Knight News Challenge: Casting the Net Wide for Innovation

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Ongoing Evaluation
Publication Date
Journalism, Media Innovation


The Knight News Challenge is a five-year, $25 million, media innovation contest to find new, digital ways to inform communities. This feature article reviews the contest through year four, pinpointing lessons learned, profiling a selection of contest winners and offering snapshots of their wide-ranging projects.

The article addresses questions such as:

  • How has the contest affected the Knight Foundation’s work in journalism and media?
  • What can be learned from some of the winners’ projects about media innovation?
  • What challenges have winners faced?


Report Partner: The report was produced by Christopher Connell.



A List of Knight News Challenge Winners and their projects from 2007 to 2010.

  • A Quest for Fresh Ideas and a Dose of Humility Drive the Knight News Challenge – A look at the Knight review panel’s process.

  • Building Networks and Connections – News Challenge fosters working relationships among journalists, programmers and activists.

  • An Alliance with the Inventor of the World Wide Web – a profile of Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s project with the Media Standards Trust to promote transparency and advance universal access.

  • Success and Failure in the Windy City – A brief overview of Everyblock’s ability to secure marketplace support and the challenges faced by Chi-Town Daily News

  • Playing Games with the News – A review of efforts to support game research and its application to journalism

  • ‘Freedom Fone’ Rings for Zimbabwe – An overview of Freedom Fone, a project that allows people to dial up news and public-interest information on their cell phones.

About our Journalism focus area

We support people and organizations committed to advancing excellence in journalism and informing people in communities of all sizes through experimentation, innovation and leadership.

About our Grant assessments methodology

As part of our grant-making process, we work with grantees to establish how to measure and track their projects.  We also partner with grantees and others to conduct third-party evaluations.