The (Good) Knight Challenge

The Knight Brothers Foundation, philanthropic offshoot of one of the great newspaper empires of the past, will offer $5 million in 2007, and $25 million over the next five years to support “new ideas, pilot projects, commercial products and leadership initiatives that will improve the flow of information and news in the public interest … The award is open to non-profits, companies and individuals.”

This is so exciting that I have to force myself to focus on details. December 1 is a critical deadline to express interest and make sure your idea fits the parameters of what is being called “The Knight Brothers 21st Century News Challenge. Foundation officer Gary Kebbel explains some of the whys and wherefores in an interview with Online Journalism Review.

The contest home page is designed to answer questions and lead you through the winnowing process. The December 1st letter, for instance, is an outline. If your idea doesn’t seem like the foundation’s cup of tea they will presumably wave you off before you spin your wheels.

In one snippet Kebbel tells OJR:

“We would love it if a brilliant high school kid submits an idea and we get the chance to recognize it for its potential. Typically, foundations give money to other non-profit organizations. And what we’re doing that’s different with this, is that we’re giving money — or saying that we are able to and planning to — give money to individuals, to other non-profits, or to commercial entities or to for-profit companies. It could be a company with two employees, who are trying to get off the ground. It could be an arm of a much more established company, if indeed what that arm is doing is creating a product that helps improve life in physical communities.”

For the Bay Area only She recently celebrated her 86th birthday but senior White House correspondent Helen Thomas is still kicking ass and taking names. You can meet the curmudgeon-in-chief of the Capitol Press corps on Thursday, October 12, from 6-10 pm when she appears in San Francisco at a fundraiser for the Media Alliance, which has been tilting at windmills — in its case, mass media — for 30 years. It’s a fundraiser so tickets are $75. Find out more about the event or order tickets online. Here’s a piece I wrote about a previous Media Alliance event on consolidation.