Northwestern University and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced a four-year, $4.2 million grant to create the Knight News Innovation Laboratory, a collaboration between journalists and engineers, according to a press release. The lab will work with media organizations in the Chicago area to create engaging, technological news content.
This announcement comes after the creation of three undergraduate classes open to both journalism and engineering majors over the last two years, said Owen Youngman, Knight Professor of Digital Media Strategy at the Medill School of Journalism. Those classes and the lab are both parts of the Medill-McCormick Center for Innovation in Technology, Media and Journalism, created in 2009.
“For journalists, technology has kind of become the air we breathe,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to rely on it to get the info that people need into their hands.”
The lab’s first task will be evaluating submissions to the Knight News Challenge, which are news-related technology ideas funded by the Knight Foundation.
The Knight Foundation has granted more than $400 million towards the advancement of journalism since 1950.
In the future, the Knight Lab will look to expand beyond the disciplines of engineering and journalism, Youngman said.
“We look forward to working with faculty colleagues to identify where classes can get involved as part of the base curriculum or new classes that we can create,” he said.