The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is running a grant competition called the News Challenge. The News Challenge awards up to $5 million for innovative projects that use technology to transform the way communities send, receive and make use of news and information.
Applicants must only follow three rules:
- Use digital, open-source technology (so many of us are already using open source technology)
- Distribute news in the public interest (hey everything we do is in the public interest!)
- Fit into one of four categories (Look at number 2, it practically shouts information literacy or news literacy. And number 3, digital media labs anyone?)
The four categories – emphasis added by me
- Mobile: Seeks projects that use mobile devices to produce, deliver, consume, share and otherwise engage with news. The category reflects the fact that the mobile phone, with 5 billion units in use, has become an important tool for news.
- Authenticity: Looks for projects that help people better understand the reliability of news and information sources. We’re hoping to identify promising ideas for helping citizens negotiate our oft-chaotic media world. How can we help news users better evaluate the validity and trustworthiness of news and information? How can we better filter and assess the credibility of what we read and watch?
- Sustainability: Considers new economic models supporting news and information. New ways of conducting and consuming journalism may require new ways of paying for it. We’re open to ideas for generating revenue as well as ways to reduce costs.
- Community: Seeks groundbreaking technologies that support news and information specifically within defined geographic areas. This is designed to jump-start work on technologies and approaches that haven’t arrived yet. Unlike the first three categories, submissions in this area must be tested in a geographically designated community.
Need some inspiration? Take a look at some of the winners from previous years:
- The Front Porch Forum, a virtual town hall space, helps residents share and discuss local news, build community and increase engagement.
- Local Wiki this project will create enhanced tools for local wikis, a new form of media that makes it easy for people to learn — and share — their own unique community knowledge.
- Councilpedia: a wiki devoted to local legislators
- Data Visualization: a suite of easy-to-use tools for anyone to use on any standard set of data ranging from government databases to demographics and statistics.
- Crowdsourcing Crisis Information – Ushahidi can help fill the gap by creating a free web map and timeline that journalists and citizens can use to contribute multiple reports of large news events.
- CMS Upload Utility – create new and easy to use tools that will allow news organizations to essentially drag and drop articles onto an online news site.
- Video Volunteers: will train 100 people in rural India as Community Video Producers.
- Beanstock’d: encourage green living through an interactive game. Using social networking tools and real-time news and information, players would be able to track their environmental impact, discover how they stack up against neighbors and team up in a friendly competition to leave the smallest imprint on their community.
- The Includer: The device is meant for people in rural areas with marginal online access so that messages can be physically transported to and from places connected to the Internet
Helpful Tips and Suggestions
- Tips for Applying from past winners
- How To Focus Your Application – Tips from Challenge Winner Aaron Presnall
- 3 tips to determine how much money you should ask for
- On getting feedback on your submission
- Knight News Challenge 101: The Basic Breakdown of a Successful Entry
- 5 tips on discovering what else is out there.
- Application Tips for the Challenge
- Research is Key in Knight News Challenge Applications, Winner Retha Hill Says
- How to get the most out of the Knight News Challenge, by Matt Thompson
- 5 tips on innovating in the academy, by Rich Gordon