By Eric Johnson
This just in from the world of news: Mobile matters.
That’s the clear — if not all that surprising — message from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which just announced the winners of a mobile-themed “News Challenge,” awarding $2.4 million to eight media teams.
Most of the winners are little-known up-and-comers, ranging in their focus from political activism to community radio to connecting previously disconnected groups, like farmers in Kenya.
You’ve probably heard of at least one of the winners, though: Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia’s owner, the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, will put $600,000 from the Knight Foundation toward its mobile users in developing countries. Among their plans: Making articles accessible via text, which could be a boon for feature-phone owners.
The other winners:
· Textizen ($350,000), an offshoot of Code for America that wants to conduct local public polling by putting questions in public places and then asking residents to respond via text.
· TKOH ($330,000), which is developing an oral history app to make recording audio and visuals to tell a historical story easier. The app would then let users share those stories with either a small group, like their families, or with the public.
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.