So, we're trying to go out in the community, somewhat BarCamp style, and do more hands-on sessions with people interested in applying to the Knight News Challenge this year. We have a set of sessions planned around the country, and we're running them al in a similar way--Talking about the program, explaining the guidelines and key criteria (like having a geographic focus and being innovative), showing a couple of little seesmic videos.
Last week we did two sessions in New York, one at Coumbia Journalism School for faculty and students, and another, that evening, at CUNY (thank you, Professor Jarvis!) for the public and the school. We had about 40 people at each session, many of whom took part on the extensive and detailed Q&A after the brief talk (and that cute David Cohn seesmic video).
Questions ranged from "Can a project make money and be commercial?" (Yes), to "Will you fund something that might just exist for a year or two as an experiment?" (Yes) to "If it's something that will help all local communities, so I don't want to limit myself to one, will that fit your guidelines?"
(Probably not.) At the end of each session, I felt like many of the people in the room might apply.
We did another session a few days latter at the much revitalized ONA conference in DC. There Gary Kebbel, Kristen Taylor and myself shared program plans and detailed with about 75 conference attendees, including some past winners. he audience was focused and engaged, again with lots of questions and comments. I left that meeting feeling like perhaps half of the audience would apply,
If you're interested in a meet up for your area, check the schedule we're posting; if you need connection, come to the News Challenge garage and post and comment, just as you wish others would do for you.