This website is an initiative of J-Lab


About KCNN

The Knight Community News Network is a self-help portal that guides both ordinary citizens and traditional journalists in launching and responsibly operating community news and information sites.

Knight Foundation:
Why support KCNN?

Citizens like you can learn to use digital media in ways that enrich community, enhance public discourse, and enliven democracy as we know it.

The Knight Community News Network is designed to show you how.

KCNN is a free online community where you, your neighbor, or anyone with access to the Internet, can learn to collect and present the news that you need to run your government and improve your life and the lives of others.

You will learn not just a technical skill, but core journalism values of fairness, accuracy and context, which can transform the merely technical into the useful, resonant and powerful. You will emerge a better trained, more honest and fair chronicler of news events.

Legendary journalist John S. Knight believed that the role of a good newspaper was “to bestir the people into an awareness of their own condition, provide inspiration for their thoughts and rouse them to pursue their true interests.”  In the world of digital media, that lofty charge falls to each of us. Welcome to the first step toward making the 21st Century more richly informed.

It seeks to help build capacity for citizens who want to start their own news ventures and to open the doors to citizen participation for traditional news organizations seeking to embrace user-generated content.

Above all it seeks to impart an understanding of the qualities that make for responsible and credible journalism. The Network will offer numerous learning modules with guidance on how to populate citizen news sites with content, how to use databases and new technology to jumpstart reporting, and how to train citizen journalists.  It will provide a unique database of known citizen media sites, searchable by town and other criteria.

It will also undertake and spotlight current research on citizen media trends.

The Network is an initiative of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, at American University’s School of Communication.  J-Lab administers the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism. It offers micro grants for citizen media start-ups through its New Voices program.  And it offers tutorials on how to use software and hardware to embark on community publishing at

The John F. and James L. Knight Foundation fully support The Knight Community News Network and J-Lab’s other citizen media activities.

NEXT: About The Network