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Nine universities and nonprofits have awarded more than $1.2 million from the Knight Foundation to fight misinformation in communities of color

Press release | Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced that nine universities and nonprofit organizations have received more than $1.2 million to work on projects aimed at identifying solutions that help news organizations and society civil society to expose and reduce the impact of misinformation on communities of color. The winners were winners of an open call for proposals from Knight that advances independent research, partnerships, tools and interventions to counter misinformation.

Knight believes democracy thrives when citizens are informed and engaged. The open call sought to find a broad and diverse set of experts to address the ways in which misinformation disproportionately impacts the accuracy of information communities of color receive and hinders their engagement in democratic processes.

The winning proposals represented a wide range of methods and approaches to this societal challenge and spanned a wide geographic area – from partnering with local churches and school districts, to countering misinformation among southern Spanish-speaking populations. Texas, to community misinformation. interventions in the predominantly black neighborhood on the south side of Syracuse. In two cities in Knight, St. Paul and Miami, Florida, grantees will focus on scalable models to address misinformation within the Black community; and research and report on disinformation operations targeting Latino voters in the upcoming 2022 election.

“Recent scholarship shows that communities of color are often targeted to discourage participation in the civic and political life of our country,” said John Sands, senior director of media and democracy at Knight. “This challenge is not going away, but projects like these show promising avenues. They leverage community connections and expertise to test and better understand the mechanisms that build resilience to misinformation.

This cohort joins the Knight Research Network, a sprawling network of scholars and policy experts in a growing field of study that seeks to understand and proactively inform responses to the role of digital media in our society. Since 2019, Knight has committed more than $55 million for independent research and policy analysis that can improve the quality of online information and foster informed engagement in the democratic process.

“This funding opportunity has allowed me to explore creating solutions and building bridges in ways that I otherwise could not have envisioned,” said Danielle K. Brown, project manager and grantee. a Knight Fellowship at the University of Minnesota. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to embark on this new branch of my research, building data that centers the perspectives and concerns of Black communities in the Minneapolis/St Paul area.”

Learn more about the winners of the open call and their projects:

University of Minnesota
“Trusted Messengers Can Leverage Connections to Combat Misinformation About Black Communities in Black Communities”
Directed by Danielle K. Brown
Develop a scalable model to counter misinformation/misinformation in black communities

Texas University of Technology
“Lectern, Audiences, and Practitioners: Addressing Misinformation and Misinformation About COVID-19 in Hispanic Communities in the South Texas Plains”
Directed by Lucinda Holt, Ryan Litsey, Kent Wilkinson
Educate and support Spanish-speaking populations in the Southern Plains to identify and combat misinformation and disinformation by connecting them to trusted messages

University of Texas-Austin and Rutgers University
“Combating disinformation campaigns against diaspora communities on encrypted messaging apps”
Directed by Samuel Woolley and Kiran Garimella
Investigate and report on how communities of color are being targeted by misinformation on encrypted messaging platforms, how they are responding, and what different stakeholders can do to support them; and leverage these findings to create an end-to-end system to monitor and verify WhatsApp content from Asian and Latin American Diaspora communities.

Florida International University/Miami Herald
“Miami Latinos Misled: How Political Interests Seek to Sway the 2022 Election”
Led by Elena Maria Villar, Susan Jacobson (FIU); Casey Frank, Tabassum Zakaria (Miami Herald)
Investigate and document influence operations targeting Latino voters in the upcoming 2022 election and provide voters with information and tools to help them determine the most accurate sources

Syracuse University – SI Newhouse School of Public Communications
“Co-producing Disinformation Interventions in South Syracuse”
Directed by Greg Munno, Shelvia Dancy and Tina Nabatchi
Developing and Testing Community Disinformation Interventions in the South Side of Syracuse

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
“Building Resilience to Vaccine Misinformation in Partnership with Latino Social Media Influencers”
Directed by Alexandra Michel and Rupali Limaye
Strengthen the resilience of Latin American communities against misinformation, especially vaccine misinformation

“Resourcing Communities of Color to Fight Misinformation”
Directed by Rumsha Sajid, Myaisha Hayes and Steven Renderos
Develop and implement a train-the-trainer program to disrupt the spread of misinformation in communities of color

Santa Clara University
“Chinese News Discussion Repository”
Directed by Yuhong Liu, Yi Fang and Subbu Vincent
Build a repository of actors, posts, categories, and behavioral patterns of disinformation operations targeting Chinese Americans around health and election issues

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:

We are social investors supporting more effective democracy by funding free speech and journalism, arts and culture in the community, research in media and democracy, and in the success of cities and American villages where the Knight brothers once published newspapers. Learn more at and follow @knightfdn on social media.