SND to expand training, build learning network with $200,000 Knight grant

Today Knight Foundation is announcing $200,000 in new support for the Society for News Design. The official press release is below. SND is extremely grateful for the support and the opportunity to work with Knight. This is the largest grant in SND history. A huge thank-you to board members Kyle Ellis and Tyson Evans for their roles in shaping this proposal, and to Bonita Burton for her editing expertise.
— Stephen Komives

Click here for the official press release.

Click here for more background.

Society for News Design to expand digital journalism training, build learning network with $200,000 from Knight Foundation

Orlando, Fla. – Dec. 7, 2016 – To help journalists and newsrooms adopt new tools and products that address audience needs, the Society for News Design will expand its training opportunities and broaden the reach of its network to include more technologists, data journalists and product designers. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is supporting the effort with a $200,000 grant over the next two years.

The Society for News Design creates, promotes and teaches the best visual journalism skills and user-feedback driven design techniques, working with journalists to create innovations focused on audience engagement and community needs. The organization serves 884 members at all levels in digital and print journalism: students, entry-level professionals, mid-level managers, high-ranking editors and publishers.

Knight has previously supported Society for News Design’s efforts to advance journalism innovation in the digital age. With new funding, the Society for News Design will launch a series of webinars and boot camps created by industry thought leaders in areas including data visualization, product design and other skills of growing relevance.

In recent years, the practice of design has become more complex, expanding to include the creation of user experiences on different devices; animation and 3-D for video; product development; and design thinking, an approach that incorporates feedback from users when developing new ideas. These are all skills that modern journalists are expected to understand. The Society for News Design plans to bridge that gap through a robust network that shares best practices in design. The society will also expand digital offerings at its annual workshop, creating a more focused experience in in-person training and peer-to-peer learning.

“Clarity and trust have never been more important in news delivery,” said Society for News Design President Sara Quinn. “People encounter much of the world through the prism of design, technology and storytelling. Crafting that prism is central to our mission – and we have the opportunity to further our work because of Knight’s continued support.”

In addition to expanding its training offerings, Society for News Design will create a new position for a digital director, who will expand the organization’s membership reach. The director will champion, question and explain the most pressing issues of news design and platforms, using a multitude of forums from articles and essays to interviews and debates. The director will strengthen the voice of the society by supervising the creation of these learning materials online and in person at industry events.

With previous Knight support, Society for News Design bolstered its digital training efforts and identified the need to evolve quickly and build on an increasingly digitally-minded membership base. In the coming year, the Society for News Design plans to train hundreds of journalists and students, representing a diverse range of expertise, roles and other demographics.

“Developing design and technology skills that take into account audience needs and preferences has become a journalism imperative,” said Shazna Nessa, Knight Foundation director for journalism. “With this in mind, strengthening the Society for News Design’s work is important to newsrooms and the field. Journalists need more opportunities to learn, connect and share new approaches and innovations.”

Support for the Society for News Design is part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to expand digital journalism training opportunities, support emerging leaders and strengthen the network of people working to advance the practice of journalism.

For more information on the Society for News Design and its programs, visit

About the Society for News Design

The Society for News Design’s mission is to invent, make, promote and teach the world’s best visual journalism. Additionally, it seeks to:

* Promote the highest ethical standards in all of our crafts
* Champion visual journalism as an integral discipline
* Educate journalists on a continuing basis
* Celebrate excellence in all aspects of journalism
* Encourage innovation throughout our industry
* Provide a forum for critical review and discussion of issues
* Value our unique and diverse international and multicultural character.

For more, visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit


Stephen Komives, Executive Director, Society for News Design, 407-420-7748, [email protected]

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, [email protected]

About Stephen Komives

Previously served as Executive Director of the Society for News Design, from 2009–2019.


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