The Knight Foundation, which gave $130m in grants last year, has previously supported initiatives including a joint project by Mozilla, the New York Times and the Washington Post to build a user-generated content and comment platform.
The new team will form an innovation lab that will operate autonomously from the main US operation, but will also have access to stories and resources from the larger Guardian newsroom.
“The innovation lab will sit at the heart of our US newsroom and will draw on the collective expertise of our team in order to do things differently in the mobile space,” said Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media. “We’re also really excited to be sharing our results in an open environment, so others can learn from our experiments and get involved in the conversation about mobile journalism.”
Any new tools, story forms or ways to source stories that come out of the lab’s work will be shared with other organisations.
Jennifer Preston, vice-president of journalism at the Knight Foundation, said that the grant was born from the need for media organisations to keep up the shift to mobile news consumption.
“With 50 per cent of news now accessed on smartphones, news organisations need to quickly figure out how to present news on a smaller screen,” said Preston. “We hope to develop a deeper understanding of how people use and consume mobile news, while also learning how best to engage audiences as participants in spreading and creating content.”