Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

How can we help? Accelerating projects via the News Challenge

Jan. 18, 2013, 11:34 a.m., Posted by John Bracken

How can we help?

The Knight News Challenge has several stages: an idea, a proposal, the review process, and due diligence. Yesterday we reached the final stage: announcing the winners of the mobile challenge. This morning at a gathering on mobile media at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School we are formally introducing them via live web stream starting at 12:30 ET. We hope you will join us.

Each of those stages is fun for us, but the opportunity to roll up our sleeves and help is particularly awesome. Starting today, we shift our focus from interlocutors to partners. We stop asking, “Who are you and why should we fund you?” and start asking, “How can we help?”

Throughout the entire News Challenge process we consider how we can help a project beyond the grant money. (Chuck Templeton calls it “coachability;” Sal Giambanco says the Omidyar Network looks for an “openness to learning.”) Based on feedback from past winners, we’re trying to be more strategic with the support we provide. And we’re starting earlier. We began to work with the projects  even as we were finalizing the list of winners that we proposed to Knight's trustees last month. Branding, accounting, finding partners, hiring, and social media strategies are among the areas where people wanted advice.

Later today, we’ll connect the News Challenge winners with a group of experts in mobile platforms, organizational development, user experience, branding and business strategy.

We can't wait to get started. 

By John Bracken, director/journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation