The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced grants totaling $1 million for projects focused on combating the spread of misinformation online.
In March, the foundation, in partnership with the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation, issued an open call for ideas around the question: How might we improve the flow of accurate information? On Thursday, in conjunction with the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference in Phoenix, the foundation announced grants of $50,000 each to twenty projects designed to combat the spread of misinformation online and improve the flow of accurate information in the media. Awarded through the Knight Prototype Fund, a program focused on iterative and human-centered approaches to solving difficult problems, the grants will fund efforts aligned with three broad themes — citizen journalism and news engagement; media, news, and information literacy; and fact checking.
Selected from more than eight hundred applicants, the recipients include the University of Washington's Calling Bullshit in the Age of Fake News, which will use the funds to develop a course curriculum and tools designed to teach readers how to assess quantitative information and combat misinformation; the News Inequality Project, which will use its grant to develop a Web-based analytics dashboard that helps media organizations and community organizers understand how and how often different communities are covered in news outlets; Veracity.ai, which is creating lists of "fake news" websites and easy-to-deploy tools that allow ad buyers to block, in bulk, domains that propagate misinformation; and PolitiFact's Facts Matter, which is working to improve trust in fact-checking through in-person events, a mobile game, and a study of the language used in fact-checking reports to determine their effect on perceptions of trustworthiness.