Knight Blog

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

Announcing Knight News Challenge: Health

June 25, 2013, 3:55 p.m., Posted by John Bracken

Photo credit: Flickr user Guy Mayer

July 30 update: "Announcing key collaborators and details of Knight News Challenge: Health" on KnightBlog.org.

At the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference, Knight Foundation Vice President of Journalism and Media Innovation Michael Maness just announced that the theme of the next News Challenge will be health. We’ve selected that theme because we see an opportunity to support innovative ideas that create stronger information ecosystems about health in our communities.

Over the past seven years, the Knight News Challenge has funded innovative projects in journalism, local information, networks, mobile, data and open government. During that time we’ve awarded more than $32 million. Our first News Challenge of the year, which we closed yesterday, sought ideas for tools and technology that can improve the way citizens and governments interact.

Health is a topic relevant to all of us. It’s an area where journalism, open data and public information become imminently relevant and useful to communities; where we have a direct, tangible opportunity to help people learn more and make smart choices through the use of technology and data.

We will announce the specific question that the challenge will ask in August. One area that we might explore is how to connect the collection of personal data to larger social health trends. Earlier this year, the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the California Healthcare Foundation reported that more than two-thirds of American adults “track a health indicator for themselves or others.” Might we do a better job of connecting this tracking of our individual bodies to larger societal issues?

We’re still early in planning the challenge, but among the issues we’re thinking about  are how to:

  • use data and digital tools to live healthier lives;
  • better engage with health care providers;
  • improve the experience of receiving health care;
  • better visualize and understand data about our personal health.

We’ll open the challenge in August with an inspirational phase seeking your ideas. As we did with the last News Challenge, we’ll do in-person events across the country. For now, follow us @knightfdn or sign-up to get e-mail updates on the News Challenge here.

By John Bracken, director of journalism/media innovation at Knight Foundation, and Chris Sopher, journalism program association at Knight Foundation.