Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Google Gives Away $5 million In Grants To Help Digital Journalism

Google has granted $5 million to non-profit organizations that are working to develop new approaches to journalism in the digital age. Those grants include $2 million for The Knight Foundation (no not that night foundation) as well as an additional $3 million to be spent internationally.

“Clearly journalism is fundamental of a functioning society and democracy,” said Chris Gaither senior manager of news industry relations at Google. ”We have been doing lots of things working directly with news publishers to try and figure out ways to ease the transition to digital.”

Google has said that half of the $2 million grant sent to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has a proven track record of supporting programs that drive innovation in journalism, will be used to support U.S. grant-making. While the other $1 million will augment the Knight News Challenge, which is accepting funding proposals from anyone, anywhere in the world, until December 1. Now in its fifth year, the News Challenge has supported projects like DocumentCloud, which aims to bring more investigative-reporting source material online so anyone can find and read it.

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.

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.

“This is an enormously important vote of confidence by the industry leader. We welcome Google’s support,” said Alberto Ibarg├╝en, President of Knight Foundation. He added, “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.”

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