POV expands digital operations with $250K from Knight

By Andrew Lapin

In addition to its normal slate of documentary programming, including "American Promise," POV is expanding its digital experiments with Knight's help. (Photo: Michèle Stephenson)

In addition to its normal slate of documentaries, including “American Promise,” POV is expanding its digital operations. (Photo: Michèle Stephenson)

PBS’s flagship independent documentary program POV is stepping up digital efforts with a $250,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the program announced Thursday.

The grant will allow POV to fund two new nonfiction digital media projects and offer a yearlong technology fellowship, with the remainder of the funds supporting its Hackathon series. A sum of $75,000 will go to the digital media projects, and the rest will be divided between the fellowship and the Hackathon. POV is seeking submissions for both its digital co-production projects, which are yet to be determined, and applicants for its next two Hackathons in New York and Los Angeles.

POV is looking for “two promising media projects that push the boundaries of nonfiction media in the digital age,” it said in its release. The $75,000 allocation from the Knight grant will support the building of these projects from prototypes to final products. Interested digital storytellers can submit pitches for the Knight-funded projects here.

The funding also backs additional Hackathons, which POV has offered since 2012. In the workshops, teams of documentary filmmakers and programmers work to create digital storytelling projects that mirror the impact of nonfiction films and in some cases supplement traditional films. Previous Hackathons have resulted in “Portraits of the Enemies,” which juxtaposed photographs of enemy fighters, and “Very Semi-Serious,” which dissected the humor of New Yorker cartoons.

“Videos and documentaries have a great power to engage the public and capture in-depth stories,” said Michael Maness, Knight Foundation v.p. of journalism and media innovation. “We can strengthen their reach by supporting innovation in this area.”

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