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Winners of the 2012 Knight News Challenge on Networks Announced

Six innovative media ventures, ranging from a dashboard that tracks stories through social networks and across competitor sites to a mobile video aggregator of of breaking news events, have been awarded $1.37 million as winners of the Knight News Challenge: Networks.

The winners were announced Monday at the the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference in Cambridge, Mass.

This marks the first year that the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation split its annual Knight News Challenge, which launched in 2006, into three parts. The move is a nod to the fast pace of innovation, the organization has previously stated.

The first round focused on networks, while the second deals with data. (It is accepting applications until June 21 at noon.) The third challenge’s theme has yet to be announced.

The six projects “build on existing networks, such as Ustream or Twitter, to create new ways for informing and engaging communities,” according to a press release.

Here is a list of the winners, the amount awarded and a brief description of the project, as provided in the press release. Two of the winners, Signalnoi.se and Watchup, are receiving funding through the Knight Enterprise Fund and did not reveal how much was awarded.

Peepol.tv
Award: $360,000
Winners: Felipe Heusser and Jeff Warren

Leveraging streaming networks like Ustream and TweetCaster, Peepol.TV will aggregate live mobile video streams of breaking news events into an easily searchable world map, connecting users directly to global events as they unfold.

Recovers.org
Award: $340,000
Winners: Caitria O’Neill, Alvin Lang and Morgan O’Neill

After a tornado destroyed their Massachusetts home, two sisters created an online organizing platform that helps disaster-stricken communities quickly launch recovery efforts. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, Recovers.org enables communities to launch a website that ensures that heightened news attention translates into donations, volunteers and more.

Signalnoi.se
Award: undisclosed
Winners: Mohamed Nanabhay and Haroon Meer

Enabling newsrooms to monitor what is resonating with readers and make smarter editorial decisions about which stories get covered and promoted, Signalnoi.se is a dashboard that tracks stories through social networks and across competitor sites.

Watchup
Award: undisclosed
Winners: Adriano Farano and Jonathan Lundell

An iPad app that makes it easier to find and watch high-quality news videos, Watchup speeds the search for relevant content by offering a curated playlist that aggregates news reports into a simple interface.

Behavio
Award: $355,000
Winners: Nadav Aharony, Alan Gardner and Cody Sumter

Behavio is an open-source platform that turns phones into smart sensors of people’s real world behavior – from how they use their phones to how they communicate with others. Funding will be used to help programmers build apps with smarter sensors, create tools for journalists that uncover trends in community data and launch a mobile application that allows individuals to explore data about their lives.

Tor Project
Award: $320,000
Winners: Andrew Lewman and Karen Reilly of Tor Project

With journalists and their sources increasingly threatened by governments, criminal organizations and others who monitor their mobile and online communication, the Tor Project will use its vast network of volunteers to create a tool kit that will enable journalists to communicate more safely with sources by using the organization’s secure Web browser, an anonymous upload utility and more.

2012 Knight News Challenge: Networks Winners from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

For more information on the 2012 Knight News Challenge, visit its Tumblr.

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