Articles by Nina Zenni and  John Bracken

  • Article

    Diversity an essential element of innovation

    December 9, 2015 by Nina Zenni and  John Bracken

    Laura Weidman Powers' 2015 presentation "The New Capital is Social" on YouTube.

    Today we’re excited to announce $1.2 million in new support to CODE2040. A winner of the 2014 Knight News Challenge on strengthening the Internet, CODE2040 helps young technologists of color to succeed in the tech industry.

    By supporting this next phase of CODE2040’s development, Knight Foundation sees the potential for a more inclusive and democratized Internet.  At Knight we believe that innovation is more likely to occur when people with diverse perspectives and experiences come together, learn from one another and collaborate to solve some of the challenges facing individuals and communities.

    This grant will enable CODE2040 to expand its work and to help the organization build its own capacity. Not only is this grant intended to create pathways for emerging diverse technologists to benefit from the innovation economy, but also will help ensure that all Americans have an equitable opportunity to contribute to the technology and systems that drive our lives.

    By supporting CODE2040, we seek to further diversify the array of individuals and perspectives building the technology and information of tomorrow. As our primary information sharing method, the Internet shapes how we come to understand the world around us.

  • Article

    17 ideas win Knight News Challenge on Data

    January 26, 2016 by Nina Zenni and  John Bracken

    17 ideas win Knight News Challenge on Data

    Today, Knight Foundation is announcing 17 winners of the Knight News Challenge on Data at a convening at Civic Hall in New York. Each of the winners will receive a share of $3.2 million to develop their project, which seeks to answer the question: How might we make data work for individuals and communities?

    As our world becomes increasingly data-rich, Knight Foundation hopes to identify and support innovators, entrepreneurs, institutions and journalists working to unlock useful information in ways that promote stronger and more knowledgeable communities. The winning projects cover a range of topics—from data literacy to transparency, crowdsourcing, privacy and data visualization. The common thread is that they are all seeking ways of using data to help people make better decisions that affect their lives.

    The challenge generated 1,065 applications, the largest amount of applications we have received for any themed News Challenge. The 17 winners are a mix of small nonprofit startups, collaborations and larger institutions. Eight of the winners will build out full versions of their projects and will receive awards ranging from $237,589 to $470,000. We will be supporting the other nine projects through the Knight Prototype Fund; these early-stage projects will receive $35,000 each to help them test assumptions and build demos over the next six months.   

    During this challenge, we collaborated with Data & Society Research Institute and Open Society Foundations. Data & Society also helped us review the entries, and we benefited from outside readers and reviewers, who helped us select the finalists and the winners, which we then recommended to the Knight Foundation Board of Trustees for approval.  

    We hope that you’ll join us in watching these projects develop in using data to inform and empower people to make decisions about their lives and communities. We will be sharing progress and lessons learned along the way on Knight Blog, and you can follow the conversation on Twitter via @knightfdn and #newschallenge.