Knight News Challenge on Health opens for entries

Press Release

September 3, 2013


Innovation challenge offers $2.2 million for ideas that unlock the power of health data

MIAMI, FLA. -- (Sept. 3, 2013) -- The Knight News Challenge on Health opens for applications today, looking to fund innovative ideas to harness information and data for the health of communities. The challenge is a collaboration between Knight and four major players in health: the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the California HealthCare Foundation, the Clinton Foundation and the Health Data Consortium.

Applicants can enter by filling out a brief form on by Sept. 17 and answering the question: how can we harness data and public information for the health of communities?

Winners will receive a share of $2 million in funding. Additionally, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will award a combined $100,000 for the top three projects that best use public health data and healthcare data to improve the health of communities. And California HealthCare Foundation is offering another $100,000 total for one or more projects focused on helping county and city officials use health data for policymaking.

Through a focus on health, the challenge highlights the importance of data and technology to meet community information needs. The challenge’s definition of “health data” and “news” is broad, including ideas that range from the public to the personal that: make large datasets useful; help inform communities; encourage healthier lifestyle choices; and engage others in the sharing of useful health data.

“By focusing on the compelling, immediate topic of health, we want to hook people on using data to drive change,” said Michael Maness, Knight Foundation’s vice president of journalism and media innovation. “We hope the ideas we see in the coming weeks will aid individuals and communities looking for new ways to tackle some of their most pressing challenges.”

Applicants are encouraged to submit their projects well before the Sept. 17 deadline; early entries will have the benefit of feedback from experts and others on the Open IDEO-powered platform. The platform facilitates conversations across projects and allows applicants to refine their ideas based on user comments and suggestions. Since the “inspiration phase” of the challenge opened on Aug. 19, around 100 people have posted ideas and discussed unmet needs in health.

The challenge is open to anyone from anywhere who has ideas on making health data more useful to communities; for-profits, nonprofits and individuals are encouraged to apply. More information is available in our FAQ section and on

Virtual office hours for those who want to learn more are also being held 1 to 2 p.m. ET Sept. 5 and 1 to 2 p.m. ET Sept. 10. Participants can access the meeting online ( (ID 752 815 136), or participate via phone at 888-240-2560.

This is the second of two rounds of the News Challenge running in 2013. The theme of the first round was “Open Gov,” and the eight winners were announced in June.

The application period for this round on health will close at noon ET Sept. 17, 2013. Experts in health data, communities and technology will help Knight and collaborators review entries. Winners will be announced in early 2014.

Visit to apply and participate in the conversation.

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.


CONTACT: Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, [email protected]