Knight Prototype Fund seeks early-stage ideas to improve the flow of accurate information

technology / Article

The internet is a wild place, and the way we receive and process news is complicated. As our reliance on digital platforms grows, we are swimming in misinformation and kept separate by social media algorithms that push us to talk to people with whom we already agree. Four out of 5 of us don’t trust the media. And local news—which tell us what’s going on around us—is in trouble with a lack of solid financial models.

At Knight Foundation, we’re driven by the belief that informed citizens are the key to a healthy democracy. Today we, along with Democracy Fund and Rita Allen Foundation, are launching an open call for ideas answering the question: How might we improve the flow of accurate information?

We’re looking for technologists, journalists, designers, teachers, researchers, and others who are eager to develop ideas to help build trust in journalism and address the spread of misinformation. The call is open to U.S.-based individuals, for-profits and nonprofits. We don’t believe a handful of grants can fix the information ecosystem, but we do believe working together can spur some ideas, and we can learn together what’s likely to have the most impact. 

We’re doing this as a call for prototypes. We’ve designed the Knight Prototype Fund to quickly develop and test early-stage ideas. We expect to award up to $1 million in grants with an average size of about $50,000. Each grant comes with a two-day training on building and evolving ideas through prototyping.

If you have specific questions about the call or the application process, we will be holding office hours Tuesday, March 21 and Wednesday, March 29, from 1-2p.m. ET. You can join online or by telephone (1-888-240-2560, Meeting ID: 976 202 153).

For other questions, please review our FAQ and follow #prototypefund on Twitter. 

We’re open for your ideas today through 5 p.m. ET April 3. Apply here.  We will announce winning projects in June, and look forward to reviewing your ideas.

John Bracken is vice president for technology innovation and Jennifer Preston is vice president for journalism at Knight Foundation. 

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