Thursday, September 04, 2008

Got a great idea? Want somebody to pay you to make it a reality?


I'm on my way to San Francisco (slowly: I'm actually sitting in the Philadelphia airport, where fog (fog?!? WHAT FOG?!?) delayed my flight this morning, causing me to miss my've been there, you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, sitting here has given me the chance to catch up on a few things (like email, been doing it for four hours straight, only 236 to go!), and blogging. I've been back at it over the past few days, but will be posting daily from now on -- so much news to report, so many great events and ideas to share!

For example:

I'm headed to SF to join a group of journalists and innovators from around the world who will serve as this year's screeners for the 2008 Knight News Challenge grant program. The foundation two years ago created a grant program that awards money -- sometimes as much as $1 million -- to people who have great ideas about new (digital) ways to create and distribute news and information.

Last year, I screened the "young innovators" category -- meaning that we gave grants to college students. Just like you.

If you enter, I'd have to recuse myself from reviewing your grant; I have a vested interest in your success. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't enter. In fact, YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY ENTER.

Here are the details:

Knight News Challenge Update


Things have really been chugging along here at the Knight News Challenge 2008, with lots of innovative new outreach coinciding with the contest’s official start. The worldwide contest reopened on September 2nd with another $5 million in funding available for digital media experiments to innovate news and communication before applications close on November 1st.

You Invent It. We Fund It!

The contest is open to community-minded innovators worldwide, from software designers to journalists to citizens and students of any age. Do you have a big idea for informing and inspiring a geographic community using social media, Web 2.0 tools or OpenID? How about exchanging information via video, photos or text messaging? A way to integrate game theory with web browsing to support local community engagement? Come on, push the edge – we’re seeking true innovation!

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

Entries must be open-source and share the software and knowledge created.

New in 2008: The News Challenge Garage

To support applications this year, Knight has created a new incubator — the News Challenge Garage — where prospective applicants can receive peer reviews and mentoring from screeners and awardees from previous years. To date, over 40 applications are already incubating in the Drupal-based Garage site. A diverse group of developers, online journalists, nonprofit evangelists, video bloggers and social media experts are on hand to coach at The 50 mentors are available to coach and guide everyone who enters a project in the Garage. They include Vidoop’s Chris Messina,’ David Cohn, Contentious editor Amy Gahran, Placeblogger’s Lisa Williams, Beth Kanter, J.D. Lasica and many other digital media specialists. For a postable video introducing the Garage in a variety of languages, visit DotSub to find out more.

Want to get more involved?


Want more info?

The Knight News Challenge is incorporating new media tools to reach out to more diverse communities to spread the word about this year’s Challenge. You can follow us on Twitter, converse on video via Seesmic or chat about application ideas in our FriendFeed room.

Upcoming events: September 9th Webcast

If you’d like to ask questions and learn how to create an application in a more interactive space, Knight will host an online webcast hosted by Gary Kebbel, Journalism Program director for the Knight Foundation with Amy Gahran and Nora Paul, past Knight News Challenge winners, on September 9th, 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

September 9th will also feature a Knight News Challenge meet up in New York City at CUNY School of Journalism from 7-9 pm. For more info see this link:


The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation invests in journalism excellence worldwide and in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. Since 1950, the foundation has granted more than $400 million to advance quality journalism and freedom of expression. The foundation focuses on projects with the potential to create transformational change. For more, visit


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