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Cronkite School opens alumni applications for Knight Innovation Grant


Knight-Cronkite Innovation Grant

Over the past year and a half, the Cronkite School has awarded 15 grants totaling more than $190,000 through the Knight-Cronkite Alumni Innovation Grant for projects that range from experiments in virtual reality and other new ways to engage digital-native audiences to the development of a crowdfunding tool for background checks on public officials.

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April 26, 2016

Journalists seeking to innovate in their newsrooms can find support in a grant program sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for graduates of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The Knight-Cronkite Alumni Innovation Grants provide up to $15,000 for projects that introduce innovative practices or tools in newsrooms.

Over the past year and a half, the school has awarded 15 grants totaling more than $190,000 for projects that range from experiments in virtual reality and other new ways to engage digital-native audiences to the development of a crowdfunding tool for background checks on public officials and a new kind of digital newspaper rack.

Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen announced the grant program during the Cronkite School’s May 2014 convocation ceremony, during which he challenged Cronkite graduates to disrupt the status quo in newsrooms.

Applications for the last round of grants are being accepted through July 1, 2016, at https://cronkite.asu.edu/alumni/knight-cronkite-alumni-innovation-grant/application. Winners will be notified before the end of July.

To be eligible, applicants must be Cronkite School graduates working in newsrooms. They also must demonstrate they have support from their news organizations’ leadership and technology departments, and they must report project outcomes to the Cronkite School.

Recent recipients include:

  • Cailyn Bradley, a 2012 graduate who serves as an associate producer for Discovery Digital Networks, is using a grant to produce a virtual reality project to explore the criminal justice system from the perspective of a prisoner.
  • Jayson Peters, a 2001 graduate and digital media director of the Pueblo Chieftain in Pueblo, Colorado, is building a digital media studio with new tools and technologies to inspire staff to innovate and expand storytelling options.
  • Danielle Peterson, a 2005 graduate who is a photographer at the Statesman Journal newspaper in Salem, Oregon, is working with other staff members to develop a mobile app allowing readers to easily search for hikes and other recreational opportunities in Oregon.
  • Bruce Tomaso, a 1975 Cronkite graduate who is an assistant metro editor at the Dallas Morning News, is using the grant to explore new ways to engage digital-native audiences, with a focus on the paper’s opinion content.

Some of the Cronkite School’s most important programs are supported by the Knight Foundation, including Carnegie-Knight News21, a national fellowship program in which top journalism students conduct investigations into issues critical to Americans; the Public Insight Network Bureau, a specialized news bureau where students work with professional news organizations to deepen their connections to audiences; and the Knight Chair in Journalism, a tenured professorship at Cronkite currently held by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Doig.

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