John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced the winners of its annual Knight News Challenge, a contest funding innovative ideas for disseminating news and information to local communities with digital technologies. 12 entrants were awarded a grand total of $2.74 million, the largest share, $400k, going to Eric Rodenbeck and his data visualization project CityTracking.Wednesday in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the
- Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation President.
Data visualization initiatives fared well at this year's challenge, as a second entry, Tilemapping, was granted $74,000 from the foundation. Other popular categories included projects aimed at finding new ways to engage readers, as well as those geared toward determining new methods for funding journalism at the local level (see video below). The foundation hopes that by funding these ideas they will help spur innovation and aid digital journalism take its first strides in the Internet age.
"The free flow of shared information is essential for communities to function in a democracy. More each day, that information flows through and because of digital technology," said Knight Foundation President Alberto Ibargüen. "Until someone figures out the next big thing [...] we can use the Knight News Challenge to experiment with ways to learn how to think in different ways about information sharing so we might discover the future of news."
The announcement of this year's winners was made at the Future of News and Civic Media conference at MIT - an event featuring previous challenge winners. Since beginning four years ago, the challenge has received over 10,000 applications and has doled out $23 million to 50 winning projects. Possibly the most well known past Knight News Challenge winner is Spot.us - a platform for community funded journalism.