The project that almost got away

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In an excerpt from NPR Media Correspondent David Folkenflik’s book Page One: Inside The New York Times and the Future of Journalism, Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen details the lessons learned thus far on the foundation’s ongoing Knight News Challenge grants.

“Sometimes we missed a good idea on the first pass,” Ibargüen admits. “Toward the end of one year’s contest process, I asked Gary Kebbel, then program director at Knight, to review a range of rejected applications to make sure we weren’t missing something obvious. He came back with what has become hNews, a project proposed by the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, to write computer code to address the issue of authenticity of information on the Web. Their team created microformats to identify the source of important elements cited in every news story such as its origin, date and location, and whether it had been corrected. When Gary and I talked about it, I’m not sure whether we were happier to have found a gem of an idea or relieved we hadn’t missed something so obvious.”

To date, Knight has awarded $23 million to 56 media innovators chosen from more than 10,000 entries.

Folkenflik’s book, just published by Participant Media, is a companion to Andrew Rossi’s documentary on the newspaper.