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Throwing News At The Wall To See What Sticks

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The reality is, no one knows what to expect.

MARC FEST: We don’t know what we’re going to find.

Marc Fest is the VP for Communications at the Knight Foundation, which has invested more than $400 million on traditional journalism programs since 1950. Two years ago, the foundation decided to put $25 million over five years into non-traditional digital media start ups.

FEST: Because of all the change that is taking place, we have decided that the best thing one can do right now is to foster experimentation. We have multiple experiments going on, but whether they are going to be leading to sustainable solutions remains to be seen.

Among the Knight experiments, there’s Spot.us, a website where journalists and readers propose stories and seek donations. If enough money comes in to cover reporting expenses, the story is told. EveryBlock.com pulls together restaurant violations, permit applications and crime reports for neighborhoods. Lisa Williams got money to build Placeblogger, a site where people can find hyperlocal news about their community.

This program aired on March 31, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Martha Bebinger Twitter Reporter
Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR.

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