The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced the second year of their "Knight News Challenge," awarding up to $5 million to projects that use new media to deliver news and information to a particular geographic community. Last year they funded a range of interesting projects, from open source software to video blogs to GPS tagging. I love this one:
Oakland Jazz Scene Game: Awarded to Paul Grabowicz [University of California – Berkeley]. Re-creating
Oakland’s once vibrant jazz and blues club scene as an online video
game and virtual world. The game will allow players to experience the
club scene as it was in its heyday in the 1940s and 1950s, before it
fell victim to redevelopment schemes and urban decay.
Another games-related project is right here in New York City:
New York News Games: Awarded to Gail Robinson [Gotham Gazette]. Gotham
Gazette will develop games to inform and engage players about key
issues confronting New York City. Gotham Gazette will hold forums on
the games’ issues, report on what solutions the players developed and
relay those ideas to city officials.
If you think you have the next great news app, head to newschallenge.org and submit your proposal by October 15. The full press release after the jump…
Knight Foundation to Award Millions
For Digital Experiments in Community News
News Challenge Seeks Cutting-Edge Ideas from Anyone, Anywhere;
‘You Invent It. We Fund It!’
Do you have a big idea for informing and inspiring community using bits and bytes? Cell phone documentaries? New operating software for news collectors? Journalism games? Nothing is too far out to qualify. With the slogan “You Invent It. We Fund It!” the contest is open to community-minded innovators worldwide, from software designers to journalist to citizens and students of any age.
The Knight News Challenge contest aims to use digitally delivered news and information to enhance
physical communities and improve the lives of people where they live, work and vote. “Jim and Jack Knight fostered community through their newspapers,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of Knight Foundation. “The Knight News
Challenge hopes to discover innovative ways of using cyberspace to bring communities together.”
The first year of the contest concluded with grants to 25 individuals and private and public entities ranging from MIT to MTV. Some first-year winning projects included:
- New software that links databases, allowing citizens to learn (and act on) civic information about their neighborhood or block.
- Cell phone distribution of video news reportsfrom mobile young journalists on the 2008 presidential election.
- Online games to inform and engage players about key issues confronting New York City.
- An online environment which lets citizens “play”through a complex, evolving news story through interaction with the newsmakers.
- Digital newscasts for Philadelphia’s immigrant community distributed through a new citywide wireless platform.
Winning entries must have three elements: 1) use of a digital media; 2) delivery of news or information on a shared basis to 3) a geographically defined community. Although there is a category for commercial applications, most entries are “open-source” and must share the software and knowledge created.
This year, for the first time, the web site – www.newschallenge.org – also will allow entrants to invite public comment that will help improve their entries.
“Virtual communities spring up every day. They don’t need our help. Geographic communities are the building blocks of democracy. They do need help,” said Gary Kebbel, Knight journalism program officer and the contest’s coordinator.
The foundation plans to invest at least $25 million over five years in the search for bold community
A simple online entry form is available at www.newschallenge.org. The web site will accept applications through Oct. 15. Winners should be announced by the spring of 2008.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invests in journalism excellenceworldwide and in the vitality of the U.S. communities. Since 1950 the
foundation has granted more than $300 million to advance quality journalism and
freedom of expression. It focuses on projects with the potential to create
transformational change. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.
Foundation: (305) 908-2677, Cell: (305) 604-9500, firstname.lastname@example.org