Knight News Challenge awards eight grants totaling $2.4 million to mobile innovators

 

By Kimberly Koerth       

The Wikimedia Foundationreceived a $600,000 grant Friday from the Knight News Challenge competition at the Walter Cronkite School to fund a project that would provide access to Wikipedia from basic mobile phones around the globe.

Wikimedia, along with seven other innovators in the field of mobile technology, were awarded a total of $2.4 million in grants from the mobile portion of the News Challenge to fund ongoing projects using mobile devices.

The projects ranged from enabling radio stations to broadcast over cell phone networks to authenticating media shared by mobile devices. Many focused on improving the quality of life in underdeveloped nations, while others sought to promote community involvement in cities throughout the U.S.

Liz Smith, outreach director for the Cronkite School, said the News Challenge: Mobile events took place over the course of two days. The competition itself lasted ten weeks and culminated with the Friday awards ceremony. Additionally, a mobile technology exposition featuring the projects of ASU students and faculty was held on Thursday, Smith said. She said the mobile technology exposition was followed by dinner with an address from ASU President Michael Crow.

“Michael Crow talked about how ASU is ahead of the curve in online space right now,” Smith said. “He has a progressive vision of the school.”

The Wikimedia Foundation’s project to bring access to Wikipedia to people around the world received the largest grant. This was nearly double the second-largest grant of $350,000, which was awarded to Textizen. Their project will create billboards with questions about government that citizens can answer via text.

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About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

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.