The second round of the Knight News Challenge is underway, and it’s not too late to formulate your innovative ideas into 500 words for a chance to win a share of $5 million in funding. The first round of the challenge, which focused on networks, is already closed. Winners will be announced on June 18. But the second round, which focuses on data, will be open for another two weeks. The challenge used to be a once-a-year happening, but now there are three rounds a year in order to “more closely match the pace of innovation.” Read more
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While some journalists will be celebrating spring (and pseudo-Irish heritage) with green beers this weekend, others with an eye on the future and a big idea will have to postpone revelry until they finish polishing off their Knight News Challenge applications due Saturday.
This annual contest culls the next great (or potentially great) idea that will use existing platforms to produce and present news in new useful ways. This year’s theme is “networks,” though the definition of that has been somewhat broadly defined. The winners will share part of the $5 million pot put up by the Knight Foundation to support journalistic digital innovation. To get an idea of (or derive inspiration from) what’s won in the past, read about the 2011 winners.
The deadline for the first round of the contest is Saturday, March 17, and finalists will be named by April 2. Which gives you a few short days to answer the seven short questions on the submission page. The basic questions cover your project cost and scope, as well as the basics of how it would work and why it’s needed. (Take heart, if this deadline approached too soon, you can enter a later round.)
As 10,000 Words previously discussed, the KNC is accepting entries via Tumblr this year. So, although winners won’t be announced until June, you can check out some of the dozens of applications already submitted to get an idea for the breadth of ideas (and in some cases similarity of ideas) among this year’s entrants. In fact, the Knight Foundation made it clear they want to see some discussion about these ideas on the tumblr and online, so even if you don’t have an idea for this round, why not pop over and enter some feedback on the ideas that you love (or don’t) to help those projects gain some favor.
Entries for the first of three 2012 Knight News Challenges opened on Monday, with a twist: This year’s application form is being hosted on Tumblr.
The theme of this challenge, with $5 million total in grant money, is networks. In this context, that means:
Witness the roles of networks in the formation, coverage and discussion of recent events such as the rise of the Tea Party, flash mobs, the Arab Spring, last summer’s UK riots and the Occupy movement. We’re looking for ideas that build on the rise of these existing network events and tools – that deliver news and information and extend our understanding of the phenomenon.
The Tumblr will be used for others to offer support, and critiques, for the entries. The entrance form is simplified this year, asking only 7 questions (and requiring succinct answers), ranging from “What do you propose to do?” (20 words maximum) to “How would you sustain the project after the funding expires?” (50 words maximum).
Entries appear on the homepage of the Tumblr. Within hours of the Tumblr going live, 14 entries were already posted and displayed prominently on the homepage, underscoring the popularity of the News Challenge.
The News Challenge is a major source of grant money for journalism-related projects. Last year, prizes ranged from $10,000 to $1 million. The average prize was $294,000. Past winners include Document Cloud and ScraperWiki.
In keeping with their use of social media this year, the challenge’s organizers will host a Google+ hangout tomorrow (Wednesday) at 1 p.m. ET to answer any questions.
Applications will be accepted until March 17.
Below is a video that explains more about the Knight News Challenge.
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 www.newschallenge.org.