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Knight Center celebrates 20 years of strengthening journalism across the world

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas will begin celebrations for its 20th anniversary with a special seminar at the University of Texas at Austin.

 20th Anniversary bannerThe hour-long seminar, (in English) will be streamed live to YouTube on Aug. 31 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. U.S. Central Time. Immediately after the live streaming, the recording will be available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/K-F8eO73_iw.

Moody College of Communication Dean Jay Bernhardt is presiding over the celebration, which will also host Jim Brady, the Knight Foundation’s vice president for journalism, and international guests who will talk about the impact of the Knight Center on their careers and on journalism.

It’s an opportunity to mark two decades of courses, conferences and publications that have strengthened journalism around the world, from Argentina to Zimbabwe, reaching virtually all countries on the planet and benefiting thousands of journalists.

“When we started the Knight Center 20 years ago, in August 2002, I could not have imagined that we would have such a huge impact for so long,” said professor Rosental Calmon Alves, Knight Center’s founder and director. “Initially the center was meant to focus only in Latin America and the Caribbean for four years. Later, it became global and here we are celebrating 20 years!”

Professor Rosental  Alves launched the Knight Center in 2002 thanks to a $2 million grant from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. At first, its activities centered on organizational capacity building and training for journalists – both in person and online – in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Eventually, the Knight Center grew its training operations on a larger scale, creating its first massive open online course, or MOOC, for journalists in 2012. Since that first course on data visualization with Alberto Cairo, Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the University of Miami, the Knight Center has reached more than 275,000 people from 200 countries and territories with courses in multiple languages.

In tandem with its online courses, the Knight Center has organized webinars for its global audience on topics reflecting timely discussions or debates in the world of journalism. For example, in January 2022, it organized a multilingual webinar on the latest developments for reporting on COVID-19, which attracted attendees from 85 countries.

The Knight Center has also developed important and impactful conferences, such as the annual International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) and the Ibero-American Colloquium on Digital Journalism. The 23rd ISOJ, which was held in April 2022, had 1,227 participants – 296 in person in Austin and 931 online – inaugurating a new era of hybrid conference. In addition to industry discussions on the present and future of online journalism, this global conference includes an academic research component and publishes the #ISOJ Journal, now in its 13th volume.

Additionally, the Knight Center previously organized the Austin Forum on Journalism in the Americas, which was held from 2003 to 2013, and focused on important topics like the protection of journalists and access to information.

Since 2020, the Knight Center has published the LatAm Journalism Review, a trilingual digital magazine in English, Spanish and Portuguese, which covers journalism and press freedom issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. It took over that mission from its predecessor, the Journalism in the Americasblog, which ran from 2003 to 2020.

The Knight Center also maintains a digital library of e-books on topics ranging from diversity in newsrooms to membership models to global journalism education, and more. The books are available in English, Spanish and Portuguese and can be downloaded for free.

These are just a few of the Knight Center’s programs and activities to keep journalists up to date with the digital revolution and help promote press freedom around the world.

Throughout the next year, the Knight Center will continue celebrating its achievements and impact on journalism.

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