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Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner Will Receive the
First Knight Innovation Award from Knight Foundation
Gardner to speak at the Knight Innovation Award ceremony at the CUNY
Graduate School of Journalism on December 16
Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, the
operating foundation for the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, will
receive the first Knight Innovation Award in recognition of her bold
international leadership in digital media and universal Internet
access. After she joined the organization, Wikipedia grew dramatically
to become the fifth most-visited website in the world. Meanwhile,
Gardner established herself as a leader in the struggle for Internet
freedom and access.
Gardner will receive a $25,000 award and will grant another $25,000 to
a startup of her choice in support of innovation and entrepreneurship
in news and information.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation established the Knight
Innovation Award, hosted by the City University of New York’s Graduate
School of Journalism and its Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial
Journalism. Gardner will announce the recipient of the startup award
and speak on innovation during a Dec. 16 (6pm) ceremony at the CUNY
Graduate School of Journalism.
When Gardner joined the Wikimedia Foundation in 2007, it raised less
than $3 million a year. By 2011, the organization raised $23 million.
In 2012, she partnered with Orange and Telenor, two European
telecommunications companies, to launch Wikipedia Zero, a program to
provide Wikipedia free-of-data-charges to millions of users across
Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. The same year, she led a
full-day Wikipedia blackout to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act and
the Protect Intellectual Property Act, one of the only major websites
to do so.
“Sue’s extraordinary vision for Internet freedom and openness has
helped guide the rapidly changing world of journalism into the digital
age,” said Michael Maness, Knight Foundation vice president of
journalism and media innovation. “Her outstanding accomplishments,
first as a journalist and then as leader of the Wikimedia Foundation,
have set a firm footing for the future. CUNY, itself an innovator in
journalism education and entrepreneurship, is a perfect partner for
this new award.”
Jeff Jarvis, director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial
Journalism, said, “We are committed to supporting new models for
sustainable journalism and to incorporating technology developments as
our industry transforms. Sue’s work clearly demonstrates her alignment
with these goals. We are delighted to honor her for her brave and
creative actions and accomplishments.”
Gardner, a native of Port Hope, Ontario, Canada, began her career at
the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a national public radio
organization. Her background as a reporter and producer has given her
essential insights as she develops best practices for the future of
Incoming CUNY Graduate School of Journalism Dean Sarah Bartlett said,
“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with Knight
Foundation, which has supported us for three years, on another
initiative that contributes to the advancement of our industry. Sue
Gardner certainly deserves to be celebrated for her work. Our
institution couldn't be more pleased to co-host this historic event.”
About the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism
The Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism was established
in 2010 to help create a sustainable future for quality journalism
through education, research, and incubation.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality
journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster
the arts. The Foundation believes that democracy thrives when people
and communities are informed and engaged.
About the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in midtown Manhattan is the
only publicly supported graduate journalism school in the Northeast.
Opened in 2006 under Founding Dean Stephen B. Shepard, the School
offers a 16-month Master of Arts in Journalism program that includes a
required paid professional summer internship. It was also first in
the nation to offer an M.A. in Entrepreneurial Journalism, beginning
in 2011. Taught by award-winning journalists from top media
organizations, students learn to tell stories using print, broadcast,
and interactive formats while getting rigorous instruction in
reporting, writing, critical thinking, and journalism ethics. Students
also specialize in one of five subject areas: arts & culture, business
& economics, health & medicine, international, or urban reporting.
Amy Dunkin, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism,
Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L.
Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, media(a)knightfoundation.org
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