Knight Foundation Awards $2.4 Million for 'J-Lab' Expansion

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced a $2.4 million grant to American University in Washington, D.C., to expand the operations of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, which moved to AU's School of Communication in June.

Founded in 2002 at the University of Maryland's Merrill College of Journalism, J-Lab helps journalists and citizens use digital technologies to develop new ways of participating in public life. The institute provides award and seed money to professional journalists, citizens, and new media entrepreneurs for innovations in journalism and community news; builds e-learning Web sites for interactive and citizen journalism; and engages in training and research.

J-Lab will use the grant to renew the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovation in Journalism; fund sixteen New Voices citizen-media projects; create up to ten Knight Citizen News Network learning modules; and update the J-Lab, J-Learning, and New Voices Web sites. The funding also will enable J-Lab to launch five Networked Community News pilot projects, teaming five newspapers with citizen media outlets in their communities; build a community media toolkit to help foundations fund, vet, support, and measure local media projects; and ramp up knowledge sharing with a re-imagining journalism project.

"I am excited that we have the opportunity to expand our programs in a place as full of energy and focus on innovation as AU's School of Communication," said Jan Schaffer, the founder and executive director of J-Lab and a former editor and Pulitzer Prize winner for the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Our new affiliation is a good fit for J-Lab's mission, which is to help transform journalism for today and reinvent it for tomorrow."

"J-Lab Moves to American University; Draws $2.4 Million Grant From Knight Foundation." John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Press Release 08/06/2008.