From Journalism to Information: The Transformation of the Knight Foundation and News Innovation

Seth C. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Amid the digital disruption for journalism, the U.S.-based Knight Foundation has made a highly publicized effort to shape the nature of news innovation. This growing influence raises questions about what it is trying to accomplish for mass communication and society. This qualitative case study shows how and why the Knight Foundation has sought to change journalism by renegotiating its boundaries. Namely, by downplaying its own historical emphasis on professionalism, the foundation has embraced openness to outside influence-for example, the wisdom of the crowd, citizen participation, and a broader definition of "news." These rhetorical adaptations have paralleled material changes in the foundation's funding process, typified by the Knight News Challenge innovation contest. In recent times, the foundation has undergone a further evolution from "journalism" to "information." By highlighting its boundary-spanning interest in promoting "information" for communities, the Knight Foundation has been able to expand its capital and influence as an agent of change among fields and funders beyond journalism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-334
Number of pages26
JournalMass Communication and Society
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2012

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