on the Federal Communication Commission’s 2011 report The Information Needs of Communities.

Report author Steven Waldman was among the participants. “Many a government report has evaporated into the ether after publication,” he said, so the series of workshops organized by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation represents an important model for leveraging a study like his create greater impact…

Because the UNC workshop’s task was to consider ways in which cable, satellite, Internet and mobile providers might contribute more to efforts to bolster accountability journalism, discussion cut across a range of topics broached in Waldman’s FCC report. The workshop could be seen as a barometer for gauging which of the report’s raft of recommendations seemed most urgent to local actors…

The UNC workshop revealed a surprising appetite for cross-industry cooperation. Because participants were especially interested in market-based and voluntary initiatives, the FCC’s role was limited in many discussions.” Source: From Competition to Cooperation report (pdf)

Challenge Fund for Journalism Report: Learning to Fish

June 27, 2012 in Experiments, Resources, Revenue

While it didn’t find one magic solution, a new study did show that nonprofit media are most likely to remain strong if they use certain strategies: things like seeking funding from diverse sources, engaging in in-person networking, and training board leaders to fundraise better.

The study, stemming from a seven-year experiment by the Challenge Fund for Journalism, involved donating $3.6 million in matching grants and coaching services to 53 nonprofit media companies—including CJR—to see if the diverse group would discover new revenue streams.

Participants did find new streams, with help from the matching grant guarantee, and CFJ found that those new sources were most likely to continue if organizations kept their donor lists up to date and made fundraising a daily task, rather than betting entirely on an annual gala. Funding also stayed stronger for companies producing a quality product with a well-organized business model. In other words, organizations that have their ducks in a row are best able to be, in a word used repeatedly in the report, “nimble,” in a fluctuating economy and shifting media environment” Source: Columbia Journalism Review

Knight Foundation Report: Getting Local: How Nonprofit News Ventures Seek Sustainability

March 11, 2012 in Community, Resources, Revenue, Technology

In the emerging landscape of non-profit news, good journalism is not enough. Even with generous foundation support, high-quality reporting alone will not create an organization that can sustain its ability to produce news in the public interest.

Instead, successful news organizations – even the nonprofit ones  – have to act like digital businesses, making revenue experimentation, entrepreneurship and community engagement important pieces of the mix. Understanding how to create social and economic value and how to adapt and innovate are just as important as good content.

…“Getting Local,” offers a detailed look at some of the country’s leading online local nonprofit news ventures, providing data on how they are generating revenue, engaging users and cultivating donors.

It also offers a useful way for foundations and others interested in supporting nonprofit news to think about and assess the sustainability of these types of emerging organizations.” Source: Getting Local: How Nonprofit News Ventures Seek Sustainability

Mobile Media Toolkit

February 8, 2012 in Craft, Distribution, Education, Resources, Technology

Mobile phones are everywhere in today’s world, and they have many applications for those in media. Most journalists already use mobiles phones, but the sheer number of tools and applications available makes it difficult to know the most effective way to use them. The proliferation of mobiles has greatly increased the number and capabilities of citizen reporters, but questions remain about the role of citizen reporting. The public is consuming more and more information on mobile phones, but media organizations need to learn how best to disseminate their content and reach out to the mobile market.

This is where the Mobile Media Toolkit comes in. There are many media projects that use mobiles effectively. There are also many tools and resources that can serve the potential needs of journalists, citizen reporters, and media organizations. The Mobile Media Toolkit is a collection of these tools and resources, as well as examples of how mobile phones can be and are being used in the media industry.The simple fact is that using mobile phones in media production isn’t always as easy as it seems.

Finding the right tool and using it correctly to reach the broadest possible audience requires knowledge of the mobile landscape. The need for guidance in the industry is apparent.

The Mobile Media Toolkit provides guidance on tools, resources, and case studies of how mobiles can be used for reporting, news broadcasting, and citizen media participation on a variety of platforms and in a variety of circumstances.” Source: Mobile Media Toolkit

Knight Digital Media Center

November 23, 2011 in Craft, Education, Resources, Technology

The Knight Digital Media Center was launched in April 2006 to focus on helping journalists succeed in the rapidly changing media landscape of the 21st Century.

The Center provides competitive fellowships to traditional journalists from print and broadcast media who seek multimedia skill training and want to make the transition to New Media journalism. The goal is to provide the foundation of technical skills and story-telling techniques required by New Media platforms. This training is done at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism under the supervision of Lanita Pace-Hinton, director of multimedia training programs for the Center.

For digitally fluent journalists, who have already crossed the bridge into New Media newsrooms, the Center provides training fellowships at USC Annenberg School for seminars focused on professional growth, critical thinking, digital leadership and news entrepreneurship. The goal is to increase the depth and sophistication of their work and their understanding of the changing news ecology. This training is under the supervision of Vikki Porter, director of the Center.

The Knight Digital Media Center is built on the foundation of the Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism which trained more than 750 professional journalists between 2000 and 2006, as well as providing at least 75,000 more journalists with access to resources and online training opportunities through the efforts of its fellows. Archives of the WKC seminars are available at WKConline.org.” Source: Knight Digital Media Center

Knight Report: Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age

October 25, 2011 in Community, Distribution, Policy, Resources

In April 2008, recognizing that technology is changing attitudes toward information in fundamental ways, Knight Foundation and the Aspen Institute formed the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. The purpose of the Commission was to examine the information needs of American communities in the digital age and to suggest recommendations to strengthen the free flow of information.

This report summarizes the findings and recommendations of the Knight Commission. Through public outreach, the commission garnered input from over 1,100 people online. In addition, experts and community members shared insights at public forums, where the commission pondered questions such as:

  • What are the information needs of a community in a democracy?
  • How is technology affecting the information needs of democracy in the United States?
  • What public policy directions would help lead us from where we are today to where we ought to be? Report Partner: This report was produced by the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy.

Report Contents

Knight Commission’s articulation of community information needs and the critical steps necessary to meet them requires pursuing three fundamental objectives:

  • Maximizing the Availability of Relevant and Credible Information to Communities: People need relevant and credible information to be free and self-governing.
  • Enhancing the Capacity of Individuals to Engage with Information: People need tools, skills and understanding to use information effectively.
  • Promoting Public Engagement: To pursue their true interests, people need to be engaged with information and with each other. The commission’s conclusions and recommendations follow each objective. Source: Knight Foundation

 

National Freedom of Information Coalition

October 12, 2011 in Community, Craft, Policy, Resources

The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) is a nonpartisan network of state and regional open government groups and advocates headquartered at the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Missouri. The organization’s ongoing work is supported, primarily, by a $2 million, three-year grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. NFOIC’s core work and mission includes public education and advocacy to foster government transparency, especially at the state and local levels. Key components of that work are grant making, convening and other services that help to strengthen and support affiliated state and regional groups. Another signature initiative, since the beginning of its current sustaining grant, is the administration of a legal fund to fuel and assist the pursuit of important FOI and access cases.

The NFOIC serves as the cornerstone of the movement to protect the public’s “right to know” through access to governmental records and meetings, particularly at the state and local levels. It also seeks to be an effective voice and champion for greater government transparency at all levels by educating about and defending against constant legislative and judicial threats that would erode hard-won rights of access and allow more governmental secrecy.” Source: Ken Bunting, Executive Director, NFOIC

 

The Future of Journalism Education

October 5, 2011 in Community, Education, Resources

If February’s weather kept you away from New York and the Future of Journalism Education conference at the Paley Center for Media, you weren’t alone. But you can still visit the center’s website to see some seven hours of streaming video about the needs of 21st century journalists, including  entrepreneurial ideas, new relationships with their audiences, new online tools — and, in the words of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative, “an in-depth understanding of the context and complexity of issues facing the modern world”…

Deans, faculty and students from 14 graduate schools of journalism participated in the Carnegie-funded event which, whether it solved anything or not, certainly featured well-informed and thought-provoking discussions…

From a newspaper perspective, panelists included executives and journalists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The St. Petersburg Times, the Associated Press  and The Guardian, whose New York bureau chief described a contemporary reporting position — his own — in which he can write a 2,000-word analysis in the morning and “tweet” his way through an afternoon typing 140-character online Twitter updates from another news event.

The Future of Journalism Education event (well-Tweeted itself by @paleycenter and others as #paleynews), included an hour-long discussion by Alberto Ibargüen and Vartan Gregorian of the Knight and Carnegie foundations, respectively, and a roundtable on the Carnegie-Knight Initiative‘s News 21 journalism education project.” SourceNewspaper and Online News

The Knight Foundation Shares What They’re Learning

September 16, 2011 in Education, Experiments, Resources, Revenue

“The Knight Foundation uses assessment as a tool for planning, learning and improvement.

In partnership with our grantees, we work to support media innovation, community engagement and the arts. Evaluating our efforts in these areas provides us with the opportunity to learn collectively about what’s working most effectively. The purpose of our assessment activities is to provide timely and actionable insights that help our grantees strengthen the implementation of their projects and help our program teams design and execute their strategies.
We strive to create a culture of shared learning that increases our grantees’ impact and advances the foundation’s mission by supporting ongoing improvement and adaptation.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Certain core principles guide our approach to assessment:

  • Assessment should provide actionable information tied to key decision making and planning efforts.
  • Assessment should be as participatory and collaborative as possible, so that grantees have ownership over the process and the findings.
  • Assessment should be integrated into all aspects of our work, rather than treated as something that only happens when a project ends.
  • Assessment should be shared publicly with the field to communicate what we and our grantees are learning, so that all can benefit.” Source: The Knight Foundation