The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) will expand its work connecting global journalism leaders with U.S. news organizations through its signature Knight Fellowships program with a new US$5 million, five-year investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The ICFJ Knight Fellowships program has a proven record of spreading a culture of news innovation worldwide, helping newsrooms foster digital innovation and enhance their storytelling, audience engagement and business models. ICFJ Knight Fellows are entrepreneurial journalists and technology experts known for mapping new frontiers in global news media. Fellows have positioned scores of newsrooms to meet digital age demands. They have created more than 100 tools and pioneered cutting-edge storytelling in major news outlets on five continents, leading to the production of thousands of high-impact stories.
In addition to supporting the fellowship program, new Knight funding will also build on ICFJ’s success at seeding new ways to combat the spread of misinformation and disinformation. As this problem continues to affect countries across the world, the ICFJ Knight Fellowship program is uniquely positioned to deliver independent and trustworthy reporting essential for vibrant, democratic societies. The fellows have already helped launch fact-checking organizations in Africa and developed technologies to alert social media users when they share discredited articles in Latin America.
“We are thrilled that this new support will propel ICFJ’s Knight Fellowships into important new frontiers,” said ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan. “Fellows will help journalists to not only embrace innovations that enhance quality news but also promote new techniques to combat rampant disinformation.”
“At a time when misinformation is everywhere and the public is losing trust in institutions of all kinds, the exchange of ideas between newsrooms across borders is an imperative. The ICFJ Knight Fellowships answer this call, connecting journalists who embrace the possibilities of the digital age to inform and engage, while upholding the values of truth-seeking and fairness that guide excellent journalism,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism.
The reporting of Knight Fellows has led to the removal of fake malaria drugs off pharmacy shelves in Kenya. In Latin America, they have created an environment that enables digital media startups — often the only independent news sources there — to thrive. They also bring their insights to U.S. newsrooms to ensure that the best ideas travel across borders.
Other major funders have invested in the work of the Fellows. Donors have included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Google News Initiative and the Omidyar Network, among others.
Support for the International Center for Journalists is part of Knight Foundation's efforts to support journalistic excellence and innovation in the digital age. Knight has made many investments in this area, including the US$20 million local journalism fund established in collaboration with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
These fellows will share their experiences, insights and digital media expertise on IJNet on a regular basis.
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. It invests in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Its goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.
Main image of former ICFJ Knight Fellow Shaheryar Popalzai demonstrating 360 video in
Pakistan. Courtesy of ICFJ.