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Archives: August 2011

Cutting Edge Journalism: The 2011 Knight News Challenge Winners

Knight Foundation Logo

Back in June, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced the winners of their 2011 Knight News Challenge contest. The Knight News Challenge winners were awarded a total of $4.7 million in funding for their projects, including $1 million in support from Google.

“As the Internet continues to extend how we communicate, gather information, and publish, innovations in news are emerging from organizations of all sizes around the world. We applaud the initiatives recognized today in the Knight News Challenge and hope they inspire even greater innovation,” Jim Gerber, director of strategic partnerships at Google told the Knight Foundation.

This is the fifth year for the Knight News Challenge, which is a part of the Knight Foundation’s $100 million Media Innovation Initiative. Since its conception, the Challenge has funded 76 projects for a whopping $27 million. Below is a video of each the 2011 Challenge winners project pitches.

While some of the projects are still in the planning and implementation phase, others have launched and are available today for journalists of all types to take advantage of for their reporting. Francis Irving’s ScraperWiki makes it easier for journalists to collect information from across the Web by building their own data scrapers using programming languages Python and Ruby. FrontlineSMS by Sean McDonald allows non-governmental organizations in developing countries to text message with large groups of people anywhere there is a mobile signal. DocumentCloud, which we have also covered here at 10,000 Words, is the brainchild of Aron Pilhofer, editor of interactive news at The New York Times.

For more information about the Knight News Challenge, including information on how you can apply for funding, visit

More Social Media Resources for Bad Weather

This week’s spate of bad weather — the upcoming Hurricane Irene and the Virginia earthquake — made one thing even more crystal clear: People are turning to traditional news sources less and less for information. Instead of flocking to the Weather Channel to see how a storm progresses, people are logging onto social media sites and getting up-to-the second news. (A new American Red Cross survey also shows more people use social media in emergencies.)

“Social media is becoming an integral part of disaster response,” Wendy Harman, director of social strategy for the American Red Cross, told Healthcare IT News.

Twitter and Facebook both had huge increases in traffic after this week’s earthquake. Twitter reported that within a minute of the earthquake, there were more than 40,000 related tweets. Our sister site, All Facebook, documented the reaction on Facebook.

But those are the typical social media sites to tune into. Here are a couple more you should consider checking out. Read more

Cubes: An Inside Look at JWT

In the latest episode of “Cubes,” we tour the New York headquarters of JWT, one of the largest ad agencies in the country. The office features a game room, animation studios, tent-inspired meeting areas, a bar, and much, much more.

For more videos, check out, and be sure to follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Tool of the Day: Mobile Media Toolkit

Mobile Media Toolkit

The mobile phone has become an indispensable tool in every journalist’s arsenal. Whether you are on an iPhone, a Blackberry, an Android handset, or any other type of mobile phone, the skills that a journalist can use to capture and share the news are the same. But with all the apps and resources available, where does a journalist begin? What if you’re looking for ways to engage a mobile audience? Or what if you are a seasoned journalist that needs a primer on reaching out to the mobile market? Now there’s a one-stop resource for journalists of all types — the Mobile Media Toolkit.

The Mobile Media Toolkit is a project of, a global network of people using mobile technology for social impact. The website is comprised of a large number of case studies, as well as brief reviews on tools and apps. Content is divided into five main sections: Create, Share, Deliver, Engage, and Secure. Each section gives an overview of the topic, a descriptive how-to guide along with several articles, and the limitations of each method. All sorts of methods are covered, including creating audio or video, tapping into social media, and gives tips on how to enable others to create mobile content to share. The Secure section of the Mobile Media Toolkit also features another project from called SaferMobile, which helps activists, human rights defenders, and journalists assess the mobile communications risks that they are facing, and then use appropriate mitigation techniques to increase their ability to organize, report, and work more safely.

The Mobile Media Toolkit is also available in Spanish and Arabic. The project is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and run by journalist Melissa Ulbricht.

The Daily Dot Aims To Be The Internet’s Community Newspaper

Let’s face it: the Internet can be a big, scary place, so it makes sense that people seek digital communities where they can congregate with like-minded users to discuss the stuff they care about. Online communities like Reddit and Tumblr frequently develop their own lingo, inside jokes and topics du jour, but these “insidery” snippets often stay confined to the communities from which they sprout. Until now, that is. A new online venture, The Daily Dot, is seeking to bring a voice and platform to the stories for and about online communities.

“The Daily Dot gives a voice to the Web’s communities,” reads the site’s About page. “We report on the most important and relevant topics from within, applying tried-and-true principles drawn from community journalism to the growing cultures of the Internet, and allow our audience to read the Dot across multiple platforms, where they live, online.”

Read more