July 19, 2012 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
Based on the comments from our team of advisers who helped review the apps and our internal own review, we’ve selected and are in the process of contacting 16 finalists in the Knight News Challenge: Data. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be doing in-person interviews or video chats with each of them them. We’ll announce that list of finalists, and the winners of the contest, in September.
This morning, we’ve also sent an email to the remaining 765 letting them know that they will not be receiving funding via the the News Challenge. One of the great things about the News Challenge is that it exposes us (and everyone else who reads the entries) to ideas and people. While we can fund only a fraction of the ideas that come through the News Challenge, we have other means for funding promising initiatives. For example, last month, we announced a grant to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to fund an idea that originally came to us through the News Challenge on Networks. And our new prototype fund allows us to test ideas quickly - we announced some that will receive funding last month. We’ve begun to reach out to some News Challenge applicants to explore whether their ideas might fit this program, and we plan to announce some prototype grants soon.
Here are a few of the insights we took from last week’s review session:
July 23, 2012 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
Today in Boston, Knight is sponsoring Awesome Summit: Connect, an Awesome Foundation conference focused on rethinking and democratizing philanthropy. (You can follow the conversation via the Center for Civic Media’s blog and on Twitter via #awesummit.)
We became a part of the Awesome Foundation community last year, when we funded the creation of the Awesome Foundation News Taskforce, starting with a project to support media innovation in Detroit. Today, we announced five new projects with the same theme of media innovation: SuperPAC App, Jennifer Hollett and Dan Siegel SuperPAC App, a project that grew from the MIT Media Lab, is building an app that allows users to quickly capture audio from an ad that's playing on TV or online and fingerprint it. The app then delivers the user information about the ad, including what organization paid for it, where the ad is running and information about the organization funding it. Users can share, comment on and interact with news about the ad.
TheLi.st, Rachel Sklar (pictured left) & Glynnis MacNicol Rachel Sklar, creator of Change the Ratio (a project aimed at increasing the presence and success of women in technology and entrepreneurship), is taking her community of leading women to the next level. Sklar and MacNicol are launching TheLi.st, a hub for women in technology that includes a subscription listserve and discussion community, free content and resources for women in the field, and events and convenings on the topic. Knight Foundation is supporting TheLi.st’s work to engage more women in innovation and technology, and to support their rise and success in the space.
These three projects will receive support through our new prototype fund, which offers $50,000 or less to test promising media innovation projects:
August 14, 2012 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
Photo Credit: Flickr user girl_onthe_les
We’re excited to announce the theme for the third Knight News Challenge of 2012: mobile. We hope to learn about new approaches for using mobile to inform and engage communities, and build the foundation for others to do more in the future.
We will open the contest on Aug. 29 and will close at noon EDT Sept. 10, on newschallenge.org. We plan to announce the winners early next year. As with the two prior News Challenge contests this year, on networks and data, we will keep the application light, limited to 500 words and a few questions. Why mobile? With 6 billion devices worldwide, according to the World Bank, the world will soon have more mobile phones than people. The mobile device is so much more than a “phone”-- Jeff Jarvis, among others, has argued that we need a better term for the device. “Mobile is my personal bubble. It is enhanced convenience, putting the device and the world in my hand,” he says. We saw this personal tinge to tech last week in the NASA Curiosity Command Center where staff, while landing a robot on Mars, were updating their friends and family via their phones (according to an interview with Bobak Ferdowsi.) Despite these trends, and the presence of several mobile projects in our own portfolio (including winners from Knight News Challenge on Networks PeepolTV, Behavio and Watchup), we realized how much we have to learn about this fundamental shift. For many of us around the world, mobile has become an important tool for learning what’s going on around us, and for sharing details about our lives with friends, neighbors and strangers. We know that we (and our kids) have grown attached to our mobile devices, but we have less clarity about the ways people are using them, or might use them, as citizens, content producers and consumers to tell, share and receive stories. We’ve focused the News Challenge this year on big opportunities in news and information - networks, data and now mobile. In some ways, mobile represents both the greatest need and greatest potential for individual citizens and news organizations.
September 6, 2012 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
Photo Credit: Flickr user girl_onthe_les
There are only four days left to submit your application to the Knight News Challenge: Mobile, which closes at noon ET on Sept. 10. If you’re still thinking about how to form your idea, have questions that aren’t answered by our FAQ or want to clarify anything about the application, you can join us for News Challenge office hours. At 1:00 p.m. ET, Friday Sept. 7, join us for a video/audio hangout with Knight’s John Bracken, director Journalism/Media Innovation, and Christopher Sopher, journalism program associate. You can join the session by Skype or by phone: TO JOIN BY SKYPE: Please note: You must have the latest version of Skype open and be logged in. https://bluejeans.com/820229184/skype TO JOIN BY PHONE: Dial in toll free number: +1 888 240 2560 Meeting ID: 820229184
September 20, 2012 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
UPDATE: Watch the winners present their projects via web stream at 1 p.m. PDT/ 4 p.m. EDT Saturday Sept. 22 here.
Today we’re excited to share with you the winners of the Knight News Challenge: Data.
First, some background: We ran the contest for three weeks,
ending June 20. And we sought ideas to help make the large amounts of data we’re creating more useful and informative. We received 881 applications, which we reviewed with the help of a group of advisers. We identified 50 proposals to discuss further, and in July we brought to Miami a group of reviewers to advise us. We listened to their advice, had internal conversations, and conducted interviews and due diligence with 15 applicants.
As we announce the below winners, we’re in the midst of reviewing applications for the News Challenge: Mobile, and later this fall we’ll begin planning our first News Challenge of 2013, on tools for open government.
Knight News Challenge: Data Winners (Full project lead bios are here)
Winner: Joe Germuska, Chicago; John Keefe, New York; Ryan Pitts, Spokane, Wash.
Despite the high value of Census data, the U.S. Census Bureau’s tools for exploring the data are difficult to use. A group of news developers built Census.IRE.org for the 2010 Census to help journalists more easily access Census data. Following early positive feedback, the team will expand and simplify the tool, and add new data sets including the annual American Community Survey, which informs decisions on how more than $400 billion in government funding is distributed.
Winners: Amplify Labs, Alicia Rouault, Prashant Singh and Matt Hampel, Detroit, Mich.
Whether tracking crime trends, cataloging real estate development or assessing parks and play spaces, communities gather millions of pieces of data each year. Such data are often collected haphazardly on paper forms or with hard-to-use digital tools, limiting their value. LocalData is a set of tools that helps community groups and city residents gather and organize information by designing simple surveys, seamlessly collecting it on paper or smartphone and exporting or visualizing it through an easy-to-use dashboard. Founded by Code for America fellows, the tools have already been tested in Detroit, where they helped document urban blight by tracking the condition of thousands of lots.
October 5, 2012 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
Today in Miami, we’re gathering 16 journalists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to help us review the semi-finalists in the latest Knight News Challenge, on mobile. By the end of the day, we hope to have 10-12 finalists that we’ll examine more deeply over the next few weeks. (If you are one of those finalists, you can expect to hear from us by next week.) We expect to bring about five to seven of those forward for consideration by Knight Foundation’s trustees at its December board meeting and to publicly announce the winners in January of 2013. The semi-finalists projects are: A Mobile Good Health Community Abayima Amongst Apps for Good Augmented Reality & Geolocation Toolkit Backyard Budget Mobile Boomerang Mojo News Byzantium Carbon Creditor CityStatus Commons DialFly documentaryMapper Elva Escape Velocity FINtegrate Human.io Is this for real? Live field reporting narratives LocalWiki Mobile Louisiana Smart Grid mActivist in a Box Mobilizing Psychology n0tice Customizable citizen reporting National Council on Aging Navajo InfoWire NC Mobile Voter Guide Open 311 Mobile Dashboard Open mHealth Project Mobile Connections Remote Access: Connecting threatened communities with the outside world ReSystem: Rethinking media in developing countries scalable networked community radio Secure Mobile Communications Tool for Journalists StormCrowd Textizen: Citizen feedback for the digital age Thread Virtual town meeting WeFarm: Reaching the 75% Wikipedia mobile In addition to those listed above, we are also reviewing 13 closed applications.
June 24, 2013 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
On Feb. 19 we launched the ninth Knight News Challenge on Open Gov, with the question “How might we improve the way citizens and governments interact?” We selected open government as a theme because we sensed an opportunity to accelerate this nascent field and to help it develop solutions that serve defined needs.
Today, we are excited to announce the eight winners of the Knight News Challenge.
July 30, 2013 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
Last month at the Civic Media Conference at the MIT Media Lab, we announced health as the theme of the next Knight News Challenge. Today we have the details: the collaborators we’ve brought together, the question we’ll be asking and our timeline.
The Knight News Challenge: Health will focus on the question: “How can we harness data and public information for the health of communities?”RELATED LINKS
"Knight News Challenge: Health opens with inspiration phase, additional prizes from collaborators" by Raina Kumra and John Bracken
"Announcing key collaborators and details of Knight News Challenge: Health" by John Bracken and Chris Barr
"Data: Why we care" by Esther Dyson
"Data provides a focus for community action" by Bryan Sivak
"News Challenge: Make APIs not apps, health CEO says" by Lucky Gunasekara
"How data-driven solutions can transform health" by Lexie Komisar
"California HealthCare Foundation: The data stops here" and "It takes a community to humanize health data" by Andy Krackov
"Data essential to promoting healthy habits" by Nirav R. Shah
For the first time, we are collaborating with other organizations on a News Challenge. They’ve already worked with us on the selection of the theme. Now they are helping us spread the word about the challenge and discuss how data and information can lead to healthier communities. You’ll see them on the road with us at in-person events across the country over the next seven weeks and as commenters and readers at newschallenge.org.
We will launch the challenge Aug. 19 with an “inspiration phase,” where we ask for everyone—from health entrepreneurs to journalists to community groups and residents—to share the opportunities and challenges they’re facing in their work and lives, which data and public information might help address. Those inspirations will inform the contest and help guide our review of submissions.
April 18, 2014 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
Above: Advisers gather to review applications in Mozilla's offices. Photo credit: John Bracken.
Yesterday we huddled with 14 advisers in Mozilla’s San Francisco office to help us determine a group of semifinalists in the News Challenge. Today, we’re sending notices to 56 projects asking them for additional information. We’ll look at their submissions over the next few weeks and, after considering the advice of another set of advisers, we’ll notify a group of finalists on May 12.
We received 704 submissions in the contest, which is focused on the question “How can we strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation?”
We saw ideas covering a range of topics, among them access to the Internet, freedom of expression and ideas to fix the Web. Now we enter the “refinement phase.” For the next 10 days, we encourage you to review the entries and add your comments, questions and suggestions. During refinement, semifinalists will get the chance to provide more details about their ideas and respond to community input.
After the refinement phase, we’ll review the entries offline and select the winners. We will announce that group on June 23 at the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference in Cambridge, Mass. Winners will receive a share of $2.75 million.
February 27, 2014 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
The Internet has become an essential resource for artistic expression, news, economic growth, education and human interaction. How can we make it stronger? That’s the question we’re asking in the first Knight News Challenge of 2014, which we’re launching today, with help from Ford Foundation and Mozilla.RELATED LINKs
"Our future's Internet strengthened today" by Jenny Toomey on KnightBlog.org
"A $2.75 million challenge to create a more open Internet" by Mark Surman on KnightBlog.org
"Creating safe spaces for innovation on the Internet" by Kwasi Asare on KnightBlog.org
"Refusing to unlearn a free and open Internet" by Shazna Nessa on KnightBlog.org
"Innovating to create comprehension of big data and the Internet" by Higinio O. Maycotte
"4 most common News Challenge questions answered" by John Bracken on KnightBlog.org
"Restoring equilibrium to the web" by Tyler Fisher on KnightBlog.org
From now through 5 p.m. ET on March 18, you can share your ideas, and react to those from others. We have committed $2.75 million for the best ideas, including $250,000 from the Ford Foundation. We’ll announce the winners in June. We’ll also invite the winning teams to a two-day human-centered design training workshop to help them develop their projects. Winners will become part of a growing network of past News Challenge winners that includes MapBox, Wikipedia, Safecast, DocumentCloud and Zeega.
We run the News Challenge without specific projects in mind. There is no formula for winning. In fact, we’ve made this challenge even more open than in the past. For the first time, we’re not just looking for technologies, but also ideas for journalism, policy, research, education - any innovative project that results in a stronger Internet.
If you have questions about the application, you can join us us for a virtual hangout on Tuesday, March 4, at 1 p.m. ET. (To join via audio only, call 1-888-240-2560 with Meeting ID 731675489.)
August 25, 2014 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
On Sept. 10, we’re opening the next News Challenge, on libraries. Our 12th News Challenge, it will build upon the 19 projects we funded with $3.47 million in June through the News Challenge that sought ideas to strengthen the Internet. That work, conversations such as the ones we recently had at the Aspen Institute this month and longstanding initiatives such as the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy have affirmed for us the centrality of libraries for building and maintaining an informed citizenry.Related Link
"Share your inspiration for Knight News Challenge: Libraries" by John Bracken on Knight Blog
We’re hoping to hear ideas for leveraging the assets that libraries have built: physical spaces open to anyone; professional staff trained in how to seek, retrieve and share information; and a legacy of aiding new readers, new entrepreneurs and new Americans. In recent years we’ve seen libraries leverage the Internet and digital approaches for education, entrepreneurship, the arts and “making.” In a digital age we see libraries--public, university, archival, virtual--as key for improving Americans’ ability to know about and to be involved with what takes place around them.
September 20, 2012 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
This morning, we announced the winners of the Knight News Challenge: Data.
We’d also like to share the 15 finalists. While we weren’t able to fund all of them, we enjoyed getting to know more about the people and ideas behind them, and hope to see them come to life in the months ahead. We've heard that it’s valuable for people to see the original applications for the projects that rose to the top, so gathered them them all in one place. If you want to learn more about each of the finalists and the winners, check out the links to each of their original submissions (an asterisk notes a News Challenge: Data winner). Census.IRE.org (*) Joe Germuska, John Keefe, Ryan Pitts, Investigative Reporters & Editors Community Health Analytics: Making Community Health Data Useful Scott Lee, Harvard University Computer Assisted Text Analysis for Journalism Gary King, Harvard University Data Toys Heather Chaplin, Colleen Macklin, John Sharp, The New School The Internet of News Things Matt Waite, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Hyperaudio Pad Mark Boas, Happyworm
March 24, 2015 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
Lead Investigator Madeleine Ball talks about the Open Humans Network.
Today Open Humans launches its online network to connect people like you and me with research studies at Harvard, New York University and the University of California, San Diego.
Open Humans was one of the winners of the 2013 Knight News Challenge on health data, which was also funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the California HealthCare Foundation. We asked the question, “How can we harness data and information for the health of communities?” and Open Humans won with the idea of building an online portal to connect people willing to share their personal health information with medical researchers, potentially leading to medical breakthroughs.
At Knight Foundation we’re interested in the ways in which we can use new technologies and behaviors to be better informed. We see information about our health as an important aspect of that. It’s why we were grateful to see the revamped The Wait We Carry site launch last week, an effort by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to make transparent the challenges veterans face receiving health care and other benefits. Similarly, we see Open Humans as an important experiment in reimagining how individuals might pool our personal data for the greater good of all.
June 25, 2013 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
Photo credit: Flickr user Guy Mayer
July 30 update: "Announcing key collaborators and details of Knight News Challenge: Health" on KnightBlog.org.
At the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference, Knight Foundation Vice President of Journalism and Media Innovation Michael Maness just announced that the theme of the next News Challenge will be health. We’ve selected that theme because we see an opportunity to support innovative ideas that create stronger information ecosystems about health in our communities.
Over the past seven years, the Knight News Challenge has funded innovative projects in journalism, local information, networks, mobile, data and open government. During that time we’ve awarded more than $32 million. Our first News Challenge of the year, which we closed yesterday, sought ideas for tools and technology that can improve the way citizens and governments interact.
Health is a topic relevant to all of us. It’s an area where journalism, open data and public information become imminently relevant and useful to communities; where we have a direct, tangible opportunity to help people learn more and make smart choices through the use of technology and data.
September 13, 2012 by John Bracken and Chris Sopher
Photo credit: Flickr user Eole
This evening, we’re gathering 19 leading journalists, technologists and civic innovators in New Orleans to explore what’s next in local news. We’ll be focussing on what a local news organization designed today for 2013 would look like.
This meeting builds on convenings we held we held each of the last two years. In 2010, we brought together the growing group of startup news organizations and we gathered a smaller group last year. Over time, we’ve all learned a good deal about what does and does not work with local projects in the digital age. We’ve organized this meeting because we see an opportunity to step back and focus more broadly on what’s missing, the needs and opportunities, and what we can build. Evan Smith, the founder and editor of the Texas Tribune, will kick things off with a talk Thursday night. Katie Zhu will be reporting on the proceedings. We plan to share some of what we learned later this month. We hope to emerge from the meeting with a set of ideas for future exploration, and with blueprints around which someone could build a local news initiative.