Notebook gets ‘Information Challenge’ grant, revamps Web site
The Notebook will be expanding its online publishing in 2009, after being named one of 21 winners nationally in the Knight Community Information Challenge, a new five-year initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation aimed at finding ways to meet the need for local news.
The $200,000 award from Knight, over two years, will support enhancements to the Notebook’s Web site, with a focus on fostering online conversation and information-sharing among people concerned about the Philadelphia schools. Funding will also support outreach to parent and community audiences to participate on the site.
The Knight initiative funds projects that are partnerships headed by community foundations interested in innovative media and technology and in developing civic leadership. The Notebook’s partner in the project is the William Penn Foundation, which will provide a matching grant.
Knight is also providing a team of specialists called “circuit riders,” who will help grantees develop strategies to address local information needs.
In February, the Notebook took a first step in its online expansion, launching a more comprehensive and interactive Web site. It includes searchable archives, an easy-to-use commenting feature, and new daily content in the form of blog posts from a team of local education experts and activists.
Overseeing the continued development of the Notebook’s site will be newly appointed Web Editor Erika Owens.
Philadelphia Public School Notebook has been publishing a quarterly print edition since 1994 and first launched a Web site and email newsletter in 2003. The Notebook marks the 15th anniversary of its first publication this spring with a June 11 celebration at University of the Arts.