KnightBlog

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

Journalism
Feb 10, 2015

Knight Prototype Fund supports 10 new data & storytelling projects

Posted by Chris Barr

Photo by Flickr urser r2hox.

Each quarter, the Knight Prototype Fund supports small teams of media makers, technologists, designers and civic hackers to test new approaches to informing communities. In the last two years we have funded 130 projects through the program with broad experimentation in areas like tools for journalists, use of open data, support for the open Internet and new approaches to storytelling. Today we are happy to announce 10 projects that will join the 14 library prototypes announced in January as part of the Knight News Challenge.

The Prototype Fund provides $35,000 in funding for a six-month sprint where teams are encouraged to better understand the unmet needs of their community and project participants through design research, rough prototyping and critical analysis. As part of their experience, grantees begin their journey with a workshop focused on accessible innovation methods. They present their progress on the initial prototype phase of their project at a demo day at the end of the six months.

The next deadline for prototype applications is Feb. 16. To submit an idea, just answer five questions through our online form.

The 10 projects receiving investments are:

CAT (Conflict Analysis Toolbox) (Project lead: Laura Kurgan, Madeeha Merchant and Jamon Van Den Hoek): Creating a toolbox to simplify satellite data collection and interpretation, allowing journalists, urbanists, humanitarian agencies and others to glean valuable information from satellite imagery during urban conflicts or natural disasters.

Cloudstitch (Project lead: Edward Benson): Developing a Web platform to help journalists easily create interactive, data-driven content without help from programmers.

Flatsheet (Project lead: Seth Vincent): Developing an open source tool to help reporters curate data as a team to make it easier for journalists to pursue rich, data-driven storytelling.

FollowTheMoney.org by National Institute on Money in State Politics (Project lead: Edwin Bender): Establishing a database of election campaign finance and lobbying information to help journalists and the public see connections between political donors and elected officials.

Ketla (Project leads: Dan Archer, Erin Polgreen and Hasit Shah): Developing a mobile app to help content creators make news accessible to many different languages and literacy levels through visual tools that merge comic books, journalism and user-friendly delivery strategies.

Online Learning Toolbox by Center for Technology and Civic Life (Project lead: Tiana Epps-Johnson): Creating an online-learning toolbox for local election administrators, to complement a previously created website template, allowing them to more easily share information with citizens and improve transparency.

Open Pipe Kit (Project lead: R.J. Steinert): Creating a tool that will help data journalists and civic hackers collect data without a programmer’s assistance or proprietary software.

PolitiFact Plug-In (Project lead: Aaron Sharockman): Designing a fact-checking plug-in for Web browsers that will allow people to request a fact-check of Internet content from PolitiFact staff; users will be able to vote on fact-check requests and make comments on flagged content.

Tipbox (Project lead: Xavier Damman): Establishing a unique and private Web address that journalists can share with potential sources to receive anonymous tips securely and privately through encrypted emails. 

Wikipedia Space by American University (Project lead: Andrew Lih): Establishing a visitor and discovery center at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C., where the public can learn about Wikipedia and free culture.

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