Knight News Challenge offers $3 million for ideas focusing on data

Press Release

September 8, 2015


MIAMI – Sept. 8, 2015 – The Knight News Challenge opens for applications today, offering a share of $3 million for innovative ideas that make data work for individuals and communities.

Related Link

"Knight News Challenge on Data opens for ideas" by Chris Barr and Nina Zenni on Knight Blog, 9/8/2015

Knight is collaborating with Data & Society and Open Society Foundations on the challenge, which is open through Sept. 30 at

Applicants anywhere can participate by providing a brief answer to the question: How might we make data work for individuals and communities? The challenge aims to attract innovative ideas to collect, analyze, present, interpret, and share data, to use data for better journalism and storytelling, and to promote transparency, security, and privacy.

“We live in an age where everyone has the potential to access and explore large amounts of data. We hope the challenge will uncover ideas that can turn this data into useful information, so people can use it to make decisions about their lives and their communities,” said John Bracken, Knight Foundation vice president for media innovation.

“Data can be used for countless productive and disruptive purposes. How can data be used to combat discrimination and injustice? How can marginalized communities gain control of data-related interventions that affect them? We hope this challenge produces sharp ideas for addressing inequities in society,” said danah boyd, founder of Data & Society.

“This challenge offers an opportunity to dive into the difficult questions inherent in our increasingly ‘quantified society’ – how to build systems that allow us to benefit from an increasing amount of information, while ensuring that we protect our civil liberties and do not create new forms of discrimination. We look forward to seeing the results,” said Janet Haven, associate director of the Open Society Foundations’ Information Program.

The platform facilitates conversations across projects and allows applicants to refine their ideas based on user comments and suggestions. In October, Knight will select a smaller group of semifinalists to move forward in the challenge and provide additional information on their ideas.

The challenge is open to anyone; for-profits, nonprofits and individuals from anywhere can apply. More information is available in our FAQ section on

Virtual office hours and in-person community gatherings for those who want to learn more are also being held in the coming weeks. The schedule, which is regularly updated, can be accessed here:

The Knight News Challenge accelerates media innovation by funding the best breakthrough ideas in news and information. Since 2007 Knight Foundation has reviewed more than 15,000 News Challenge applications and provided more than $50 million in funding to 133 projects. This is the second News Challenge of 2015. The theme of the last round was elections, and the Knight announced 22 winners in July.

The application period for this round on data will close at 5 p.m. ET Sept. 30, 2015. Experts will help Knight and a set of advisers review the entries. Knight and its collaborators will announce winners in January 2016.

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.

About Data & Society

Data & Society is a research institute in New York City that is focused on social, cultural, and ethical issues arising from data-centric technological development. We are committed to identifying issues at the intersection of technology and society, providing research that can ground public debates, and building a network of researchers and practitioners who can offer insight and direction.

About Open Society Foundations

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. The Open Society Foundations were created by philanthropist George Soros and today are active in over 100 countries around the world.