Today the winners of the first Knight News Challenge of 2014 were announced. This round, the theme was about strengthening and maintaining an open internet. The nineteen winners will all receive grants; nine of them receive $200-$500 thousand each, while the other ten receive $35,000, and the chance to participate in the Knight Prototype Fund, where they will develop their ideas fully, or as John Bracken, who oversees the fund for the Foundation, puts it, “get the ideas out of their heads.”
This News Challenge garnered over 700 “ideas” somehow centered on the rather general idea of “strengthening” the web. Interestingly, all of the winners have similar goals around internet privacy, security, open access, and journalism. Three of the winners center around public libraries and internet access. Bracken says a few patterns started to emerge. The first is about access to the internet and digital resources. The second is about transparency, and the third is security and privacy and making sure that the average person can feel safe in the digital world even, says Bracken, “if you don’t have an advanced computer science degree from Carnegie Mellon.”
Bracken says the News Challenge is a “fun tool” for working with people all across the industry — “from college students to CEOs” — and the best way to get more ideas tested quickly. “Our focus in ensuring the internet is an open platform is as important as our goal of informing a democracy and supporting innovation,” he says.
The Knight Foundation News Challenge is funded by Knight, Ford Foundation, and Mozilla Foundation
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