By Matt Ingram, GigaOm
Knight Foundation, a non-profit entity that is one of the biggest funders of journalism and media-related projects in the United States, announced the winners of the first round of its Knight News Challenge on Monday in Massachusetts — a contest aimed at funding the next generation of news entrepreneurs. This round was aimed at startups that are taking advantage of existing networks such as Ustream and Twitter, and the winners who are sharing the $1.37 million in prize money are trying to develop video, mobile and crowdsourced solutions to the problem of filtering the vast ocean of news that washes over us every day.
In past years, the Knight Foundation — which was set up by John and James Knight, whose family founded what became the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain — has hosted a single News Challenge, worth a total of $4.7 million last year and divided among the 16 winners. This year, the foundation decided to split the challenge into three parts, each with a slightly different focus on the future of news and journalism, and the first was aimed at ways of using existing networks. The foundation said in a blog post earlier this year that its thinking was influenced by watching what Andy Carvin of National Public Radio was able to do by using Twitter as a news source during the “Arab Spring” revolutions:
Andy, a one-man aggregation vehicle, [is] someone who successfully leveraged a network to tell stories and engage communities. Andy did not go off and build a new platform to aggregate news from the Middle East and North Africa — he leveraged an existing one.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.