By Knight Foundation, Democracy Fund and Google News Initiative

Access to accurate, fact-based news and information is critical for the well-being of individuals, communities and local government. As local news outlets face business challenges, philanthropy is helping fill gaps by supporting organizations who provide vital local information.

While tactics for providing this support may vary, many local news funders struggle to assess whether that community’s information environment is actually becoming healthier.

In response, the Google News Initiative, Democracy Fund and Knight Foundation commissioned Impact Architects to develop a framework and playbook to help communities assess the health of their local news ecosystems.

The new report “Healthy Local News &…

Just a few years ago, Americans were overwhelmingly optimistic about the power of new technologies to foster an informed and engaged society. More recently, however, that confidence has been challenged by emerging concerns over the role that internet and technology companies — especially social media — now play in our democracy.

In a series of new reports, Gallup and Knight Foundation explore the shifting landscape and how policymakers and technology companies might adapt to face evolving challenges concerning a host of issues, including how to control the spread of misleading and harmful content as well as false political ads online.

By Steven Waldman

The appetite for a “public service” approach is strong but the on-the-ground challenges in newsrooms are real

Report for America has grown rapidly. The program — which places emerging journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities — went from 13 corps members in 2018–19, to 59 in 2019–20 to 250 in 2020–21 (starting in June).

We’re expanding that fast because the size of the crisis demands it. But that means we will be making plenty of mistakes along the way, and have to constantly learn and reassess. …

By Alan C. Miller

After I was asked to write this piece about trust and local news, I recalled that CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite was, for years, described as “the most trusted man in America,” based on the results of a 1972 survey. As I looked for more information, I discovered, thanks to articles in The New Yorker and Slate, that the survey was flawed: Cronkite was the only non-politician listed (others included President Richard Nixon, Vice President Spiro Agnew and assorted candidates for president, senator and governor).

The idea that this description persisted throughout the venerated newsman’s career and beyond intrigued…

On November 20, Knight Foundation released a new report, “High School Student Views On The First Amendment: Trends in the 21st Century.” Joan Donovan shares insights below. For more insights, read this post by Knight’s Evette Alexander and this post by Dr. Emily Chamlee-Wright.

By Joan Donovan

In the recent Knight Foundation report on “ High School Student Views on the First Amendment, “ researchers surveyed U.S. students across different demographics to gain an understanding of how they view First Amendment protections. Overall, they find that for the last 15 years, student support for First Amendment has increased; however, if you look closely…

A new report released by Knight Foundation shows that young adults are concerned about the impact of news on democracy and unity in the country, expressing that news sources divide and polarize citizens.

Conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, the report analyzes the findings of a survey of 1,660 adults between the ages of 18 and 34. It includes large samples of African American and Hispanic participants in order to explore beliefs and behaviors across races and ethnicities.

The report found that young adults interact with the news frequently with 88 percent accessing news at least weekly, including…

As concerns over free speech, declining trust in news and the impact of misinformation surge, a new report explores how high-school students’ attitudes about the First Amendment are evolving and what that means for the future of our democracy.

Released today, the national study of 9,774 high school students and 498 teachers is the eighth in a series of surveys of high school students and teachers commissioned by Knight Foundation over the last 12 years. This year’s survey incorporated several questions from Gallup’s Free Expression on Campus survey of college students released in 2018 in order to compare the two.

On Dec. 3, 2018, Knight Foundation announced a $37 million investment in Miami’s growing arts ecosystem. Learn more about the announcement here.

Arts and culture have been a centerpiece of Miami’s transformation for more than a decade. From the Art Basel art fair — a mecca for international curators and collectors — to several new world-class facilities, Miami has seen an explosion in artistic, creative and cultural activity since 2005.

Miami Mountain by Ugo Rondinone is a public artwork in the permanent collection of The Bass. Photography by Zachary Balber.

A new report commissioned by Knight Foundation looks at this transformation. It reveals the wide impact the arts have had in a decade, becoming part of the fabric of the…

On Oct. 31, 2018, Knight Foundation announced a $20 million investment to strengthen the arts in Detroit. Learn more about the announcement here.

The Great Recession hit Detroit’s arts community hard, just as it did nearly every sector of the city’s and the country’s economy. The real story is what came after.

Mokoomba performs at Detroit’s 25th Concert of Colors, presented by the Arab American National Museum and supported by Knight Foundation. Photo courtesy of the Concert of Colors; color manipulations added by Knight Foundation.

The city came together around the arts. Through the “Grand Bargain,” philanthropic and public capital helped Detroit move through bankruptcy quickly, and corporations and foundations doubled down on their commitment to the sector as a whole. …

By Karen Rundlet

If news and information are part of the fabric of democracy, then the fabric of U.S. democracy is in tatters. That’s the conclusion that leaps off the map in the 2018 The Expanding News Deserts report, which shows that 171 U.S. counties do not have a local newspaper, and nearly half all counties — 1,449 — have only one newspaper, usually a weekly.

The report by Penelope Muse Abernathy, Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina, shines the light on a silent phenomenon, the disappearance of 1,800 newspapers since 2004…

Knight Foundation

Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

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