Embed an expert: Mozilla offers news orgs access to digital innovators

It’s not always easy for a print dinosaur to transition into the online world. In these days of bleeding budgets and shrinking newsrooms, not a lot of news orgs have the capacity to hire savvy programmers or technology experts. As result, with the exception of a few innovative data experimenters (The New York Times and UK’s The Guardian, for instance), most newsrooms don’t do much beyond plopping a print story online. Most don’t even include hyperlinks.

In hopes of giving the most outdated news organizations a much-needed
online boost, the Knight Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation have
teamed up to create a fellowship program designed to “embed” data and
online journalists and developers into newsrooms.

The Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership will be directed by Mozilla, with the help of $2.5-million in funding from the Knight Foundation. The first recipients of embeds are the BBC, The Guardian, the Boston Globe and Germany’s Zeit Online.

Matthew Ingram, writing for Gigaom.com, notes that while the Knight Foundation has a long history of supporting journalism, Mozilla is just entering the media game. Ingram writes:

“According to a statement from executive director Mark Surman, the foundation was interested in helping with the Knight project because “news and the web are intertwined” and “both are critical to keeping our economies and our communities strong.” The project is part of the foundation’s Mozilla Drumbeat initiative, which is aimed at fostering support for the open web.”

Silicon Valley Watchers Tom Foremski notes a potential flaw with starting the program with larger news organizations. These guys probably don’t need as much help as smaller media players do. But Knight and Mozilla say they hope to help as many organizations as possible — you can get your application here.