Winners of Knight Foundation challenge receive $2.4 million for mobile innovation projects

By Alejandro Martínez

The Knight Foundation announced on Thursday the eight most recent award winners of its Knight News Challenge on mobile innovation. The eight recipients – which include Wikipedia and a New York-based nonprofit helping Peruvian residents document the effects of oil drilling and mining in their communities – will receive $2.4 million from the foundation to develop their projects.

“In 2013 the number of Internet-enabled mobile devices is expected to be greater than the number of computers for the first time. These eight Knight News Challenge projects, and the innovators behind them, are helping to stretch the ways people around the world are engaging with information and using it to shape their communities,” Michael Maness, VP for journalism and media innovation at Knight Foundation.

The challenge was one of three that the John S. And James L. Knight Foundation launched in 2012. The other two challenges focused on the topics of networks and data. This year, the foundation will hold two other challenges; the first, on open government tools, will start next month.

The winners of the challenge presented their projects during a live web stream on Jan. 18, hosted by the Walter Cronkite School at Arizona State University. Go below to see a video recording of the presentation.

The projects included:

Digital Democracy: The New York-based nonprofit is creating a toolkit to help people living in the Peruvian Amazon -- where oil drilling and mining have taken a toll on the environment and the communities -- document environmental and human rights abuses. Digital Democracy will use the funds to further develop the toolkit, find ways to synch in automatically with online databases (which are often difficult to reach in remote areas) and find ways to produce compelling narratives and disseminate the information.

Abayima: In places of the world where there is a risk that information exchanged through mobile networks becomes intercepted by unfriendly governments or hackers, Abayima seeks to use mobile phones to share information in a more old-fashioned, sometimes more secure way.



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