Knight News Challenge opens, seeking to accelerate media innovation

Theme is 'Networks,' application process on Tumblr is simplest ever; $5 million offered over three rounds in 2012


"Knight News Challenge on Networks opens: Your shot at a share of $5 million" by John Bracken on

Feb. 27, 2012—The Knight News Challenge opens today, with the theme of Networks and an application form on Tumblr that is the simplest ever.

Through the challenge, Knight Foundation aims to accelerate innovation in news and information by funding the best breakthrough ideas and supporting them through its network of peers and advisers.

In 2012, the revamped News Challenge will have shorter, more focused rounds to bring it closer to the speed of innovation and to provide innovators with faster access to funding. In addition to partnering with the popular micro-blogging site Tumblr to host the application, Knight will run the News Challenge three times this year, instead of once.

Applicants will need to move quickly too: The first round application – which consists of just seven questions – will close on March 17, less than three weeks from today. The winners will be announced in June at the Knight/MIT Civic Media Conference. Close to $5 million dollars will be awarded over the course of the three rounds in 2012. Anyone – including businesses, nonprofits and individuals – can apply.

The Networks theme is meant to encourage applicants to submit ideas that build on existing platforms and software. Otherwise, there is no limitation on ideas – even the term “news” is defined broadly, with past winners ranging from news tools such as DocumentCloud and Ushahidi to NextDrop, which tells residents of a city in India via text when water is available.

“Our goal is to accelerate innovation in the news and information space,” said Michael Maness, Knight’s vice president for Journalism and Media Innovation. “But we are not the ones who can say what it should look like. We want to make the News Challenge as open as possible and find great ideas wherever they originate.”

Find out more, and apply now at Ask questions during a Google Hangout at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday on Knight Foundation’s Google+ page.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed, engaged communities and lead to transformational change. For more, visit



Andrew Sherry, Vice President/Communications, 305-908-2677,

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