The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced grants totaling $4.5 million to launch an initiative aimed at building a stronger future for journalism.
The initiative will be anchored by the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy, a group of leaders committed to creating more informed and engaged communities, and will be chaired by Jamie Woodson, executive chair and CEO of Tennessee's State Collaborative on Reforming Education, and Tony Marx, president of the New York Public Library. Funded by a $2 million grant from the Knight Foundation, the Aspen Institute-led commission will explore the causes of and solutions tor the erosion of trust in democratic institutions, with a focus on the press.
To that end, the initiative has announced grants totaling more than $2.5 million to seven projects working to improve trust in news organizations and build stronger connections between journalists and their audiences. Recipients include Cortico, which was awarded $900,000 to build a platform designed to help newsrooms tell the stories of people whose voices have gone unheard; the Duke University Reporters' Lab, which will receive $880,000 to launch an innovation hub designed to expand the network of organizations building fact-checking tools; and the Reynolds Journalism Institute, which was awarded $100,000 to expand Trusting News, an effort to develop news engagement experiments and train journalists how to build the trust of their audiences.
The initiative will encompass the existing Knight Prototype Fund, which works to foster accurate information in media, and Newsmatch, a partnership with Democracy Fund that awards matching grants to nonprofit and investigative news outlets.
"The challenges posed by rising mistrust in media and the rampant spread of misinformation in the digital age raise urgent concerns about the future of journalism," said Jennifer Preston, vice president for journalism at the Knight Foundation. "These projects aim to bring communities and journalists closer together and help create long-term solutions to the problem of misinformation."
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