Nieman Journalism Lab

In its second year, the Nieman Journalism Lab grew from a young upstart to an essential resource for those building the new, Internet-enabled journalism. Through a mix of original reporting, sharp commentary and careful analysis, the Lab is fulfilling its mission to help journalism innovators navigate the world of digital news.

Thanks to a grant from the Knight Foundation, we were able to According to the web-tracking service Technorati, the Lab’s site is one of the 150 most-linked-to blogs in the world.expand the Lab to four people this year: director Joshua Benton and assistant editors Megan Garber, Laura McGann, and Justin Ellis. Together, they report on innovation at traditional news organizations, startups that promise new ways to look at journalism, and the business models that will, we hope, support quality reporting in the Internet age.

Interest in that reporting often extends beyond the journalism world, as it did when Laura McGann broke news of a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist having his iPhone app rejected by Apple for poking fun at politicians. That led to tens of thousands of responses online and pushed Apple CEO Steve Jobs to have to respond to the piece.

In our first two years, we’ve published over 1,500 pieces by more than 80 authors, covering tech behemoths like Google and Facebook and one-person startups with an innovative idea. We’ve worked with partners ranging from Harvard’s Citizen Media Law Project and University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Global Communications Studies to the Knight Foundation and the University of Texas’ Center for Journalism and Communication Research—bridging the professional, the entrepreneurial, and the academic worlds.

The Lab has built by far the largest audience for any project in the foundation’s history—over 2.5 million pageviews, 35,000 followers on Twitter, and many dozens of mentions in newspapers and magazines around the world. According to the web tracking service Technorati, the Lab’s site is one of the 150 most-linked-to blogs in the world. Our readership was up 40 percent in our second year over our first. We are constantly experimenting with new ways to reach our audience, including this year’s debut of our iPhone app, now installed on 3,000 phones.

We have big plans for Year 3 of the Lab: both expanding our reporting and trying new ways to interact with the community of journalism innovators who are our chief audience.

–Joshua Benton
Director, Nieman Journalism Lab