Google makes journalism innovation grant to Knight Foundation


Knight Foundation announced that it has received a $2 million grant from Google Inc. to support the foundation’s media innovation work.

“Journalism is fundamental to a functioning democracy, and we want to do our part to help fulfill the promise of journalism in the digital age,” said Nikesh Arora, President, Global Sales Operations and Business Development at Google. “There is no better partner to support innovation and experimentation in digital journalism than Knight Foundation.”

“This is an enormously important vote of confidence by the industry leader. We welcome Google’s support,” said Alberto Ibargüen, President of Knight Foundation. “The free flow of information is essential to a democratic society.  Already, more Americans get their information from the Internet than from newspapers.  That trend will only intensify, making it imperative for our democracy that we find ways to effectively deliver the news and information people require on the new, digital platforms. It is essential in this transformative time that we join with others to find ways in which information can be generally shared so that, in Jack Knight’s words, the people ‘may pursue their true interests.’  Google is the right partner.  We hope for many others,” he added.

During the last 5 years, Knight Foundation has invested more than $100 million in a multi-faceted media innovation initiative. Its projects address media innovation on various levels, including national media policy, technology innovation, public media transformation and the evolution of the World Wide Web. Programs such as the Knight News Challenge, a media innovation contest, have to date spawned hundreds of community media experiments and other projects.

The foundation works with a wide cross section of innovators and leaders. They range from young entrepreneurs and new online news operations to established news organizations, universities and experts like Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.

Knight also sponsors the Knight Community Information Challenge, a contest that seeks to engage community foundations from across the country in efforts to meet the information needs of their communities. Knight matches local community foundations projects and invests up to $4 million each year in this contest.
The foundation sponsored the Knight Commission on Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy at the Aspen Institute, co-chaired by Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of geographic and local services, and by Theodore Olson, former United States Solicitor General.  The Knight Commission made recommendations to extend broadband access to all Americans, and on media literacy. The report has been cited by the Federal Communications Commission as authority for its Internet policies.
Knight also supports digital programs in libraries around the country that wish to serve as Internet hubs, particularly in underserved communities.  In the area of digital literacy, Knight has supported innovation in the development of news literacy curriculum at SUNY/Stony Brook that serves as a model.  The foundation has been the main funder of digital training programs for NPR staff as they seek to advance journalism excellence in the digital age.