Through its news applications desk, the Pulitzer Prize-winning nonprofit investigative journalism organization develops interactive, Web-based databases that tell a story using software instead of words and pictures. The grant from the Knight Foundation will enable ProPublica to provide more applications across a wider range of subjects, as well as free training seminars at the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and Online News Association annual conferences.
Grant funds also will be used to create a job shadowing program that enables journalists from other news operations to spend several days at ProPublica's office in New York City developing a news application and learning best practices in the field. Journalists participating in the program will be chosen by a panel of judges, including Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership head Dan Sinker, New York University professor and author Clay Shirky, and ProPublica's Scott Klein and Richard Tofel.
"Although computers have been used in journalism since the late 1960s, we believe we're now present at the creation of a new and exciting approach: Using computers not just to gather and analyze data, but to tell stories that otherwise could not be told," said Klein. "News applications let readers find their own stories within big data. Because this new discipline is still forming, it requires more practitioners, and faces risks as newsrooms across the country struggle to fund innovation. Knight Foundation's investment in our news applications work at ProPublica should pay meaningful dividends as we open our code and our newsroom."