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Linking Audiences to News: A Network Analysis of Chicago Websites

September 16, 2011 in Community, Distribution, Resources

A new report for The Chicago Community Trust analyzes news flows in Chicago and provides a thought-provoking analysis of the city’s emerging news ecosystem and the roles of key information providers and sharers. It also shows the potential power of Web savvy community news start ups and nontraditional information providers as a new news environment takes shape.

This latest report is “Linking Audiences to News – A Network Analysis of Chicago Websites” (pdf) by Rich Gordon, professor of digital media at Medill, and Zachary Johnson, CEO of Syndio Social.

Together with last year’s News That Matters, a survey to determine how news Chicago residents actually define their information needs, the Trust research is a refreshing departure from more traditional research frames that focus on institutional providers of information without fully connecting them to what consumers actually receive and what they say they need.

In the dynamic local news environment, it’s impossible to predict the shape of things to come. But this report clearly signals the emergence of institutional information sources (the local transportation agency, the museum) and micro local news start ups as key players.” SourceMichelle McLellan, Community Information Needs


Knight News Innovation Laboratory at Northwestern University

September 5, 2011 in Community, Experiments, Resources, Technology

Responding to the critical need for dramatic improvements in the digital tools used by journalists and community news and information providers, Northwestern University and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announce a four-year, $4.2 million grant to create the Knight News Innovation Laboratory at Northwestern.

The Knight Lab, the first of its kind in the country, is a joint initiative of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern. It will bring journalists and computer scientists together to accelerate local media innovation by creating new digital tools, building partnerships with media organizations and expanding the media innovation community.

“To advance journalism excellence in the digital age, we must use the tools of the digital age,” said Eric Newton, vice president of the journalism program at Knight Foundation. “We hope this pioneering partnership between a school of journalism and a school of engineering will demonstrate how a major university can speed up media innovation in its surrounding community.”

The Knight Lab’s mission is to improve the news and information people use to run their communities and their lives. It will partner with media organizations in the Chicago area to test, deploy and refine technologies that help them create and package content, engage audiences and improve their capacity to finance an improved flow of local news and information. The lab will work with all kinds of organizations – from large commercial media companies to nonprofit organizations that serve niche audiences – to foster an environment of innovation that can be replicated elsewhere.” SourceKnight Foundation