Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship

Students from multiple disciplines learn about entrepreneurial thinking in the Knight Center.
Students from multiple disciplines learn about entrepreneurial thinking in the Knight Center.

The Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship is devoted to the development of new media entrepreneurship and the creation of innovative digital media products.

The center is part of a growing array of innovative programs within the Cronkite School devoted to new media. It is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The center is directed by new media pioneer Dan Gillmor, who joined the Cronkite School in January of 2008. Gillmor is an internationally recognized journalist, author and educator in the areas of digital media and citizen-based journalism. His book, “We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People,” has been published in six languages.

As director of the center, Gillmor teaches entrepreneurial thinking and skills to a cross-section of students majoring in journalism, computer engineering, design and business. Students also work individually with an entrepreneur in residence to develop their own innovative digital media products and services.

Gillmor says entrepreneurial skills are increasingly essential both for students who end up working in traditional media companies and those who will create new media startups.

“Students need to be fluent in a variety of digital media forms and understand the trends that are redefining journalism, including media economics and product development, business and marketing,” he said. “And they need to do this in a way that preserves journalism’s best principles and practices.”

Students work with Dan Gillmor (far right) in the Knight Center.
Students work with Dan Gillmor (far right) in the Knight Center.

ASU President Michael Crow said the center helps position ASU as a national leader in entrepreneurship and innovation.

“The Knight Center gives our students creative and entrepreneurial skills to help lead the changing media industry and provide a setting where they can invent their own innovative digital products.”

The center has its own lab and office space in the digital media wing of the Cronkite School’s new state-of-the-art complex in downtown Phoenix. It adjoins the New Media Innovation Lab, a research and development institute established in 2006 that works with major media companies on digital product development.

The Knight Center is the result of a Knight News Challenge grant awarded to the Cronkite School in 2007. The three-year, $552,000 gift was one of the largest granted in the first year of the News Challenge. It is matched dollar for dollar with a grant from the Kaufman Foundation, part of a $5 million gift to ASU for entrepreneurship programs.

In 2010, the Knight Center instructors were recognized with an ASU President's Award for Innovation.

Students interested in the Knight Center or the entrepreneurship class should contact Gillmor at dan.gillmor@asu.edu.